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**Warning:** Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help moneyhelper.org.uk

How Much Does A Baby Cost On Average Per Month?

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.

Your questions, answered

Some studies have found a difference in costs between raising children of different genders. A study by MoneySupermarket.com found that although boys cost more in toys, technology and pocket money, girls cost more in clothing, footwear, accessories and activities. Overall, it’s considered more expensive to raise a girl who likes stereotypical ‘girly’ purchases and pursuits but, of course, this is by no means prescriptive or true for all.

In the UK, state-funded maternity leave usually lasts up to 9 months. However, it is rare for the allowance payable to cover all costs for the full period. There is no state-funded childcare for children until they are old enough to start school, usually at age 4. If working parents don’t have the opportunity to look after the child at home, they must pay for them to enter a nursery and be looked after by a childminder (although this often isn’t an option for those younger than school age) hire a nanny or au pair. Childcare costs comprise nearly half of all the costs for children that parents payout over their lifetime. In the UK, nursery fees average about £60 a day – more for specialist facilities. This is a really difficult cost for most families to meet. Mothers are encouraged to return to work as soon as possible, but quite simply, the finances don’t meet up for many.

From the age of three until they start school, preschoolers are entitled to 15 hours a week of free childcare with an OFSTED-registered provider. Working parents can apply for additional free hours to cover up to 30 hours a week for 38 weeks a year (British school term times), but this is on a case-by-case basis.

Childcare doesn’t automatically end as soon as a child starts school. From this point, working parents often need to invest in breakfast clubs and after-school activities to extend supervision time and the purchase of babysitters for out-of-hours childcare requirements, play schemes, and other childcare options for periods not covered by standard school term time.

Childcare allows parents to work and can also be an investment in the child’s development. Many early years’ childcare facilities will help teach your child to wean, speak, walk, socialise, and adopt other early years’ pre-school skills.

Yes. Even if you already own your own home, there are lots of bills you can expect to rise when you have a child. This includes energy bills, water bills, your groceries and even some insurance costs. If you invest in one big purchase before you have a baby, make it a washing machine with a solid warranty because you can be sure you’ll get through a lot of washes.

If you’ve had children before, you’ll know the advice changes on what seems like a monthly basis, so nothing is ever the same twice! The information provided here is currently appropriate, but you may wish to check with your local authority for any specific advice.

I know buying second-hand items is a cheap option. Are there any items that I legally have to buy a brand new for my child?

Answer: No, but there are some things you’re advised only to buy new:

  • Buying a second-hand car seat is not advised, but they are available. New car seats are expensive, and no matter what you opt for, you should ensure it is fitted correctly to current safety standards. Car seat fitting is done by the retailer or, in some instances, by the police.
  • Although you may choose to buy a second-hand toddler bed or cot, you should always buy a new baby mattress.
  • It’s a good idea only to put your newborn baby in brand new clothes or at least clothes washed heavily with a suitable washing powder and detergent. Newborn babies are especially susceptible to germs and skin irritation, so they should only be placed in the most delicate fabrics.
  • While you can use second-hand bottles and breast pumps, they must be thoroughly sterilised before use.

Is there any entitlement to subsidised childcare earlier than age 3?

Answer: Childcare in the UK varies between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, some childcare subsidies are available for people with children aged three and under to smooth their return to work and includes:

  • Working families who aren’t receiving tax credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers can access tax-free childcare for the first £2,000 they pay each year. For every £8 paid in, the government will add an extra £2. To qualify for this, the income of the working family must sit within a set bracket.
  • Families on certain benefits with a 2-year-old can access 15 hours of free childcare a week, over 38 weeks a year (British school term times). Providers will still need to pay for meals, trips, nappies and other expenses.
  • Working families may be eligible to receive tax credits toward childcare costs and cover up to 70% of the total.
  • Families receiving Universal Credit may be eligible to receive up to 85% of the total childcare cover cost.

To check eligibility for any scheme, families can visit the government’s website.

As you move through parenthood, you’ll find many unexpected expenses that pop up. But you can prepare for some of them. Before you have a child, consider:

  • Taking out a life insurance policy so that your child is financially provided for if the worst should happen.
  • Applying for any benefits you may be eligible for, including Child Benefit, as soon as you have your baby.
  • Open a savings account in your child’s name. Child accounts often offer a competitively high-interest rate, much better than you’d get as an adult.
  • Although it may seem a long way off, childcare places at nurseries can get booked up years in advance, particularly in big cities. You may be able to arrange visits and reserve places in advance and even reserve prices so that you’re not adversely impacted by fee hikes later on.

It’s also worth remembering that some of the things we often think of as free and relating to children do have linked expenses. These include:

  • Education: School supplies, field trips, uniform costs and lunches.
  • Friends: Birthday presents for others and associated costs for birthday parties.
  • Hobbies: Equipment, classes and activity trips.
  • Weekend activities: If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that a walk doesn’t always cut it. Although park trips and beach days would suffice for many years, entry to venues and additional costs quickly add up.

You can’t plan for many things, but taking a little consideration early on can make a difference.

No matter how well you’ve planned and prepared, you can be sure your kid/s haven’t read the rule book! If you suddenly face an unforeseen expense, don’t panic. Just get in touch with us. At The Money Shop, we know daily expenses can get out of hand, particularly when you’re not just paying for your own cost of living. We’re here to help and support you through whatever life throws at your family finances. Our team has access to a huge variety of short-term flexible loans, starting from £50 and can arrange repayments around dates that suit you.

It’s always a good idea to have a ‘buffer’ fund to protect against any unexpected costs, but realistically, this isn’t an option for most of us. That’s why The Money Shop is here, to help you prepare as best you can for your new arrival but also be ready to lend a helping hand when things don’t quite go the way you thought they would.

To apply for a loan with The Money Shop, you must meet some basic lending criteria. Currently, these are:

  • Be aged 18 or over.
  • Be a UK citizen or resident.
  • Have a UK bank account in your name.
  • Be employed, either through a traditional employer or self-employment.
  • Have a regular income.

These can be supported by presenting a British passport and/or residency document, payslips and/or a copy of recent bank statements. If you fit these criteria, you can apply online for the amount required and, if accepted, receive the money in your bank account within hours.

At The Money Shop, we know daily expenses can get out of hand, particularly when you’re not just paying for your own cost of living. We’re here to help and support you through whatever life throws at your family finances.