Parents may be only too aware of the effects that raising children can have on their wallets. From increased energy costs to more expensive weekly shops, and from higher transport costs to higher rents or mortgages, every aspect of life is affected financially.
It becomes more important than ever when you have a family to look after to be savvy when choosing suppliers or purchasing goods – it’s important to look out for special deals, compare utilities such as gas and electricity prices, and always do some research before signing contracts, whether it’s for a new mobile, broadband provider or energy supplier.
Overall estimates when it comes to the cost of raising a child from babyhood to adulthood vary. Towards the higher end of the spectrum, it is estimated that raising a child costs £218,000 (Liverpool Victoria, 2012). Clearly, this is a sizeable sum of money. Broken down it amounts to just under £30 a day or £865 a month. The figure comes from analysing various sets of data sources, including the Office for National Statistics Family Expenditure Survey, Child Poverty Action Group, Daycare Trust, the National Union of Students and the AA. Of course this is the average figure, and it assumes various factors, such as children attending nursery between six months and five years, going on yearly holidays, and attending university, which is paid for by parents.
Some of the costs involved in raising children are fairly obvious. These include food, clothing, childcare expenses and holidays. These can all add up. But what about the less obvious, or hidden, costs? These might include having to buy a bigger house or car, spending more on gas and electricity, or losing income due to child illness, particularly if you’re self-employed or your employer isn’t flexible – a few days here and there can soon add up.
There is little that can be done about some costs. Buying a bigger house isn’t necessarily inevitable – many people choose to modify or extend their existing property instead. When it comes to buying a bigger car, families may choose to run a single car instead of two, or there are options such as buying secondhand, trading your current car in or taking out a car loan or car finance.
Gas and electricity usage does tend to increase when children appear in the picture. If someone is at home during the day, heating costs will probably increase. It is also very likely that the washing machine and dishwasher will be used more often. These factors may mean that energy bills increase by half as much or even more. Remember to compare energy tariffs based on your usage as a family rather than a couple to go about finding the best deals and cut down on your gas and electricity spends.
Other hidden costs can appear when your family goes from two adults to one when a relationship breaks down. The world caters for two parent families, and as soon as you become a single parent – that becomes apparent. This article highlights some of the financial struggles you will face as a single parent, but there is nothing more annoying that seeing a good deal on a day out, then realising you need two adults in order to qualify for it!
Raising a family is expensive enough, without extra stings in the tail for when you become a single parent.
My advise, always look for coupons and offers on apps when eating out.
Take a friend! If you need two adults for a discounted day out, find a friend in the same boat and double up – the kids will love you for it!