If you have made one of life’s biggest decisions and are attempting to bring another little human being into the world, you’d better check your bank balance. The cost of raising a child to the age of 21 – the time at which you hope they will have left home – has increased by 58% since 2003.
The average cost is now almost a quarter of a million pounds ($222,458), with education and childcare being the biggest expenditure for parents. The price is higher in London and the south of the UK but the 2013 figure is up by $4,000 on last year. The cost of education, including uniforms, after school clubs and university costs has now reached $72,832 – up 124% from ten years ago.
A report, put together by insurer LV, predicted the figure could pass $350,000 in the next ten years. It also highlighted the iPad generation – yearly spend on “must-have” gadgets is around $302 per child.
Mark Jones, LV Head of Protection said: “The cost of raising a child continues to soar and is now at a ten year high. Everyone wants the best for their children, but the rising cost of living is pushing parent’s finances to the limit. There seems to be no sign of this trend reversing. If the costs associated with bringing up children continue to rise at the same pace, parents could face a bill of over $350,000 in ten years’ time.”
Education, furniture and childcare costs have increased but the costs of holidays and food have seen the highest increases since 2013. Holidays now reach a total of $16,195 (up 4.3%) and food reaches a total of $19,270 for (up 3.2%).
If you’re looking to cut down these costs, it may help to be a little more stingy when handing out pocket money for sweets and crisps. The report found this amount has risen by 28% in the last decade, from $3,386 to $4,458.
Head of Save the Children in Wales, Mary Powell-Chandler, says the combination of soaring costs of living, benefit and welfare cuts and lack of affordable childcare threatens to push many more children into poverty.
“Our research shows that children are worrying about their family not having enough money, with more than half of those living in poverty saying the lack of it made their parents unhappy or stressed.”
According to Daycare Trust, the average cost of 25 hours’ care in a nursery for a child under two costs $103. The good news is that childcare costs get cheaper as your child grows up. The cost of a day nursery will fall as your baby grows. In England, once your child is three, they are entitled to a state-funded nursery place, which can help dramatically with costs.
Child care vouchers are also available for parents whose income is too high to receive tax credits. With these, the money is taken out of your pay packet before tax and National insurance and can be put toward Ofsted-registered childcare. The maximum figure a basic rate taxpayer can save a year is just under $1,000. There are also bonuses for parents who have been in a voucher scheme for several years.
But if you thought you were out of the woods, the most expensive years of your child’s upbringing will be between the ages of 18 and 21.
Guest post contributed by Lauren Jones, a mother to three beautiful kids who swears by co-operative child care vouchers which have helped her manage her lifestyle with her children.