How to cut the cost of raising kids

Feb 24 • Featured, Uncategorized • 684 Views • 17 Comments on How to cut the cost of raising kids

A report came out yesterday that said it now costs £200k to raise a child. £200k! While I think that's probably really only the case for a very small percentage of the population there's no getting away from the fact that raising kids IS expensive. Even with the most careful budgeting, there is always something to buy – clothes, shoes, toys, books, games, clothes, shoes, toys… and that's without factoring in anything like holidays and um… university *eek*.

In her fab book the catchily titled ‘How To Afford Time Off with Your baby’ (available from Waterstones) full-time mum Becky Goddard-Hill gives 101 ways to ease the financial strain of having kids. Like me, she’s a fan of online grocery shopping to save money, stocking up and she also has some really cool tips on cutting the cost of children’s parties, saving for your baby’s future (don’t forget KidStart is a great way to do this) and cheaper Christenings, plus lots more.

You can also find expert tips  here and advice on how to make sure you and your friends are getting everything you're entitled to here.

*What are your favourite money saving tips? Share them below:

written by Liz Jarvis

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17 Responses to How to cut the cost of raising kids

  1. Crystal Jigsaw says:

    I struggle to believe that £200k is accurate, and even if it is I would say it is more aimed at the upper class members of our society. Perhaps those whose children attend private school. Forgive me if I’m wrong. I think the best money saving tip is to make sure your kids realise you’re not made of money. Get them to understand the value of the pound at an early age, if that’s possible. CJ xx

  2. leslieanne says:

    That article made me laugh – £200K – really?! I know I’m new to this, but there is simply no way I’m on track to spend that much by the time Dylan’s 21!! Like you, I’m a big fan of the online shop – you can take advantage of buying nappies in bulk to save pennies without having to lug them home! Also very rarely pay full price for clothes – just hit the sales & think ahead 🙂 And never be too proud to say yes please to hand me downs – Dylan’s got loads of lovely toys & things that friend’s children hardly even played with before outgrowing them, and they’ll still be in great shape for me to pass along to somebody else. Baby Led Weaning has saved us a fortune too- and made us eat much healthier!

  3. Jane Wade says:

    Don’t be proud! Yes to second-hand and then sell it on when you have finished. So far we have had second-hand buggies, cots, clothes and toys and will soon add to that second-hand bikes, more toys and more clothes. Go to the library – free activity, loads of books also free to borrow! Ebay is also a great source of bargains and equally a great place to sell stuff. NCT sales when starting out. Mine are still little but will find other avenues for cheap things soon.

  4. Karen Jones says:

    I’ve seen this before, don’t know where they come up with that figure, but probably based on London children! I have never paid full price for clothing since the birth of my first son. Lots of great online shops offering discount clothing. I sell at boot sales & Ebay all my boys outgrown clothes. I buy at outlets too. Stock up for christmas and birthdays in the sales on everything from christmas cards, tags to next years christmas presents. I join all the large supermarket and store discount clubs and use the vouchers. Lots and lots of ways to save money.

  5. Alison says:

    I nearly spat my coffee out when I read that figure in the papers yesterday. And I don’t think it included school fees. I would agree with your other commenters. Buy second hand, don’t buy things like Bugaboos or the latest trends you’ve seen celebs with. They have probably been given it. Scour charity shops for toys. Don’t buy all the useless crap they try to market to you. Having said all that, I do occasionally splurge – particularly on books. But I hope they’ll treasure them for ever.

  6. Claire (20somethingmum) says:

    My tips are E Bay, for the two minute wonder toys and DVDs which all the kids want after seeing them on TV then get bored of after 5 minutes (think Waybuloo, ITNG and Peppa Pig), as well as bundles of good quality clothing. Or sign up for your local Freegle/freecycle group, just search for your local group via Yahoo Groups, where people GIVE AWAY everything from toys, to clothes and electrical items, and you can advertise for things you’d like too, if someone has it they give you it for free! Amazing! Or theres the old fashioned charity shop, for great bragains too lloads in the UK,

  7. Mummy Zen says:

    Lots of great tips above that I’d agree with…..to add to those: – lend & borrow clothes or baby equipment from other mums (friends or family) who have older or younger kids than you – do a babysitting swap amongst your local group of mum friends so you don’t have to pay babysitting fees – keep a wish list for your children on Amazon or wherever so family and friends buy things you actually need or would like and so you don’t have to buy them yourself – get childrens books from the library so you’re not always buying them and to keep a nice variety around to read

  8. Vic @ Glowstars.net says:

    Join all the parenting clubs you can as they often send money off coupons out.

