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How much will it cost to raise a child in 2019?

3 minutes

Rising parenting costs are causing difficulties for families, whether it’s childcare they’re forking out on, or higher education fees. But what will 2019 bring, and how can parents better manage their finances?

  • The cost of raising a child is steadily increasing
  • Having a child is encouraging parents to pursue their careers
  • Why not consider higher education abroad?
 

Understanding the true cost of raising children in 2019 can help you plan your finances

The total cost of raising a child to 18 is £75,233 for a couple

The cost of raising a child was steadily increasing, but actually dropped this year according to the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

According to the CPAG, the cost of raising a child (excluding housing, childcare and council tax) from birth to 18 is now:

  • £75,233 for a couple family
  • £101,883 for a single parent/guardian

That's down from 2017, when the cost was £75,436 for a couple family and £102,627 for a lone-parent family

You can read up about the costs in more detail in our article about how to save in the first 12 months of parenthood.

Childcare costs

A recent report revealed that the cost of childcare rose four times faster than wages between 2008 and 2016, and in London seven times faster.

Based on this growth, childcare costs are expected to increase in 2019 as well, especially with the government ending the childcare voucher scheme in October 2018. The vouchers are being replaced by Tax-Free Childcare, which is already available. 

‘We missed out on the first few months of Tax-Free Childcare after our daughter went to nursery as it's so badly promoted,’ says journalist and mum Shannon Kyle (@ShannonDotKyle). ‘It was only through a friend we heard about it and immediately signed up. The system is hard to navigate and sometimes goes wrong, but it does save us 20% per month on fees, which adds up to about £150 – a great saving.’

Make sure you take advantage of the options available to parents, which can be read in more detail in our article on financing childcare.

Added pressure on working parents?

Mintel data also suggests that mothers often have to return to work after giving birth due to high childcare costs. In 2017, 4.9 million mothers with dependent children were in work, up from 3.7 million in 1996.

Of course, money is only one factor. Women are now less likely to choose being a stay-at-home mother over their career ambitions. In fact, 24% of new mothers were more interested in their career after having a child.

Household spending costs

According to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) release, the average UK weekly household spend was £554.20 in 2017. However, there was a significant disparity in the highest and lowest spending regions of around £200 a week. 

The average UK weekly household spend was £554.20 in 2017

That will certainly have increased in 2018, as the consumer price index (CPIH), which monitors the prices of all consumer goods and housing costs, was showing 2.3% inflation in March. Prices are still predicted to continue to increase in 2019, even though the rate of inflation is suspected to drop.

So, will bills increase in 2019?

‘Without a doubt household bills continue to climb,’ says Shannon. ‘We order things in bulk where we can, such as pet food, and we change our electricity and gas suppliers and insurers every year to get the best deal. It takes time to shop around but is often worth doing when we can. It's hard to imagine what will happen after Brexit so we're bracing ourselves.’

Education costs

Continuing cuts to the education budget could see schools relying more and more on parents’ voluntary payments.

Parents in the UK don’t actually spend much on education when compared to their other costs, due to the state school system. In fact, only 1%  of the average household spend goes towards education, according to the ONS. 

Parents aren’t obliged to help fund their schools, though, and children can’t be exempted from activities that need parental funding because their parents can’t pay. Of course, there will be parents spending more on education.

There are establishments that are finding novel ways to provide affordable private education despite the cuts, including The Independent Grammar School: Durham – a private school that opened its doors at the start of the 2018 school year, which is charging parents £52 per week.

‘If your child is still young, then start saving for their higher education now,’ recommends Kalpana Fitzpatrick, financial journalist and founder of MummyMoneyMatters.com (@MumMoneyMatters). ‘One if the best ways to kick start their university fund is a stocks and shares Junior ISA. This is a long-term investment option for five years, or ideally 10 years, but the return potential is much higher than that of a cash ISA.

‘But beware: once the money is in, it belongs to the child to do as they please with when they’re 18,’ she adds. 

If your children are looking at higher education options, but aren’t sure where the money for fees will come from, why not consider studying abroad? Universities in France, Germany and Norway are free for EU/EEA students, and many have courses taught in English.