How much does a baby cost, on average, per month?
Every parent will tell you there’s no real right time to have a baby, and there’s certainly rarely a time that you’ll feel completely ready. However, when you are starting a family, one of the most important things you can do is ensure you are as financially secure as possible before welcoming the new addition to the family. After all, there’s one thing you can be sure of, and that’s babies are expensive.
Raising children isn’t easy. And it certainly isn’t cheap. However, while you cannot do it for free, there are plenty of things you can do to help lower the daily expense of raising a child. Expenses for babies begin long before they’ve arrived. Just think of all those nappies, clothes, equipment, the re-decoration of rooms, the baby-proofing of rooms and the purchase of expensive cots, car seats and pushchairs. From the moment they’re born, children grow out of clothes and toys faster than you can buy them. Not to mention the number of toys they will destroy (and some things that aren’t toys) regularly, too. It’s a good job they are cute.
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What is the overall cost of raising a child?
There has been much research into determining the overall average cost of having a baby and raising a child, and if the figures are accurate, the cost is rising year on year. In 2019, the Child Action Poverty Group calculated that the average overall cost to raise a child from birth to age 18 was £185,000 for lone parents and £151,000 for couples.
The cost of raising children in the UK is incredibly expensive for most people. Even for people in well-paid, full-time employment, the gap between actual income and what’s required to meet family needs is growing. In 2019, lone parents working full-time on the National Living Wage were, on average, 21% short on what they needed to cover rent, council tax and childcare, equivalent to around £80 a week. Even those working on the median UK salary fell £60 a week short of the estimated projected income for what most people would consider a decent minimum living standard. Meanwhile, couples who both work full-time under the National Living Wage fell 10% below.
In the UK, parents earning less than £50,000 a year are entitled to Child Benefit until the child turns 16 years old. This works out at £21.05 a week for the eldest or only child and £13.95 a week for additional children. However, this rate was set in 2015 and has not considered inflation or the increased living costs. Child Benefit covers less than a sixth of the cost of a child for a lone parent. Meanwhile, for a couple, the cost is less than a fifth.