How does the average couple afford children?

12467

Comments

  • s@sha
    s@sha Posts: 583
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Forumite

    Lucie, by contrast, watched her sister 'scrimp and save' (what does that phrase actually mean?) and this colours her own thinking - having children would prevent her following her preferred lifestyle of holidays, cars and eating out. Well, if you really put that kind of a lifestyle at the top of your agenda then of course, you shouldn't consider having children because not only would they cost you money, they would mainly cost you in terms of time, commitment and lack of freedom.


    A lot of people have this cars, holidays, going out type of lifestyle which is funded by the credit card companies.

    However, children's sole company can be a bit limiting - some of us do feel the need to get out and do something different, which is why Lucie's friend finds it worthwhile to pay for child-care so that she can go to a part-time job. I can understand that kind of thinking better than I can understand Lucie's lifestyle, which is not one that would ever have grabbed me, not in a million years.

    Aunty Margaret

    Each to their own. I don't really think it's for us to judge whether someone else's decision to have children is right or wrong. Not everyone wants to have children & I don't think there's anything wrong in acknowledging that you don't want them enough to change your lifestyle...it doesn't mean that 'that kind of lifestyle' is somehow a bit 'inferior' to a life with children, just because it's not the life we would have chosen for ouselves.
  • margaretclare
    margaretclare Posts: 10,789 Forumite
    s&#64 wrote: »
    Each to their own. I don't really think it's for us to judge whether someone else's decision to have children is right or wrong. Not everyone wants to have children & I don't think there's anything wrong in acknowledging that you don't want them enough to change your lifestyle...it doesn't mean that 'that kind of lifestyle' is somehow a bit 'inferior' to a life with children, just because it's not the life we would have chosen for ouselves.

    I did not state that anyone's decision was 'right or wrong'. Nor did I suggest that any lifestyle is superior or inferior to anyone else's.

    I agree that not everyone wants children, and for people who don't like children and don't want them. My younger daughter took the decision not to have children for what were (to her) good and valid reasons, and she went and got herself sterilised. I was the one who had to cope with all the hints from women of my own generation, about 'you'll be looking forward to her giving you grandchildren, won't you?' It's difficult to fend off those kind of intrusive comments without going into too much detail, and in the event, perhaps it was just as well - she died just before her 10th wedding anniversary.

    The reasons why people don't want children are many and varied, but perhaps it is a 21st-century phenomenon to prefer a lifestyle of holidays, cars and eating out!

    Aunty Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • nearlyrich
    nearlyrich Posts: 13,698
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Hung up my suit! Mortgage-free Glee!
    Forumite
    I had the (second) best bit of advice ive ever had about having children before I decided to have no2. I had mentioned to someone that id love another child but would need to wait till I could afford it. The reply was that if you waited till you could afford it then youd never have any at all!! children can be cheap if needs be, as long as theyre warm fed and loved thats all they really need. we've always been not too well off but my children are the happiest ever. They only cost a fortune if you let that happen

    This is very true, I've had times with no money but always manged to get by and I would not have given up my children to drive a flash car or have more exotic holidays etc.

    The good thing is now they are adults I'm still young enough to enjoy the holidays etc and once they both finish uni I will be relatively rich, might have to change the user name LOL.
    Free impartial debt advice from: National Debtline or Stepchange[/CENTER]
  • Theo_2
    Theo_2 Posts: 3 Newbie
    This thread caught my eye and makes very interesting reading with lots of helpful advice from many different points of view.

    But IMO there's a major sticking point - a few of the replies (Spendless, bluep) mention it briefly with other information but chrisw really highlights it:
    chrisw wrote:
    Are you sure you should be having a baby? Boyfriend has debts, spends money without thinking, doesn't want children yet, you're buying a house on one income in case you split up...??!!
    Are the two of you likely to survive the additional 'burden' of a child, both financially and restrictions on lifestyle? Doesn't sound like the ideal situation to bring up a child to me.

    A very good point and surely cost is secondary to agreeing that a child is what both partners want (and when)?

    Planning your finances with a view to splitting up gives the impression (intended or not) that neither partner has any real faith in the relationship! If the commitment to each other isn't there, surely the last thing you need to be considering is how much a child will cost.

    Theo
  • Gingham_Ribbon
    Gingham_Ribbon Posts: 31,520
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Forumite
    The financial cost of a child is nothing compared to the emotional one, especially if one or both of you is not sure. When you are sure it's right (and yes, the older you are the harder it becomes as I've discovered) then the following has helped us:

    Breast feeding is free although a breast pump and some bottles are a good investment. Second hand pumps on ebay are cheap.

    Washable nappies are massively cheaper than disposables. Wash in full loads, you don't need to soak them and when baby's a bit older you can wash at 40 degrees which cuts down on electricity. Line dry them, don't tumble. There are LOTS of choices. Terries are by far cheapest and can be used by all your kids.

    They grow out of clothes FAST so use second hand ones. People are very generous when you're pregnant. We got so much stuff passed down that all we bought was a baby monitor, a cot and a car seat.

    Get them eating healthy food from the off. Our son has never had expensive breakfast cereals, oven chips or chicken nuggets, so doesn't ask for them. Fresh food is much cheaper.

    Start him/her on drinking tap water rather than juice. Cheaper and better for their teeth.

