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Babies are expensive – MYTH (ish)

First of all, they’re not iPhones. You can’t buy them. Although how cool would it be if they were that smart from the get-go and that easy to get? Goodbye pregnancy and labour, you will not be missed! We’d be first in line at the Apple store. Joking aside, preparing for a baby can be expensive but it all depends on decisions you make along the way. Do you need to buy the newest bouncer or can you get one from a friend? How do you feel about borrowing or renting a pram and cot? Cool with hand-me-downs?

Childcare is expensive – F.A.C.T.

While everyone is entitled to 15 hours of childcare per week for free (if both parents work then it’s 30) that only kicks in the term after your child’s third birthday. For summer babies, that’s September. An October baby would only benefit from the following term which is January. In the meantime, you can expect to pay a minimum of £55 for a full day for under 3s (in reality most nurseries can charge a lot more than that). 5 days a week, that amounts to minimum £1,200 per month for a full time nursery. Opt for a nanny and it can be even more than that. Getting grandparents to babysit (if you’re lucky enough to have that as an option) a few hours a day or even a week and the saving will be HUGE.

Private schools are for millionaires – MYTH

Giving your child a private education is not cheap. Well, unless they get a full scholarship. For most parents, the notion of having to pay on average anywhere between £5k and £10k a term for each child can be daunting. Even if you choose to only pay for secondary and sixth form you can expect a final bill between £110k and £210k per child. That price tag can be hard to grasp and your initial reaction could understandably be ‘hell no’. The best way to cope with this is understanding that private schools should be a long-term goal, not something you’re required to splash out on from day one. Saving a minimum of £180 a month (rising with inflation, of course) per child from the day they’re born can allow parents to afford sending their kids to private school from the age of 11 to 18. Although still high, you can probably work with that number. Maybe it’s about cutting down on takeaways, cycling more, cancelling that gym membership you never use and taking up running instead or resisting the newest gadgets, creams, etc. The point is that starting an investment plan early will make it way easier to afford things down the line and no, you don’t need to be rolling in dough, so to speak, to afford private education.

Your job is done when they’re 18 – MYTH

While your child is legally an adult, they are most probably quite far from being ready to cut the financial cord. Yes, they can get a student and maintenance loan, take up a part-time job, keep living at home rent-free but you’ll still be footing the bill for most of their living expenses. Whether they choose to study or jump straight into a career, your job is far from done.

You are not expected to buy your child a car when they turn 18. But what if they want or need one? Will you let them lease or will you be prepared to unload a pot of money to buy it for them? According to a 2019 study by GoCompare, the average cost for first set of wheels is about £5k. Considering you’d probably prefer to buy a new and electric (will there even be non-electric cars in 2040?!) for reliability, safety and sustainability purposes, we predict this price will be way higher. Do a quick Google search and you won’t find anything new under 15k in today’s market.

Same with property – will you pretend not to care that they are renting and paying off someone else’s mortgage or will you present them with a downpayment for their first home? If you’ve paid rent all through your 20s and even to this day, we think it’s safe to say that if you can find a way to support them with the alternative, you’ll do it in a heartbeat.

Minimum you can expect to spend on a child from birth to 18?

Roughly it’s around £75k for a working couple or just over £100k for a single parent. Remember this is the no-frills, essential cost only figure; so treat it like a starting price. All the elective add-ons like housing, childcare, private schools, sports equipment, holidays, fancy gadgets, home deposits etc will push the total up by a considerable amount.

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