Deciding whether or not to raise a child is no easy decision – as any parent can tell you, raising children will completely change the way you live and organize your life, starting from your expenses! But how much does a child cost in the UK really?
How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK?: Summary table
|💸 How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK?||Depending on the area of the UK, which, over the course of a lifetime, is estimated to be between £150,000 to £180,000, including food, housing and childcare|
|ℹ️ What help does the government provide for raising children?||For each child you have, you can claim a child benefit from the government, which usually equates to around £100 per month|
|🤔 What are the biggest costs related to raising a child?||When it comes to raising children, the two greatest costs on a family’s budget are childcare and housing|
Average cost of raising a child in the UK
What is the average cost of raising a child in the UK? In planning your parenthood, it’s important that you take stock of the new kinds of costs that await you once you have children to look after, so that you make sure you are able to financially support a child. According to the Child Poverty Action Group childcare and housing are the largest two costs on family budgets, while the average cost of raising a child, depending on the area of the UK, is estimated to be between £150,000 to £180,000, including food, housing and childcare but not luxuries like vacations, gifts or hobbies. It’s like taking out a mortgage, making financial planning before becoming a parent so important!
Average number of children per family UK
According to the most recent data from Statista, in the UK, the average number of children per household has decreased in recent years to less than two. This is most likely due to the increased costs associated with raising a family. Note, however, that the costs of raising children decrease significantly after the first child.
Cost of a child by age
How much does a child cost per year in the UK? The answer to that is: it depends! While the bottomline cost of having is significant, you’re more likely to bear the brunt of the big ticket cost items in their early years, since they of course become increasingly independent and financially self-sufficient as they grow up.
First few months
Whether you are conceiving or planning to adopt, the first few months with the child are always the most tumultuous, both for your way of life and for your finances, since it is during these months that you will make some of the bigger ticket purchases. Baby monitors, car seats, prams, bassinettes and nursery room furniture – these can all run up a bill into the hundreds, if not thousands, in addition to the seemingly infinite amount of nappies, food, equipment and changes of clothes. Needless to say, it’s more than likely that you can expect to add an average of £300-£500 to your monthly spending during these first few months.
Early years (ages 1 to 3)
Once you’ve made it through the first year or so, you’ll then come across the next major expense of child rearing – childcare. This cost is most significant between the ages of one and three, since at this age the children are still too young to be enrolled in pre-school education programmes. In the meantime, if you plan on sending your children to a nursery or hiring a nanny while you return to work, you will have to pay for those expenses out of pocket, and any parent can tell you – it’s not cheap! Depending on where you live, nursery school fees can range anywhere between £150-£250 per week!
Childhood (ages 4 to 17)
Once your child is enrolled in the educational system, it will help to alleviate some of the more routine costs of child rearing while bringing about others – play dates, extra curricular activities and more.
This is the period of their lives in which it is easier to regulate spending and costs, as opposed to when they are infants and require specific foods, things and childcare, since their needs in this age group are relatively simple to fulfill. It might be worth considering setting up a college fund and start saving for your children with the money that you are able to save on childcare costs.
In their teenage years, as they start to seek out more independence, they will start to develop hobbies and social lives, and you assume the role of free transportation provider, that is, until they begin driving on their own, and new, young drivers can cause your auto insurance rates to go up. Each of these factors, along with increased spending on food and utilities – since teenagers are growing and developing rapidly at this age and are eating non-stop – can run up a large bill.
Early adulthood (ages 18 to 21)
At this age, they aren’t kids anymore, and they will start moving out of the house to live on their own, either starting to work or enrolling in university. Although they are starting to become more financially independent, it’s common for parents to continue to spend a great deal on their children – university tuition, car payments or holiday vacations. Typically, once they finish university, the average spend from parents on their children drops considerably, and revolves around birthdays or other celebrations.
What are the main additional costs of child rearing?
Overall, the types of costs associated with having children that are more or less steady over time are those associated with our more basic needs: utility consumption, increased spending on food, additional insurance payments, buying new clothes to replace those that have been outgrown, etc.
Childcare is another significant source of spending that for most people is unavoidable when raising children – for the first years after childbirth or adoption, as parents return to work, this is one of the most significant additions to monthly costs. Though after a few years this eventually will be substituted with other things associated with educational needs and hobbies.
It goes without saying – raising children is expensive! But what financial support is available for parents to help alleviate the hefty costs of child rearing? In the UK, parents are able to claim some benefits from the government to help lessen some of the financial burdens associated with raising children.
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For each child you have, you can claim a child benefit from the government, which usually amounts to around £100 a month, provided over the course of each week, to help cover some of the costs of raising children. In terms of parent eligibility, if you claim one or more children as your dependents, you are eligible to receive child benefits. Note however that only one parent may claim the benefit.
In addition to child benefits, you are also eligible for tax deductions, based on the number of children that you have. The child tax credits won’t not impact the child benefits you may receive. However, you can only claim a child tax credit if you already receive working tax credit.
To help with the extensive costs of childcare, you can apply for Tax-free childcare from the government, which can amount to up to £2,000 in a year or more depending on the particular needs of your child.
Further information on how to claim these benefits and deductions, visit the gov.uk website.
Can I afford to have a child?
The costs associated with having a child can be intimidating for many people, but it shouldn’t scare you off from having them if you really want them. With the right financial planning, you can make parenthood more affordable.
Some advice for soon to be parents who are anxious about financially supporting their new family: try to plan out ahead of time as best you can the budget for your household, to get an idea of the costs you will have to take on once you become a parent and start saving!
One of the best ways to prepare yourself financially for parenthood is to start saving now, since you don’t know what exactly will be the future costs of having children. Having funds set aside for emergencies is important, so that you are able to cover any unforeseen expenses.
For those who are able to, starting to invest in funds early on for your child is a good way to help provide a nest egg for them later on in life when they go to do things like buy a house or go to university.
A final word of advice – talk about money! Have open conversations about finances with your family to avoid going over budget!
What is the average number of children for a family in the UK?
The average cost of a child for a family in the UK is estimated to be around £150,000 and £180,000 over a lifetime. However, the average costs decrease with each additional child.
What is the best way to begin preparing financially for a child?
The best thing expecting parents can do to prepare their finances for raising a child is to try to plan out ahead of time the budget your household will need in order to start saving effectively.
How does the cost of raising a child change over time?
Some of the more significant costs are borne during the early years of child raising, like childcare products and services, which decrease as the children become increasingly independent and financially self-sufficient.