Having children is a costly game and new research out today shows that it’s never been more expensive to raise a child. The annual Cost of a Child Report shows that bringing a child up to age 21 is at a ten year high of £222,000 (£73,000 less if you’re not going down the path of private education); 58% more than ten years ago. This is set to reach £350,000 by 2023 if costs continue to increase at the same rate.
According to the report it’s childcare that’s crippling most families as costs have risen from £39,613 a year in 2003 to £63,738 in 2013 a rise of 60.9%, which spells disaster for many families who can’t afford not to work, and can’t afford their childcare bills.
A lady on Twitter recently harangued me for complaining about childcare costs saying I was demonising people who work in childcare. My point isn’t that childcare professionals charge too much (in most cases they don’t) but that flexible working in the UK isn’t very flexible for most parents meaning the cost of childcare stacks up over a month when you have to work normal hours.
One area of the report that’s also interesting is that families don’t want to let their children go without the latest tech and entertainment, which costs £27,439 from birth to 21; an average of £1307 per year. I don’t know how true that statistic is, but certainly amongst the families I know kids don’t get everything they want (especially tech) if money is tight. And as for holidays going up 43.3% in 10 years, plenty of families don’t even take a holiday due to the huge cost of flying anywhere these days.
It makes for a depressing read, but at the same time I think most families are more sensible than these figures make out. I can’t see budget conscious parents upping the pocket money rate and buying their kids everything so they don’t go without. Most are smart shoppers who budget, look for the best ways to save money and generally just get on with it despite alarming figures like these.
But what do you think? Are you worse off this year than 10 years ago? Let us know.