Recently I blogged – in a rather mercenary fashion– about the financial benefits of getting hitchedand bitterly concluded it was probably only worth it if you were marrying money! Alas DJ won’t tell me where the millions are buried (I suspect the vegetable patch), so if anybody out there has a rich, single brother do let me know!
Well, after visiting friends who have had or are expecting a visit from the stork, I was similarly shocked to discover how non-frugal having children is. And yet, how much peer pressure there can be, once you’re married, to breed. My own doctor recently told me I should get on with it as I’m 31. I told her I’m not sure I want kids but that I have a lot of pets. “If you like pets you’ll love children,” she said. Er…!
True, I knew clothing, feeding and housing a sproglet for nigh on 21 years (probably 30 now house prices are so expensive) doesn’t come cheap. According to research by Liverpool Victoria last year it costs £180,000 to raise a child and £185,000 in the South East. But I hadn’t appreciated the cash people have to shell out before they’ve even given birth to the screaming, vomiting (and… adorable) little things. Something that is meant to be the most natural thing in the world. Incidentally, how natural is it to spend four days in labour as one poor lady I heard did recently. Eeek…!
This is the shocking breakdown – although I guess if you don’t put them through private school you’ll save a cool £46,778!
The cost of raising a child
Childcare – £49,092
Education – £46,778
Food – £16,002
Clothing – £12,352
Holidays – £11,086
Hobbies & Toys – £ 9,592
Babysitting – £9,232
Leisure and Recreation – £6,896
Pocket money – £5,518
Furniture – £2,201
Other – £11,388
Total – £180,137
K, who is due soon, was proudly showing me the brand new pram/pushchair/flame thrower she’d successfully bid for on ebayand saved £100 on. But the thing still cost nearly £300, and this is before she’s bought clothes – which, like the Incredible Hulk, the little monkey will no immediately grow out of – and lost earnings looking after it/child care.
Help was at hand from Vix, who was keen to get rid of baby Clara’s newborn clothes she’s too big for and donated them – all washed – for me to pass on to K, who was very chuffed.
But when I mentioned this to my mother she was horrified by the thought of dressing a newborn in hand-me-down clothes. “What’s wrong with it?” I said. “They’re all good quality and from Gap or Next – and they’d barely been worn. (Sorry Vix, but I checked them for signs of vom just in case before handing them over!).
“Not a first born,” Mum said, in horror. “Maybe a second born!”
Yours truly was an overprotected only child, but DJ, who is a second born, looked resigned when I told him. He recalled complaining to his mother that there were loads of pictures of his brother in family photo albums and none of him. So she had to put together a special album.
In any case, will your £180,000 gamble pay off? Will Rupert and Jemima look after you in your dotage or will you still wind up selling your house to pay for the lonely nursing home they stick you in? I wonder…Certainly, if my doctor’s advice costs me that I shall send her the bill! Do you think it’s worth the financial pain having children?