How does the average couple afford children?



  • Jazzieboy
    Jazzieboy Posts: 31 Forumite
    I wanted to add something helpful and constructive but is there anything left to say ??.
    We are "old" parents. My husband will be 65 when our latest arrival can buy her own beer (or mores to the point her Dads) and thats if we have stopped producing ! eek. I think we are more relaxed about "stuff" especially the material things. But then saying that we have already done most of the "stuff" people are looking forward to doing in their old age. Travelled, numerous cars (just need one big enough for us 5, the buggy, the dog, the tent !), the mortgage will be gone soon but thats only because we havent moved for along time and property was cheaper then and we all squash in together !.

    I did write more but it got all gooey and sentimental. I think you have just got to do it, but ensure you always make time for the other half. Even if its only the odd stroll or picnic, but just for the two of you.
  • Thank you for continuing to reply.

    To answer the points stated I would like to say, the reason for us keeping the mortgage managable for me is purely because I am putting my home on the line to move in with bf. At the moment I am mortgage free but want to upgrade my home with bf. I had a marriage which went wrong and I have worked hard since to achieve what I have now.

    Bf knows he is contributing little to the house move due to his debts, so has said he would like the mortage to only be what I can afford, so if in the event things go wrong, I won't lose my house. He wants me to be secure still. So its not because we think we will split up far from it, we've been together 3 years and happy.

    I think he will struggle on £65 per week until he gets used to things. I am hoping he will be able to shave this later, but for someone who has never budgeted its a start. I could easily make this £65 last me 3-4 weeks but i've had 10 years of making do.

    We both do want kids, me now, him later. I think because he hasn't left his parents home yet, the urge to start a family hasn't kicked in because he's not had his own space/home or resposibility. I do not intend to start a family without him wanting one, as I dearly want this to be a joint together thing and a decision made by both of us.

    I am hoping things will come gradually and bf will want to put more into his debts. I can't tell him what to do he has to decide this for himself. Although we are moving in together our finances remain seperate in the sense of personal spending. Yes he will give me half towards bills etc, but it will still be my account which i use currently for household bills. I prefer it this way.

    Does that all make sense??
  • Gingham_Ribbon
    Gingham_Ribbon Posts: 31,520
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Yes it totally makes sense. My hubbie had never had to budget before and our first attempt at giving him a 'spends' limit was around £100 a week. Now he'd find it hard to spend that in a month on himself, so slow and steady wins the race! Also, we had seperate accounts for our money at first, but now we share everything (because I stay at home with our son) and our personal accounts have become a bit redundant. Different things work for different people, and of course different stages of your life. Sounds like you're being sensible to me.

    Good luck!
    May all your dots fall silently to the ground.
  • HappySad
    HappySad Posts: 2,021
    Combo Breaker First Post First Anniversary
    When we decided to have a baby I did a budget and listed all my outgoings. Then with each out going I tried to see if I could do without it (got ride of one car, loose the gym membership, less meals out, go to the library instead of buying books), looked at what I could get cheaper ( remortgage, change gas & elec supplier...), I also started to cook from scratch more when the baby was born. I also have a lodger which helps.

    You could join the NTC for 1 year only so that you get a year supply of their really useful local NCT magazines...From the magazines you will get to know all about the facilities available in your area that are aimed at mothers/fatthers and babies/toddlers. Then I also went on their website to find out about their "Nearly New Sales"... where you can get loads of clothes & baby equipment at a very low price.

    For clothes only buy 1 pack of sleep suits & vest and then call & email all your friends about the birth and then see all the clothes & toys that come flooding in from them all.

    Also Ebay is good for buying clothes. I search for Gap & Next clothes and always a good deal on there.

    I got a breat pump at less than half price from

    Now is a good time to ask around your friends and family who have older children who still have clothes, toys & equipment for babies that they no longer need. You could start collecting your things now.

    I did once have a page from a baby magazine that listed everything you needed for the first year of life and their cost. If I find this I'll let you know.

    Most things for my son was secondhand, presents, hand me downs from family/friends or I made myself. I did buy his vests and sleep suit from Tesco as they where so cheap.

    If you join a local mother & baby group, you could start a baby clothes donation system. The mothers ( I also mean the fathers too) with older children would bring in the clothes that their children have out grown and the other mum can pick the clothes up for nothing!

    The "Which?" Guide to Baby Products ("Which?" Consumer Guides) by Sian Morrissey . This is a fantastic book!!! If you know nothing about what to buy for your baby this will help you to get to know about all the different products on the market.

    My main cost was formul milk ( breast feeding is cheaper) and disposable nappies from Netto or special offer (you could use washable nappies which is cheaper).
    “…the ‘insatiability doctrine – we spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need, to make impressions that don’t last, on people we don’t care about.” Professor Tim Jackson

    “The best things in life is not things"
  • Kantankrus_Mare
    Kantankrus_Mare Posts: 6,090
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Excellent thread!!

    Just wish id had computer and access to this kinda stuff when i was pregnant 13 years ago!!

    We have never been well off but neither have we been in a total financial mess but looking back and if I had my time again I wouldnt have bought half the stuff I did for my first baby such as clothes,toys and baby furniture.

    I spent a fortune on disposable nappies which i dont know if Id do again.

    Likewise I spent a small fortune on baby jar food which I definately wouldnt do again.

    The only saving I made was breastfeeding which I managed for 6 weeks for each child ( I have 2) and could have kept up a bit longer.

    Even as children get older we spend a small fortune on Xmas presents believing new is best when you can pay a fraction of the price for second hand goods......and do children under 5 know the difference? Do they heckers like lol

    My children are now 12 and 10 and I never belived my mother when she said they get more expensive the older they get.

