Thrifty News: Want to become parents? You’ll need quarter of a million pounds spare…

The Cost Of A Child report revealed yesterday that the price tag of raising a child to their university years is now over £225,000, rising by 60% in the last ten years alone.

Of course, major changes include university costs which the report also includes (is it normal for parents to pay for uni? I paid my own way by dressing as a giant yoghurt pot during the holidays…) but costs have risen in almost every area.

People on average spend over £11,000 on a baby’s first year, an amount that has grown by 50% in a decade. This kind of makes me wonder what parents are spending money on. What does a baby need, really? I can think of only one or two things that people might not want to buy second hand- although, along with lots of other families, we made do with what we already had, hand me downs and stuff from charity shops.

As children grow there are costs that are unavoidable (I GUESS they have to eat, huh?) and the general cost of living has increased a little but I do wonder if a lot of what we spend on children is driven by this idea that they deserve the “best” and that the best is the most expensive.

Is it possible that much of the increase in spending is to do with the more aggressive marketing of kid’s toys and products? Is there a growing consumer space dedicated to childhood that makes parents feel the pressure to spend?

What do you think is going on? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

6 comments on “Thrifty News: Want to become parents? You’ll need quarter of a million pounds spare…

  1. Unbelievable! If this is true, my family are so screwed! However, I can’t believe that costs are so high if you embrace hand-me-downs and charity shops. I don’t think we’ve spent anywhere near that amount on three kids in their first year, let alone one. Even the big ticket items like car seats and buggies wouldn’t add up to half that. There seems to be far too much disparity in how people spend their money and on what to make generalisations of this sort. I am a very lucky recipient of brilliant hand me downs from a lady who has two sons and passed all of her firstborn’s barely worn clothes to me because she wanted to buy all new for her youngest. Madness, but fruitful for us. Perhaps there is one extreme of parents rushing out to buy self-heating wet wipes, and a buggy with a price tag suggesting it also has time travel capability, then they send it all to the charity shop or sell it on ebay, and the spendthrift parents get to buy it for peanuts. For everyone who walks into their first baby shop and says ‘Wonderful! We’ll take one of each’, there must be another person who says ‘WTF is that chair thing for- do we really need one. Aaargh too many products. Bugger this, i’m going to go and eat some cake instead’.

    I don’t know if you noticed too over Christmas that there were lots of posts around on buying less over the festive period, including some quite contentious articles about how people had chosen to not buy their child anything, or to just get one or two presents- some of them advocated making gifts, others spending time on activities instead of a gift, and so on. I got the distinct impression that the new middle class stigma (you know- the thing everyone suddenly feels terribly guilty and judgemental about) is about spending too much on your child rather than too little. This article in particular proved quite polarising If you view the comments, some of the commentators stop just short of accusing her of child abuse, while it really spoke to others.

    Thanks for all your cost-cutting tips! Looks like we’ll need them:)

  2. Even taking into account the astronomical cost of childcare in the UK, I just can’t fathom how you could spend £11K before your baby’s even turned one. I guess you would have to buy the best on the market, of everything, at full price. I really thought only a minority of parents did this, given that it just doesn’t make any sense. Although I’m aware that we’re on the very thrifty end of the spectrum, I must be being naive to think there are more people like us. I suppose you must be right – the kiddie market is huge, aggressive and lucrative. What saddens me is the thought that some people feel the need to give in to that to be thought of as good parents. If you can afford it all, more power to you, but what if you can’t? And yet you’re so worried about not providing for your baby properly that you think you have to? It’s just awful, and completely unnecessary.
    Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork recently posted…Thrifty Little Baby Part One: How to spend MUCH less than £11KMy Profile

  3. £11k in the baby’s first year! Holy moly – what are they buying? We’ve picked up so much stuff second hand for my two but even with a few big things we bought new and the times we’ve had to buy new clothes as we couldn’t find what we needed secondhand I still struggle to see how people can manage to spend that much!

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