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How expensive are 4 kids?

(45 Posts)
Calixtine Mon 18-Mar-19 20:30:13

Debating a fourth with DH!

If you have four, how old are they and...

How much do you spend on food per week?

How much on activities and school trips?

What size house/car do you have?

What’s the biggest added expense of having four vs. two or three?


HennyPennyHorror Mon 18-Mar-19 20:47:29

I am assuming yours are still small? I don't have four I have two but the real expense doesn't start until they hit their teens and need phones, more outings, driving lessons, social events, expensive school trips, buss passes, makeup and toiletries.

It's REALLY expensive. They eat like adults too.

Calixtine Mon 18-Mar-19 21:21:36

Ours are still small yes. We have 3 under 5 at the moment and at this age there aren’t really any added expenses of adding another, so I think we’re in danger of being naive about it. That said, I’m a SAHM at the moment and don’t plan to be once the children are all at school, so there will be more money coming in.

The teenage years do worry me; are yours teens @HennyPennyHorror? I’m not sure I’d be buying phones and makeup for them but I definitely take your point. I paid for my own clothes, phone, social events, driving lessons from weekend job earnings but not sure how feasible that is for young people these days? Everything seems to have got a lot more expensive and free time less.

HennyPennyHorror Tue 19-Mar-19 06:59:57

Jobs are a lot harder to come by op. Teenagers are bottom of the pile

Calixtine Tue 19-Mar-19 07:28:23

Henny I have younger brothers and they’ve found that too sad Plus minimum wage for teenagers is pitiful.

Calixtine Tue 19-Mar-19 07:30:14

Anyone else have any insights? I’m especially curious as to what your weekly grocery bill looked like at various ages.

SushiGo Tue 19-Mar-19 07:31:59

I agree it's not the costs when they are small but when they are older.

Are you likely to get a term time only job?

I've got 3 and am back at work now all dc are at school. Holiday childcare eats all my wages (or more, depending on where they go) plus term time we have to pay for afterschool care.

Don't bet on your income going up hugely especially if you've been out of work for a while.

TheFirstOHN Tue 19-Mar-19 07:33:00

The difference between three and four starts out not that much more expensive (when they are small) but by the time they reach their teens the extra expense is more noticeable.

(We worked out that we could afford a third and it ended up being twins).

Part-time jobs are difficult to find before the age of 16.

fatbottomgirl67 Tue 19-Mar-19 07:37:25

Grocery bill for a family of 5 with 3 teenagers is the least of the expenses . We have 2 still at senior school/ college and just the train/bus fairs is over £50 a week. 3 x phones, clothes/ shoes etc really add up. Food can be ok if you batch cook/ cook from scratch. It's the other bits that we never even considered when we had kids that are the biggest expenses

Nameusernameuser Tue 19-Mar-19 07:40:03

Not me but my mum, she says after 3 it's the same cost really. £200 a week on food for 2 adult parents and 4 teenagers. She batch cooked and if you didn't like what was made there was no alternative. Unlimited use of the fruit bowl/snack cupboard etc but anything else we had to ask.
We all did swimming etc when young but as teenagers the cost wasn't after school activities it was that we constantly needed dropping or collecting from places, she spent most of her day in the car doing different errands and taking us places.
Bedroom wise it was a 4 bed house, brother had his own room, mum's room, 2 youngest girls shared and oldest girl had her own room.
The youngest still lives at home and us older siblings have moved out but she went on to have 2 more babies anyway.
I'm only 21 and moved out last year, super close with my mum and we all do well now but I would say she had absolutely NO time for herself. At all. Her and my dad split up when I was 10 but as younger ones she did everything as my dad worked away a lot. I'd say unless you can afford to be a SAHM you'll struggle. But not sure how different it'll be with 4 rather than 3. Probably the same. Always had a house full.

StrawberryPig Tue 19-Mar-19 07:40:21

Expensive, but worth it. Once they are over the age of 12 the extra costs start kicking in as going anywhere means paying for six adults. No more hand me downs so adult clothing x4, driving lessons, car insurance, help with uni, etc.

I wouldn't change a thing though.

Curiousmum69 Tue 19-Mar-19 07:42:48

4 children 10-18 years old.

Food bill is about £150 a week. But we buy a lot of convenience food..I think if I was home and had more time to cook it would be maybe half that.

Both the older 2 have jobs so are pretty independent financially now.

I guess the expense is things can't have a small one. House need more bedrooms. Holidays..very few companies do family rooms for 6 So have to get 2 rooms.

It can be as cheap or as expensive as you like really.

School uniform shopping was always eye watering expensive. 4 full sets of uniform and pe kits etc could be £600 even when done cheaply

chocolatelog Tue 19-Mar-19 07:42:57

We have 5 children.

Our shopping is about £100 a week shopping at Aldi.

We have a Vauxhall zafira

Their ages are 2,4,14,16,17

We have a 4 bed house at the minute but are looking at getting a 5 this year.

I wouldn't say 4 is anymore expensive than 3 (we did have to buy everything from scratch with dc4 though because of the 10 year age gap from dc3)

Number 5 was easier because I had lots of stuff from dc4

Teenagers are more expensive. But my 16&17 both have jobs so pay for a lot of their own stuff.

Curiousmum69 Tue 19-Mar-19 07:45:47

Oh and the mobile phone bills!!

