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 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:
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.
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
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.