    How right she was!! School trips,clothes,shoes pocket money, hobbies to name but a few.

    Still wouldnt be without them though and yes we yearn for more nights out and holidays etc etc but childhood is short and we'll be in our mid forties when they turn 18. Mortgage paid off at similar time so waheyyyy!!

    Then of course theirs always grandkids somewhere along the line but there should be a bit of a break in the middle.......shouldnt there????? lol ;)
    Make £10 a Day Feb .....£75.... March... £65......April...£90.....May £20.....June £35.......July £60
  • HappySad
    HappySad Posts: 2,021
    Combo Breaker First Post First Anniversary
    I once read a book called something like the "Escape from the Rat Race: Downshifting to a Richer Life (Right Way Plus)" by Nicholas Corder and this made me think that there is more to life than spending loads of money.... then having to work long hours to pay for it all. I also read a book on Simple Living "The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living" by Janet Luhrs.

    I decided that my life was going to be less of a consumer, that revolved around shopping, spending money and aquiring (sorry about the spelling I am dyslexic) more and more material goods. I focused on living well on less and having less possesions. This also came at the same time that I was trying for a child. So when I then became pregnant I was already working towards living on less money and I was also spending some of my time going through all my things to get rid of the excess stuff that I was no longer needed.

    I had to make space for my new baby in the house, so getting rid of all that clutter and possessions ment that I did not have to move into a bigger place. I was already living in a 3bedroom house so I should not have the need to move... I just had to get ride of all those extra things.

    During my pregnancy I was able to save a lot of money which at the moment I have not spent much of it. Practising living on less while I was pregnant meant that it was not hard to do when I was really was on a much lower income.

    Holidays, lots of clothes, CDs DVDs, fast cars etc does not mean much to me.. seeing my son laughing at something or rolling about in the grass with him in the park means so much more to me.

    There are still things that I have not giving up like broadband (512kb), photography (subject of photos is usually my son) and shopping (I now moved from shopping for things to shopping for good deal quality food).

    I still go out a lot but the things I do all cost a lot less. I now go out most days to mother and toddler groups at my local church or nursery and this cost me just £2 a week!

    I do some times miss having all that extra money I used to have before my son was born but I would rather any day be where I am to day. Less money and with child.

    I agree with most of what has been said my the other MSEers. There is never a perfect time to have a child. You can do a little planning for them but in the end you just have to go for it and things will sort it self out. Once you got pregnant you would both be forced to make the changes needed in your lifestyle to accommodate the new life.

    Getting a house that you can afford on one salary is a good idea so that you are protected if one of you are not working. You could take on a lodger. This is not as bad as it sounds. I have a lodger and she is perfect. She keeps herself to herself. She is OK about it when my son crys in the night... on a few occasions she has looked after my son while I quickly pop to the shops. She is company while my other half goes out to work and I am at home. The money would come in handy and when you get more financiallly secure you just ask the lodger to leave.
    “…the ‘insatiability doctrine – we spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need, to make impressions that don’t last, on people we don’t care about.” Professor Tim Jackson

    “The best things in life is not things"
  • Gingham_Ribbon
    Gingham_Ribbon Posts: 31,520
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Another good indoor place to take wee ones is the local library. They usually have a kids' bit and toys to play with. We love ours and are such regulars that they even let us have a little birthday party for our son there. (Just friends and their babies and a gingerbread my mum made. Lovely first birthday party!)

    Of course, if there's a library in the centre of the town you live in, this can be a good place to take the kids when you have to drag them along for the inevitable occasional shopping trip. And free!
    May all your dots fall silently to the ground.
  • robindunne1
    robindunne1 Posts: 360 Forumite
    Thought I'd tell of my experience. My wife and I are both younger than the normal family. We have a two year old little girl, I'm 27 and the wife is now 21. She stays at home full time with our little one and I earn all the money and pay all the bills. A good friend of my fathers once said that

    "if you wait till you can afford to have kids you'll never have any"

    Quite true. My wife fell pregnant the month after we got married. With me finishing university her getting sick and not working because of the pregnancy, we had a mortgage to pay and no income. Also, there was a structural fault in the house which meant I had to extend the mortgage by another £11000 to pay for it. At the time I had nightmares of loosing the house and heving to sell up and live with my parents, not something that the average 24 year old worries about. The truth was that the prospect was a lot worse than the reality. I quickly got myself a temp job paying £5.50 an hour, sold everything I didn't need of any worth and WTC made up the rest meaning we could live and pay the mortgage and look after our new baby.

    Now 3 years down the track I earn three times as much and don't seem to have more spare cash than before - however, we are moving to a bigger home next week which means a bigger mortgage, insurances etc.... but after previous experience this doesn't worry me.

    I learnt that when kids come onto the scene, you're outlook will change. I will do almost anything to look after our little one - and I'm sure you will too.
    Giving up is easy...... just keep on trying!
  • izoomzoom
    izoomzoom Posts: 1,564
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Reported !
  • *Louise*
    *Louise* Posts: 9,197 Forumite

    I don't think anyone can ever guess how much it will cost to have a child. There are so many variables, how you choose to feed the baby, disposable/cloth nappies, if you choose the most expensive equipment...etc etc

    I found that my budget adapts aroud the children. We have 3 , I am at home with them and we manage adequately on DP's salary. No holidays abroad, mind you - but plenty time for that in the future once we start kicking them out haha. (Good thing about having kids when young - I will only be in my late 30's when I can go on hols without them):j

    You plan to save first - that will give you a good start for buying the bigger items. ;)
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