  9. Nataliya Deleva says:

    Agree with Crystal Jigsaw – First of all £200 sounds like a joke. What I find as a "cost-saving" tip is educationg my child that she will have the thinks she needs, not all those she wants. I try to show her that we respect money at home, and most of people’s efforts to earn them; as mother I would give anything to make her feel happy, but it doesn’t include spending money just for the sake of having something new every day. I don’t stimulate her to do something or be a good girl by giving her gifts. Other tips we have at hope to cut on child expences are: – homemade cosmetics like masage oils, salves, etc. – it’s cheap and natural – Borrow furniture from friends with kids/ may also borrow books, sometimes toys, etc. – Think of imaginative play and spend more quality time with her, have a outdoor play in the park, etc. – I don’t buy her all those battery- toys, expensive gadgets, etc. – she can have a hand-made doll made from a wooden spoon and cotton (the one I made for her and she adores), or having a couple of wooden plates and cook all day for her dolls, mixing differentingredients, smelling spices, etc. – so sweet, toxic-free… anc cheap!

  10. Karen says:

    The article actually says that a large chunk of the cost is State eduction; uniforms, sports equipment and essential other items such as school trips, with Child care being the biggest drain on finances. Buying toys and baby things are just a tiny part of the cost. It’s a no brainer to save on second hand toys. But should you deny your child that school trip? I know my parents spend a fortune on my music lessons which I’m eternally grateful for. Any hopefully I can save here buy passing on my knowledge to my children myself. It also says its a calculation of middle class famillies and includes costs such as buying offspring their first car. £200, 000 sounds a lot but perhaps not so crazy a calculation.

  11. Expat Mum says:

    I nearly wept when I read that number. Oh how I wish! Over here it’s going to cost about 130 thousand pounds just to get the queenager through college. And that’s on top of what we’ce already spent. One thing I have "trained" my kids in is not to be bothered about brand names and designer clothing. There’s nothing wrong with buying clothes at Tesco, Asda, Walmart etc when they outgrow them in a matter of months. And of course, we are big second hand store, jumble sale people. No shame there either.

  12. EmmaK says:

    Expat Mum does show that UK mums should be happy at least in not to have to pay big US college fees. I live in US also but am pretty sure we will get round those huge fees by having the kids go to college in UK – even if they have to pay fees as foreign students it will be less than the good colleges in the US. Yes I believe that it does cost £200K to raise a kid – I buy them second hand clothes so that is not the issue but spend most on a lot of foreign travel, music lessons, ballet lessons – extra curricula activities add up.

  13. Vegemitevix says:

    The answer is of course, vegemite. Yup. Let them eat vegemite that’ll take heaps off your bill! I’ve become quite a frugal cook since having kids and recent drop in lifestyle/income. Did you know that one chicken can do for three meals (at least) for a family of five! Look up http://www.desperategourmet.co.nz she has some brilliant ideas. I use her recipe ideas lots …but I add more spice. Yours frugally Vixxx

  14. MrsW says:

    I bet it’s not far off – and I base this on the maintenance I get from my ex which for 2 kids over the course of 18 years (yeah we split up that soon) will amount to just over £98,000. Given that this barely covers their food bill (even assigning the fridge dwelling teens less than half of the £600 Mr Tesco and Mister Co-Op share between them each month). The £20 each a week left over sure doesn’t keep them in clothes, the odd cinema trip and gigs-a-go-go, let alone toys, gadgets, school trips, holidays, haircuts, brithday pressies for friends, a tenner here and a tenner there, tenners flippin everywhere…… yeah I reckon that’s a pretty fair figure.

  15. Vegemitevix says:

    Hey Mrs W, my ex pays $1000 NZD per month for his three kids. That equates to £300. That’s the ‘support’ (hic) I have from him for my three teens. One week’s worth of groceries is about £200. That’s when I’m trying. I just thank God I didnt have three boys!

  16. Gayna says:

    Hope I don’t get struck off for writing this but the book recommended is £7.99 with 5% back from Waterstones through Kidstart but only £4.94 with free delivery from Amazon…now that’s a saving! 😉

  17. Liz (LivingwithKids) says:

    @ExpatMum Boy for once I’m glad I don’t live in the States! @EmmaK yes you’re right – all those extras do really add up. Especially if your child develops an interest in fencing after seeing Lord of the Rings (!) @Gayna I know that KidStart have been trying to get Amazon on board – no luck so far but they keep trying. Fingers crossed it will happen. There is a link to Amazon for convenience on the KidStart website too.

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