    I barely notice any extra expense (he's 18 months) because we go out less and don't have foreign holidays any more. I stay home with him so no nursery fees etc.

    It's worth checking out the cost of both of you working. (Extra clothes, travel expenses, childcare, lunches, convenience meals cos you're both tired etc etc.) I discovered that the amount I save by not working means that I would be effectively working for way less than the minimum wage if I went back to teaching part time.

    In total I think we've spent less on our son in the last 18 months than we did on our extravagent skiing holiday before I got pregnant. And we're having a lot more fun!
    May all your dots fall silently to the ground.
  • loobyloo1980
    loobyloo1980 Posts: 587 Forumite
    I don't think you can ever 'afford' to have children. I have 2 kids (5 and 2). 1st one was unplanned but i was working so bought everything i needed out of my wages. WFTC etc wasn't in force then so I just got child benefit. I bought decent stuff because I knew I wanted more than one baby, so I could pass it down. Mum bought pram and Nan bought cot - so biggest expenses out of the way upfront.

    We planned 2nd and I gave up work to study for a degree while he was a baby. I'm still doing that, and we are trying for no.3 now. My thinking is, I always wanted 3 babies, I have all the things I need (clothes and everything stored away for both sexes as I have boy and girl). So get it out of the way now. I then know that when I complete my degree my 3rd will be old enough for daycare and my other 2 at school so i will be able to throw myself into a career. Rather that than go back to work and find a job I love in my new career to have to give it up to have another baby.

    Its just a very personal decision, but if you wait until you can afford a child - it would never happen as life always gets in the way.
    Official DFW Nerd #148 :D
    Debt level @ highest (May 2004): £15000 :eek: Debt level @ August 2006: £9591.53
    Lightbulb moment May 2006 :idea:
  • newbiemum05
    newbiemum05 Posts: 138 Forumite
    I am expecting my first baby any day.
    I haven't worked for a while due to sickness (but didn't claim any benefits). My husband has just last month finished his degree and started full-time work on approx 14.5 k per annum.
    We do fine. We budget well (you have to when you live on one student loan between 2),
    We haven't been given anything for the baby we've bought it all ourselves.

    As long as your baby has somewhere to sleep, is clean loved and warm - most other things don't matter one bit - most babies live in sleepsuits at first (available really cheaply from most supermarkets and places in the sales), Ebay is full of bargains, and the NCT do nearly new sales.

    If you are paying off debts, increasing your mortgage outgoings and planning on a family then maybe you've been a little too generous with your spend money - 60 odd pound a week is quite a lot for someone who has another 2.5 yrs of debt payments - you'd be better off slashing that a bit and paying those debts off quicker.

    Babies only cost a lot if you want them too :

    Breastfeeding is free (and recommended for at least 6 months)
    Re-usable nappies will save a lot of money in the long run (esp if you use traditional terry towelling - look for offers - there is a big drive to go green at the moment)
    Don't wait until you find out you're pregnant to start looking for baby bargains - I started to buy bits and pieces (esp Jan sales time) about 18 months ago to spread the cost - just like I wouldn't leave Christmas shopping until December - I wouldn't leave this til you're well on your way into pregnancy.

    I think the best place to start is to sit down with your BF and tell him exactly how you feel about having a family, and make a budget together - and stick to it !

    Hope all goes well - and remember the stretch marks come for free too !!!! :rotfl:
  • s@sha
    s@sha Posts: 583
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    Don't wait until you find out you're pregnant to start looking for baby bargains - I started to buy bits and pieces (esp Jan sales time) about 18 months ago to spread the cost - just like I wouldn't leave Christmas shopping until December - I wouldn't leave this til you're well on your way into pregnancy.

    I'd have to say I personally wouldn't advise buying baby things before you're pregnant. It may well spread the cost, but ...I'm being pessimistic here, but I'm speaking from personal experience...if you find you have problems conceiving then there's not much point in spending money on things that may not get used & it might even be a bit upsetting to have them in the house. My baby stuff would have been languishing in a cupboard for the last 10 years if i'd done that lol!
    But I would agree that once you know you are pregnant, it wouldn't hurt to start gradually collecting what you need...you still have several months of pregnancy over which to spread the cost.

    I suppose any stuff could alway be sold if not used, though.
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,001
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Forumite
    s&#64 wrote: »
    I'd have to say I personally wouldn't advise buying baby things before you're pregnant. It may well spread the cost, but ...I'm being pessimistic here, but I'm speaking from personal experience...if you find you have problems conceiving then there's not much point in spending money on things that may not get used & it might even be a bit upsetting to have them in the house.
    I'd agree with this. Though I conceive easily I lost my first at 17 weeks and I found it extremely distressing to have the baby items in the house. My MIL and SIL had to clear them away for me.
  • MATH
    MATH Posts: 2,940
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    Once you have children (I have three) you stop spending money on yourself and spend it all on them. When they are babies is the cheaper end of the age range:rolleyes: as I am fast finding out:D

    We have friends in well paid jobs who bemoan the fact they would lurrve children but can't afford them. Enjoying a couple of meals out a week, two foreign holidays a year, a new car every three years, designer clothes/fragrances at a whims notice, I agree - they cannot afford children and never will.
    Life's a beach! Take your shoes off and feel the sand between your toes.
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.7K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.6K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.1K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.8K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 605.6K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.4K Life & Family
  • 246.5K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards