money money money

Last week I was privy to a conversation between my husband and a friend of ours. Well, it was on the phone, so I was privy to my husband’s side of the conversation.
“Well, you have your one time big expenses. Buggy. Crib. Car seat. Then there’s the regulars — formula, diapers, wipes. Oh God the diapers. They pooh round the clock. The first six months are the worst. Actually no. The first year is the worst. Hmmm. And don’t forget they just grow like weeds. You’ll be buying them clothes all the time. And then there are the classes. Gymboree. Swimming. Baby wrestling. I made the last one up, but I think it’d be a good one. I would say the average cost would be £500 a month. That’s without any day care/nursery costs. Great. See you.”
As you have by now guessed, our friends are expecting their first bundle of joy. Either that, or they like to have long, scary conversations about the cost of diapers.
I yelled at my husband after he hung up. “Why would you scare him like that? Why not let him find out the hard way, like we did, that children are a big black hole when it comes to sucking up your money.”
And I am not wrong. I have reports to back my wild claims. The apples of our eye cost the average UK family £200,000 (that’s till they hit 21, then they’re on their own). A recently published report revealed that parents shell out £9,610 a year to feed, clothe and educate each new member of their family. The total of £200,000 does not include private school fees but a state education can set families back thousands of pounds in uniforms, sports equipment and extra costs such as school trips.
Between the ages of one and four a child costs around £13,014 per year. New parents also face a £9,152 bill during the first twelve months of their new baby’s life, taking into account expenditure on equipment such as buggies, cots and prams etc.
I know as a parent I shouldn’t begrudge the money I spend on my son, but thirteen grand a year? That’s a new Mulberry bag every for every month. It kind of makes me think “So I lost my sanity, body and bank balance to have you? Why?” It does not help when this thought pops in to your head in the middle of a meltdown that involves a toothbrush, soup and the toilet. Do not ask. Have kids always been this expensive? Or are these figures reflective of a generation that wants their offspring to have not just what they need, but much, much more than that. Whether they can afford it or not. How often have you heard (or said) “I want my child to have the best”. How much of these childcare costs are actually about keeping up with the Joneses? Do shiny new plastic toys, branded clothes and designer buggies pave the way to a happy childhood?
Perhaps the report that should have been written was ‘how little one can raise a child on.’
I for one would be happy to read it. Now excuse me, it’s time to take my son to swimming class in his overpriced buggy.

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4 thoughts on “money money money

  1. I lurk around your blog a lot and can associate a lot with your writings. Just thought I will drop in and say a hi. And as a month of an almost 6 month old I would say that somehow you want your kid to have the best and if that means giving up that 500$ Fleurville diaper bag I have been lusting after.. oh well it needs to be done right?

  2. This is like that credit card ad. That smile or hug that is priceless 🙂 [Devil’s advocate really]
    A lot of it is about the Joneses, thereby teaching your kids about the Joneses too, and continuing that vicious cycle.
    Teach the kids the value of recycling/saving the environment and so on – rely on extended family and close friends for hand-me-downs.
    And it still ends up being expensive – financially, emotionally and physically. The good thing is I am close to the half way point. Another 10-12 years, and I will be back to my carefree ways, aching joints and all. Hope keeps me going.

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