The Cost of Raising a Child

The Cost of Raising a Child

September 8, 2022

The sky is blue. The grass is green. And raising a child costs a lot of money. 


And that’s okay. 

Raising a child has lots of challenges.

We’ll help you get to grips with what costs to expect. And, best of all, ways to plan ahead for your little one’s future. 

Let’s take a look at the costs at each stage of your little one’s pre-adult life. 

Newborn, New Costs: Ages 0-3


The average price of a cot is about £150-to-£300. 

There are cots available for £1000 or more. The ones that cost extra do pretty much the same thing, they’re better quality but not a must. 


A pram for your little one can cost anywhere from £100-to-£400. Higher-end ones will cost over £1000. 

Car Seats

A car seat can cost between £40-to-£200 on average. 

A higher-end car seat can cost £600. 


A good nappie costs about 25p each. Your baby can go through 10 nappies (or more) in a day. 

In a month the total nappie cost would be about £70.

Baby Monitors

Baby monitors can cost as little as £20 if you’re looking to listen in on your little one sleeping. 

The prices go up if you’re looking for more features and add-ons.

A baby monitor set up with a good camera and sound will cost about £60. For better quality, the prices go up to £200 and higher


Your little one is going to love playing. This means toys. Lots of toys.

New parents spend £159 on average on new toys in the first year. In the second year, the toys need to be a little more complex to support your little one’s mental development. This means the toys are a little more expensive.

The cost of toys in the second year is around £208. This means the total average spent on toys is £367 in the first two years.

This amounts to £15 and some change a week on toys for your child. Yay.


The thought of leaving our little ones in the care of someone else can bring a  sentimental tear to our eyes.  

It’s a big stepping-stone for your little bundle of joy to be without you for a while each day. 

There are two costs depending on how long you need your little one minded: 

  • £137.69 a week part-time (25 hours). 
  • £263.81 a week full-time (50 hours). 

This means a month of full-time childcare can cost £1,055.

One way to avoid this cost is to leave your little one in the care of a relative or someone else you trust. 

The thing is, most people are living busy lives.

The average age for claiming a retirement pension has gone up to 67. There are fewer elderly eager to spare the time to mind children.

Some parents aren't comfortable leaving their little one in the care of a friend or relative. They don't want to feel like they are lumping responsibility onto someone else.

With a childminder, your child is being given the time and attention they need to thrive.  

Psst…guess what? The government can help you save 20% on your childcare bills - Here’s a helpful link.

Growing Fast: Ages 4-12

Clothing Costs 

Your little one seems determined to grow out of their clothes. Particularly their must-have schoolwear items.

For public schools, the cost of school uniform per year is £101.19. 

For private schools, the cost is around £225 per year. For private schools, you can expect to fork out another £100 for your little one’s PE kit too.

You can expect to be paying at least several £100’s for your little one’s clothes everyday clothes per year.  

A nice pair of children’s shoes can cost anywhere from £14 to £50 and higher. 

The younger your little one is, the quicker they grow out of their shoes. 

Which, you know, wouldn’t be so bad if their feet weren’t growing all the time. Girls’ feet stop growing at 14, whilst boys’ feet stop growing at 16.

Sharing and hand-me-downs slow down as your little one gets older. By the time they’re in school they’ll want their own clothes to feel confident in. 

This can mean buying new clothes is hard to avoid. 

Video Games and Mobile Phones 

No child wants to be the odd one out among their friends who are all playing the latest video game. And, oh boy, these game consoles don’t come cheap!

Every six-to-seven years you could be paying anywhere from £299-£450 (or more) on a games console for your little one.

The cost of each video game that doesn’t come with the console has an average cost of £50 to £70. You can expect to pay for a handful of these with each new console release.

And what if your child wants more than one games console? Each console has games playable only on that console. Oof. 

Nowadays children not only want the latest console but smartphones too.

A brand new smartphone can cost at least £300, but the cost can skyrocket to £1000 or more. Whilst the apps on smartphones might be free to play they often have hidden costs.

Coming into their Own: Ages 12-18

One of the joys of raising our little ones is watching them learn and grow. 

Here is a quick rundown of the cost of several activities your little one might want to try. 

Swimming Lessons: 

One-on-One classes cost anywhere from £17 to £55

Group classes cost from £6.50 to £25

Football lessons:

Casual Local Team Lessons £1.50 to £5 a week  

Qualified Coaching Academy from £60 a week 

Performance Arts Classes: 

Three months of classes for a 15-year-old or older costs around £350

Private School Fees

Now for a big one. You might be thinking about your little one attending an independent school. 

The average cost of your little one attending an independent school would be around 110k. This is for secondary and sixth form.

There is a lot that goes into this topic. Luckily, we have lots of useful information you can find here

The Big Send Off: Ages 18-21 

University Fees and Living Costs 

You’ve done so much to get your little one to this point. Primary school, secondary school, sixth form. You’ve been there for them every step of the way. Give yourself a pat on the back!

So. University. Seems very far away, right? It'll feel like your little one is going off to university sooner than you think.

The thing is, costs for university have been going up a lot over the years. Here is the cost of university for a year’s tuition over the last 24 years:

In 1998 - £1,000.

