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That's got your attention!
It is difficult to save money AND bring up children. Latest research shows that parents spend ON AVERAGE £20,000 in the first five years. At Money Surgery we warn people in debt that babies are expensive and should be planned carefully. We cannot advocate starting a family when the household into which they are born is blighted by debt. By all means start your family...after those debts are cleared.
For those of us who are unlucky or slightly careless, we may have parenthood thrust upon us. (We understand that reproduction is a basic human function, of course, and that parenthood can be wonderfully rewarding and aspirational but many people take chances and don't plan for it). Suddenly responsibility rears its ugly head and theres another mouth to feed. Does this sound like a nightmare on Elm Street? To many of the surgeons, and a few of the midwifes, here at MoneySurgery, we promote family planning and advocate taking all the well-known precautions before "mating". This is a family web site, so we'll take it for granted that you know them all. But have you considered the Damian Theory?
Invented in 1999 at a time when the world feared the ultimate end-of-the-Millennium apocalypse, the Damian Theory has been used successfully by many patients who get the urge (to practise "mating") but aren't ready, for one reason or another. This is how it works: Transform that potentially beautiful, gurgly, cuddly baby in your imagination into the red-eyed child of the Devil. Remember the film "The Omen". That demon seed will come and suck your finances dry like a leach, as he or she grows up. A moment of carelessness could create that Damian and turn lives upside down: Use every available means to avoid childbirth until you are ready. Wear two condoms at the same time. Take hot baths...alone. Stay in separate rooms, separate countries. For single people, avoid Friday nights at the local "parachute" club, or simply dress as a lunatic or in a manner that appeals to certain members of the same sex only, at least until those debts are gone.
Look at that evil little monster. The child of the devil is looking for his next victim with his demonic eyes. This child parasite can't even speak but his evil intentions speak louder than words. He can't bite, he hasn't grown teeth yet, but he'll suck your money away. He's 14 pounds in weight but he's a heavyweight who will hit you where it hurts...in the wallet.
...If you have any doubts as to his vileness, check out his nappy.
Skool's Out 4 Summer
(19:40 Thursday 7th July 2005 news story)
Thousands of children start their summer holidays tomorrow and that could mean more expenses for parents. While they give their teachers a break, it's their parent's credit cards and overdrafts that feel the strain. The cost of childcare alone, at up to £50 per day, could top £1,200 over the six weeks, say Abbey.
Nearly 2/5ths will rely wholly on relatives to care for their children to allow the parents to carry on working during the break, while a quarter will cut down their hours to care for the kids and a sizable 10 percent will stop work completely. Alternatively, they can pay someone to care for the child while they work. This childcare costs an average of £50 per week per child, however some parents fork out as much as £100 per week per child. For three kids that's nearly £2,000, including the arrangement/transport costs.
Permanently gagging children who moan over the summer hols is now illegal in Britain, meaning that the only way to stop screams, tantrums and moans of "I'm bored" is to keep them entertained, and this costs on average £35 per week per child, with 20% spending between £50 and £100 and another 6% even more than that. Those with three kids that spend £100 per week per child spend a total of £1,800, in addition to the childcare costs. Some parents are pushing £4,000 to look after three (out-of)schoolchildren for a month and a half. 24 percent take the plunge and pay-out for a holiday abroad for the family and, typically, 1 - 5 day trips are arranged during the summer break, with family/friends, seaside/countryside, local park, and home-based activities all favourites.
Abbey comments that families don't tend to plan for the financial impact of the summer school holidays with only 30 percent falling back on savings for the extra expense. 27 percent resort to credit cards, while 14 percent rely on family handouts.
Planning is essential and Abbey's tips include alternating days when a parent is at home (not so good good for single parent households); taking trips to places that don't have high entry charges, like museums and galleries; and allowing time to prepare packed lunches, with a vital bonus that mums 'n' dads can ensure that the food is low on sugar and high in energy to reduce tantrum potential, which affects parents' hearing first and wallets second.
A simple regular savings account might be enough to take the burden out of most parents' ironically named summer break.
Summer school breaks...
Babies Cost Fifty Grand For First Five Years
(11:00 Sunday 6th March 2005 news story)
A study by Pregnancy and Birth magazine, a favourite in our reception waiting area, has put the cost of bringing up a baby until they were five years old at £52,605. This includes the cost of basic baby expenses plus £30K on childcare.
The purpose of the report was not to scare would-be parents but to allow these people to break-down the costs of parenting, to budget for expenses and to make savings.
The costs start with the £15 pregnancy testing kit, the £50 on pregnancy books, the £12 a week on healthier food, but the real costs come nearer to the birth. Budget for maternity clothes at £200 - 1,000, antenatal classes at £70 - 125, etc. Don't forget your cot, bedding, baby clothes, pushchair...the list could cover several pieces of paper.
After the day of the birth, the costs are spread out: £375 a year for disposable nappies, £1,000 for baby food for the first year, £140 a year for baby toiletries. You might find that fuel bills increase with a parent at home: cooking, washing clothes and using lighting and heating. Life insurance premiums will also increase by about a tenner a year. Many decide to get a bigger car, or bigger house.
Bearing in mind that he has now come out as being gay, wasn't it ironic that George Michael sang so passionately against matrimony in Wham!'s 1982 hit "Young Guns (Go For It!)", rapping, yes rapping, "If you're happy with a nappy, then you're in for fun..."?
If he knew how expensive parenthood was, he would've sang, "if you're happy with a nappy, and a credit card, then you're in for fun", but it wouldn't have scanned as well. We have no particular comment to add to the article in Pregnancy and Birth magazine, other than to underline their message that it is wise to plan ahead, well before the pregnancy testing kit purchase.
50K can buy lots of nice things, even a decent house in some parts of our country, and is still an awful lot of money. Some people would rather blow it all on a cruise, that never starts, from Southampton around the world, hoping to sunbathe the whole trip on the deck and read The Da Vinci Code, or listen to old Wham! tracks on their iPod.
£20,000 is the Price of Childbirth.
(2001 news story)
New research shows that having a baby will cost even the most budget conscious parents a massive £20,315 in the first five years alone. Despite tax breaks from Chancellor Gordon Brown, there is no financial incentive to having children and for those in debt having a baby could be financially disastrous. Combined with running a car, "running" a baby could easily top £8,000 per year. See The Car for more info. Shelling out on childminders can cost working parents £7,000 per year.
Pregnancy and Birth Magazine did the research and it calculated costs ranging from the £9 testing kit to £200 a year on toys. Those who preferred to give their child the best of everything can blow £36,000 in the same 5 year period on things like a private hospital birth and organic food.
At Money Surgery we warn people in debt that babies are expensive and should be planned carefully. We cannot advocate starting a family when the household into which they are born is blighted by debt so we intend bringing you a page devoted to the costs of parenting. The whole subject is linked to family planning and social issues which we promise to discuss or provide you with a web page that is devoted to debt and childbirth. Watch the Saving Money section and Contacts page in a few days.
Copyright 2000 - 2007 ©Kevin Anthony Jones. All rights reserved.