Starting a family is a magical thing that millions of people around the world choose to do each year, and while it doesn’t always cost anything to conceive a child, many people don’t think of the price to raise a child comfortably and happy. Did you know that in a typical classroom of children that three of them live in what is considered as poverty? The government does try and help families that are in need with benefits but sometimes it simply isn’t enough, especially if the cost of rent and other essentials is more than what they are receiving. Ideally, you would have your finances in order before starting a family, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way and pregnancies occur. Here are a few ways in which you can determine whether you’d be able to bring a child into this world and still live comfortably.
One of the first things that parents have to worry about is when the before the baby is born and getting together all of the bits and pieces that it will need like a cot, pushchair, blankets, nappies, clothing, bottles, and many other things too. If both parents are working at the time of conception then it’s not usually an issue as you can buy the essentials from your income bit by bit until the baby is born. However, if you’re on low income or not working you will be able to apply for a maternity grant. This is a £500 payment to pay for everything that your baby will need in the first few months of their lives.
The next thing that many couples worry about is what is going to happen financially when the mother needs to finish work and go on maternity leave. While there is no rule saying that she can’t go back to work as soon as the baby is born, the normality of it is that she will have nine months off with the new baby, or vice versa with the Father. Of course, this is a worry because what was two incomes is now down to one and the couple then have to work out how they are going to get by on that income. Luckily, there is help available. Take a look at this employee maternity leave guide to see if you can get help in any sort of way.
Once the baby has arrived you then have to begin thinking about buying formula (if you’re not breastfeeding) alongside nappies, clothing as they grow, heating bills, and once they are old enough to be weaned onto food there is an extra mouth to feed onto your food bills too. In the UK, a couple is expected to work 24 hours between them to then receive what is called working tax credits. This is a weekly payment into your bank that will help pay for these things. However, if one or both of you work more hours than this, then your payment will be considerably lower if anything at all because you would be expected to live off your income. Definitely something to work out before considering having a baby.
Like all humans, as your child grows they will be eating larger portions, alongside everything that’s listed above. Not only that, by this time you may be thinking about returning to work if you haven’t already. Then comes the next hurdle - childcare. As previously mentioned the government helps working families by awarding working tax credits. If you are putting your child into a nursery while you’re at work, then inform the tax credits office because they will contribute up to 70% of the cost of your childcare bills. This is even more of an incentive for new parents to continue being at work and also returning to work. Don’t forget that you’re entitled to ask for fairer working hours from your employer now that you’ve had a child. This includes Fathers too.
Next up comes your child beginning school. If you’re in the UK then it’s likely that your child will have to wear a uniform once they begin year one of their primary school. As you probably already know, uniforms, bags, and all of the other things they will need don’t come cheap. Not to mention the school trips and other activities at school that you will be asked to pay for. Luckily, with your child being at school full time you will be able to work within those hours which should hopefully allow you to raise the amount of hours that you work. Also, as your child grows up and with each new school year the cost of uniforms and the other essentials will need to be found again.
As you child makes friends at school they will be invited to birthday parties and other occasions with their friends. This is another cost that you should be accounting for. Things like birthday presents or contributing food for a birthday party all play a part.
It is estimated that it will cost at least £231,000 to raise a child to the age of eighteen in this day and age which is a very large amount of money. That’s £12,000 a year. While you might earn more than that at your job, you will have other bills to pay for too like travel expenses, replacing broken appliances and many other things too.
Don’t let this article put you off having children however. Many people overthink the cost of having a child and end up not having any at all in fear of not being financially stable enough. Even families on the lowest of incomes manage to get by, and as long as you’re sensible with your money and ensure that you plan everything out, then you will easily be able to afford having a child. Don’t forget that this article isn’t mentioning any help you may receive from family or friends in the form of childcare, clothing, gifts, food, and maybe even money.
Having a child is one of the best feelings in the world, if not the best. Don’t let financial worries put you off too much, but remember to always be sensible.