In 2006 - £3,000.

In 2012 - £9,000.

In 2022 - £9,250.

That is a whopping 825% increase in fees.  But this doesn't include the cost of accommodation and similar expenses.  

As steep as the prices may be the government has a Maintenance Loan to help with living costs. 

A student studying and living in London, away from their parents, can take out a Maintenance loan of up to £12,667.

If they were to live and study outside of London, they could take a loan of up to £9,706. 

How much university costs will rise over the next 18 years is unknown. But there is something you can do to prepare. 

A lot of the costs mentioned so far might have you feeling a little overwhelmed. But there is a way to stay in the driver's seat so you have much more room to help your child's future.

So what’s the secret? Right now you can invest in a Junior ISA, which means squirrelling away a little bit of money each month for later. 

A Junior ISA allows you to save for your little one’s future without paying any tax – yippee! – the money belongs to your child and will be theirs when they turn 18. 

Here’s some great info about Junior ISAs.

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21 and Beyond 

Your little one has flown the coop. Well, maybe only for a little while.  At the moment a quarter of 20-34-year-olds live with their parents. 

So one day they might have flown the coop, then flown right back.

Your child could return home for a few months, or a few years. Why might that be? 

  • The job market your child has a degree in could be difficult to break into.
  • Job hunts can last months and upwards of a year. 
  • The gap between rent prices and real wages will continue to increase. 
  • The workforce is retiring later, keeping upper positions filled for longer. 


How will your child support themselves during this time? They could get a low-paying job, but might not have enough to move out on their own. 

You’d need to consider the extra financial burden that comes with another adult living in your household. 

This brings us to…

Combined Household Costs Whilst Your Little One Grows Up 

So far we’ve looked into the expected costs for your child. But this is only half the picture. Don’t forget, as a parent you’re as important a part of the family as your little one is.

One thing to consider for your little one’s future is where you’ll be living together. 


A great way to manage your finances is to charge your little one rent (just kidding!).  

Jokes aside, it’s no secret the cost of living is going up by staggering amounts year on year. 

Inflation and the pandemic and more upheavals have led to a big increase in rent prices - in and outside of London. There is a high rent demand which is driving up prices. 

It is tricky giving a ballpark figure of rent prices. This is because, by the time you read this, the information we’ve given may be out of date.

As a rough figure, to rent somewhere in London could cost you about £1,832 per month (this is for new tenancies). 

Again, as a rough figure, if you were to rent outside of London, the average price of rent would be around £750 per month. 

From the 1st of April to the 30th of June 2022, the average advertised rent outside London hit a record of £1,126 per month. 

Will the prices go down once the pandemic and similar upheavals are more behind us in the next few years? There is no way to be certain.  


With rent prices as they are it is a bit like throwing hard-earned money into a blender. 

Mortgages are the other option. 

For brits, the average monthly cost of mortgage repayments is £753. But there are many things which go into working out the average mortgage cost. It is tricky to give a true average for monthly payments. 

As a rule of thumb, banks will let you borrow up to 4.5 times your total annual income. So if you have an income of £30,000, you’ll likely be able to borrow up to £135,000. If you’re buying with a partner with the same income, this will double your borrowing power to £270,000. 

Here’s a handy mortgage Repayment calculator to find what is possible on your income and budget. 


Food! You and your family need to eat. 

The average spend on food per person is around £189 per month. That’s including all groceries and eating out. 

So, for a family of three, the food bill could be around £567 per month. 


Keeping the lights on and the house warm. 

At least it’ll be a while before your little one can reach the light switch or the thermostat.

For a good average for gas and electricity costs, let’s look at the price of a medium-sized house. One that can fit 3 people. 

The average monthly utility bill would be around £95, with an annual cost of £1,151

Running a Car 

Your little one is going to need driving to their football matches.  And performances. And hanging out with their friends.

The average cost of fuel for a car (petrol or diesel) is around £950 yearly. That’s under £80 a month. 

Let’s not forget Motor Insurance, which will set you back £500 per year. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to vehicles. 

Unexpected Bills 

In the hectic day-to-day, we’d like everything to go smoothly. Or, at least, for nothing unexpected to happen. 

We can’t avoid them, but we can plan for them. Here are some costs to consider that might strike out of the blue. 

  • The average car repair bill can be anywhere from £406 to £833
  • The basic cost of a funeral is £4,056. Ideally, this cost would be covered in a loved one’s will, but this isn’t always the case. 
  • The cost of a plumber is £30, but in an emergency can cost up to £110

Hopefully, the costs shown have given you a better idea of what costs to expect, and ways to prepare for your little one’s future. 


I’ve heard it can cost £160,000 to raise a child from the age of 0-to-18. Is this accurate? 

The £160,000 figure was published in 2021. The figure is meant as an average for families in the UK, so should be treated as a rough estimate.

These sorts of figures are often attention-grabbing but a little bit misleading. £160,000, when shown how much it would cost on a weekly basis, is £185, which is a much less startling figure to look at. 

How has the Pandemic affected the Cost of Raising a Child? 

Because of reduced travel expenses holidays have become a lot more expensive. As has pretty much everything. It is unclear how the cost of living will change the further away we are from the pandemic.


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