How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Child in the UK?
Babies may be tiny, but the cost to raise them is huge! Choosing to have a child is a big life decision and one that should be carefully considered. Raising a child in the UK is expensive, and you’ll need to consider the emotional and physical responsibility and the financial one.
Costs such as household bills, interest rates and food are increasing, and as the cost of living goes up, so does the cost of raising a child. But how much does raising a child in the UK cost?
Having a baby can be wonderful, but the costs can add up fast. This article will cover the cost of raising a child, what benefits are available, how to prepare your finances and more.
What costs should I consider for raising a child in the UK?
When looking at how much do kids cost, Open Access Government says the cost of raising a child in the UK has increased by 21% in the past four years. Digital wealth manager Moneyfarm has collated that the average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is around £202,660. That’s £938 per month. Let’s break down the various factors that contribute to the cost of raising a child in the UK:
Having a baby will add to the overall costs of your household bills. Your water, gas and electricity bills will increase as you’ll be using more of them. You may also need to move to a larger home to accommodate your child, meaning a higher rent or mortgage and increased running costs.
You’ll need to prepare financially for your baby’s arrival in advance. This includes items such as cots, prams, and highchairs. There are also ongoing costs for nappies, toys, and many other baby-related items. You may think you should invest in shares in baby wipes after the first few months. As they get older, these costs will reduce, but you will need to prepare for them well to manage financially.
Buying food for your baby is expensive as you need to buy specific foods for the first few months at least. You’ll also need to buy more food overall, and your weekly food bill will increase as a result.
If you’re planning to go back to work, you’ll need to organise childcare for your child. If you have family that can help a few days a week, this could help reduce the costs, but it isn’t something you should rely on. The costs can include daycare, nurseries, and childcare professionals. Support is available for childcare costs, and we’ll discuss this later in this article.
Although school is free to attend in the UK, there are costs associated with your child’s education. There will be school meals, trips, stationery, and textbooks, along with the uniform. The costs will be significantly more if you would like your child to have a private education. You need to be in a strong financial position to fund private education.
Kids grow fast! Clothing will be a huge cost, especially in their early years, and they will grow out of things quickly. Consider clothing for hobbies, uniforms and also plenty of spare clothing too. You may also need to buy multiple school uniforms each year if they have an inconvenient growth spurt. If they have older siblings, you could use their old clothes or ask friends and family for children’s clothing they no longer need.
Transportation costs will begin even before your child is born. Trips to the hospital and shopping for items will increase as you go through pregnancy. Kids can’t drive, so you will need to drive them where they need to go, such as to school, to enjoy hobbies, or to a friend’s house. If you don’t have a car, you’ll need to pay for the transport costs, including a bus, train, or taxi.
If you have a car, think about:
· Improve your car or buy a bigger one
· Mileage depreciation
· Safety measures
The cost of raising a child does not stop when they reach 18. With the rising cost of houses and many children wanting to further their education at university, many stay home for much longer. While you can expect them to get a part-time job to support themselves with some costs, as a parent or carer, you’ll need to cover the remainder of the costs until they can stand on their own two feet. Consider how you’ll afford the costs of supporting your child into early adulthood.
What financial benefits can you expect from the government when raising a child in the UK?
In the UK, the government offers a range of financial support to parents, guardians and carers who are raising children. You can find more info here, but the main benefits are:
● Child Benefit
Child Benefit is a regular payment of money from the government that everyone is entitled to. It is currently £21.80 a week for the eldest or only child.
● Child Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit has replaced Universal Credit. You may claim up to two children up to 19 and are in full-time approved education or training.
● Free school meals
Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you meet the criteria. You can find out more here.
● Free early education
All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year.
● Free dental care
You are eligible for free dental care during pregnancy and for one year after birth
● Paid maternity leave
Employed pregnant women are entitled to statutory maternity pay for up to 33 weeks.
Each council has different schemes and support available, so check your local council’s website to see what is available to you.
How to prepare your finances for raising a child in the UK?
Preparing your finances in advance is the best way to manage your finances when you have a child. The high cost of having a child will be less shocking to you if you are aware and prepared. Here are some ways you can get your finance ready for raising a child:
Check your entitlement for benefits
Check what you’ll be eligible for in terms of support and grants before the baby arrives, so you can budget accurately.
Make a budget
Budgeting is a great way to work out where your money is going and ensure you’re in the best financial health possible. You can see your income and outgoing costs and put away the rest in savings. You can find our free budgeting guide here.
In this Series of Fortunate Events episode, created by the MoneyMedicsUK, Ashleigh, a digital marketer, talks about the big financial challenges and decisions that come with starting a family:
If you want to see some bonus questions and answers on how Ashleigh prepared financially for a child, read this Series of Fortunate Events post.
Focus on saving
You need to save money to prepare for a baby. The earlier you start, the more of a cushion you’ll have when the baby arrives. Hyperjar can help you save money for the things that matter most. Label your jar ‘Pram’ or ‘Baby fund’ or anything you like.
Create a timeline
You know you have around nine months to prepare for your baby so create a timeline to help keep you on track. Buy things monthly rather than all together so you can spread the cost and make it easier on your wallet. Money Helper has a ‘baby money timeline’ that is a useful tool to get started.
You can forecast your income during maternity leave to know how much you’ll be earning when the baby is born. If you learn to live on that budget, you’ll know you can manage when your pay reduces. Employers will have different policies on maternity leave, so let your employer know as soon as you can.
Having a baby is an exciting and scary time all at once. You should think very carefully about bringing a child into the world. You want to give them the best life you can, and money is a huge part of that. It is expensive to raise a child in the UK, but with the right planning and support, it can be an exciting and successful journey into parenthood.