The steep rise in the cost of living over the last year has seen the cost of raising a child to adulthood rise by 10 percent from £202,660 last year, to the tune of £223,256 in 2023 for the average UK family – that’s just over £12,000 annually.
Comparing research they conducted last year on the costs of over 150 different items associated with raising a child, with a fresh set of analysis based on today’s living costs, our research has found that in 2023 it costs an additional £20,596 compared to last year to bring up a child.
Entertaining and keeping your child active and stimulated whether at the theatre, a sport’s club or simply the cinema has seen the steepest hike in price out of those analysed since last year, with venues passing on the rising costs they now face. The cost of a range of cultural and leisure activities monitored by Moneyfarm has risen 33 percent, up from £3,145 in 2022 to £4,193 this year.
Driven by a plethora of challenges including rising energy costs, production difficulties and rising transport and packaging overheads making imports more expensive, feeding a child – both as a baby on formula and then on solids is responsible for a quarter of this increase as – families are having to fork out £5,000 more on feeding a child over the course of 18 years based on current prices.
The amount parents spend on food becomes progressively more expensive as the child gets older. Food increases in cost from an average of £3,839 between the ages of 0-3 to a huge £11,643 fuelling the growing bodies of those between 15 and 18 years old.
This period between 15 and 18 years old remains the most expensive time of a child’s life, costing an average of £57,082 when items such as holidays and social activities, food, clothing, tech and personal grooming products all reach their costliest as the child teeters on the cusp of adulthood.
Subscription services and tech devices
Whilst a basic subscription to Netflix was identified as the bare minimum subscription service that a child requires so that they aren’t excluded from life socially* last year- this year, mobile speakers and a smart TV are now considered minimums that a young adult requires to fully participate in modern life, according to a report by Loughborough University**.
With popular subscription services such as Disney+, Spotify and Sky Kids added to Netflix, the average amount that British parents can expect to pay out on subscriptions for their children aged between 6 years and 18 years is £4,003.
And despite irregular purchases, the research still found that we can expect to pay £5,101 for tech devices such as computers/laptops, tablets, games consoles and smartphones for our children.
The most expensive period to clothe a child remains between 15 and 18 years old, with parents spending an average of £3,766 helping their teens keep up to date with the latest fashion trends. By the time the child reaches 18 years old, parents will have spent a whopping £12,621 clothing them.
If parents decide to buy new every few years, then they can expect to pay an average of £1,397 in school uniform and sports kit for their child as they grow through the years up until they leave sixth form at 18.
Before children’s interests turn to digital screens for entertainment, parents can expect to spend an average of £4,181 on toys to occupy their little ones from birth until 11 years of age – up from £3,850 last year.
Ferrying children to and from school, clubs, activities and playdates is a costly business, with the research revealing that a whopping £17,118 is spent on fuel directly attributed to driving a child around during their upbringing (in an average size family car).
Social and cultural activities
Culture vulture parents can expect to spend £4,193 on enriching activities for their children, namely taking them to the theatre, cinema and concerts. Whilst sports clubs, classes and activities will set the average UK parent back £14,500 from the age of 4 years old.
Hosting and attending children’s parties is also quite the financial commitment; ensuring the right entertainer, cake and party bags are in order sets parents back £4,100 over 18 years, whilst forking out presents for an average of ten parties a year over the course of a childhood will cost £2,700.
Even pocket money is not immune to inflation. Last year, parents were shelling out an average of £7,780 from the time their child turns 5 years old until 18. This year, eager to give their children more financial independence, the figure has risen to £8,169.
“Whilst our research shows that the average cost of raising a child has now risen to £223,256, this is actually in line with the general level of inflation. However, for many families the reality is not to spend the average, but to opt for far more economical choices, notes Chris Rudden, Head of Investment Consultants. “We therefore found that the range could go from £144,012 to as high as £386,000 for those with more disposable income. And we caution that these figures do not account for the effect of future inflation.
“The cost of raising a child is a journey that requires both emotional and financial investment. It is affected by various factors that can change over time, so whilst it is essential to plan ahead and budget accordingly to provide the best possible life for your child, the good news is that the costs don’t all come at once. By creating a solid financial plan and being mindful of your expenses, you can provide your child with the best possible start in life without compromising your own financial stability.”
*Capital at risk. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.