Which of course is entirely optional. But feels an essential part of the modern world once they are teens

Phillipa12 Tue 19-Mar-19 07:50:14

I have 3 and am a single mum, i work part time around school hours. I am spread very thinly with working, school runs (currently in 3 different settings), after school clubs etc. Cost wise i have started purchasing septembers uniform already as i cant afford it all in one go, shoes and daps for school alone is going to cost in the region of £150, and dont get me started on birthdays and xmas! I love my dc, they don't go without as i budget very carefully and spread the cost throughout the year. My biggest expense as it were is time, i just dont have enough time, this is the only negative i see but i was also 1 of 4dc and i had an amazing childhood and am still very close to my family.

Itwouldtakemuchmorethanthis Tue 19-Mar-19 07:50:53

About £200 a week as teen and about £120 as primary. MUCH more if you don’t be careful. There are massive other costs though. For example bikes, phones, holidays, coats and shoes, school trips, music lessons....

Starface Tue 19-Mar-19 07:52:58

I would second the point about childcare eating your wages when you go back to work. Still worth it for the pension probably, and career establishment, especially if there will be wage growth later. If you don't have early childcare costs, your next most expensive time will be uni/establishment. The teenagehood, then middle childhood. So look to that time to judge affordability

SimplyPut Tue 19-Mar-19 07:54:37

I have two teens, one under 10 and Ds's friend who seems to eat here about three nights a week (he is 17).... so it feels like four!

Our weekly grocery bills roughly are;
Packed lunches for us all £35
Butcher £35
Fruit and veg man £30
Aldi £45
Milk £7.50
= £152.50 ish

ems137 Tue 19-Mar-19 08:02:16

I've got 4 kids. They are 12, 11, 3.5 and 1.5.

My age gap between the 2 older and 2 younger ones quite often works in my favour with regards to expense. It means that the older 2 are wanting expensive presents and more expensive clothing but the youngest won't care about that for years. My older 2 will also need full high school uniforms this September as well as weekly bus fare. The younger ones are either in cheaper, supermarket uniform or not at school yet.

I would be very very worried if I had 4 children closer together in age. Next year I am going to uni so in 3-4 years time out family pot of money will be a lot bigger. Just in time for expensive years.

Calixtine Tue 19-Mar-19 19:48:37

Lots to think about, thank you all for sharing!

I think, realistically, we probably can’t really afford it sad especially as it would mean an extra few years before I could get into work and four kids very close in age so bunching the big expenses. We could definitely manage now but thinking 10 years ahead I can see we’d be really, really stretched.

It’s really tricky to know re. childcare costs because I have no idea what job or hours I’ll be able to get. We do have lots of family support locally but of course a lot can change in 10-20 years!

Such a tricky decision. My head says one thing my heart says another...

PhannyMcNee Tue 19-Mar-19 20:10:25

Dc1 is 17 and applying for uni. The big expenses (after food) for them since Sept have been college bus pass £500, driving lessons £50 per week and uni visits approx £200 per trip (we live in Cornwall so huge travel/accommodation costs).

We pay approx £80 per month for all 4dc to do Scouts/Guides. Swimming lessons (thankfully just dc4 now) are £25 per month. Climbing for dc1-3 is £25 per week. Phones for all 4 come in at £28 per month, pocket money (again all 4dc is £100 per month), dinner money is about £50 per week. Childcare is only now for dc4 and feels very reasonable at £50 per week!

Additional ‘hidden’ costs are in days out - family tickets are generally 2A 2C, occasionally 2A3C so we end up paying for an extra. Then they get partners so we become a group of 7 or 8! Going away we cannot all fit in one hotel room so ‘cheap’ hotels aren’t.

This is the first time I’ve written it all down - no wonder I feel bloody skint all the time 😂

We bought a 5 bed house as we were in a position to be able to at the time but we couldn’tt afford it now. They’re a bit like hens teeth round here too as most get snapped up as HMOs for students.

Grocery bills are around 100-150 per week but 2 of the dc don’t eat very much at the moment. We don’t eat much meat.

We have a Renault Espace but ate hoping to upsize to a Torneo minibus as dc2 can’t fit in the back row anymore and we don’t have space for luggage when we go off camping etc. (We do quite a lot due to the Scout/Guide involvement!).

I wouldn’t change it though grin

Urgh2019 Tue 19-Mar-19 20:16:50

I don’t have 4 (although I am from a much larger family myself).
I’ve seen a few friends who would talk about how little different more children made when they were small. However, now they are teenagers they are struggling.
One of the main issues they have is time. One friend has 5 and they are all involved in activities. Apart from the expense the actual organising of getting them from place to place seems a nightmare.
The eldest one is going to uni soon and says she won’t be able to give them a single penny in help.

Jubba Tue 19-Mar-19 20:29:55

Friend of mine has 11 children. Pregnant with the 12th. She lives in a 3 bedroom house. (3 older children dont live at home) she says once you get past 3. She feels the Costs don’t get that bad. She shops each day for food. Goes through something like 30 pints of milk a week. The father is registered disabled. But has his own business. They don’t get any benefits. She has two very small businesses. She is super mum. I remember seeing her out food shopping with a triple buggy and the baby in a sling! They’ve been on tv programmes before. She loves it obviously. And will carry on in sure.

HelenaJustina Tue 19-Mar-19 20:35:27

Very! weeps into her bargain basement gin

TheCanyon Tue 19-Mar-19 21:33:24

My four are 10, 8, and 4 year old twins. I like to kid myself on they don't cost that much, so will try think logically.

Dd1 & 2 brownies £35 a term. So £105 each a year I think.
Have spent about £150 on school trips/days/buy a bag of rice pish etc so far this year for them.

Twins £20 a month swimming each, will start school this august so no doubt another £100+ a year on gymnastics etc
Nursery snack fees approx £50 a year each.

All dc get treats, be that the ice cream van or sweets from the shop, so another tenner.

Food shop, not overly sure as we top up a couple times a week and I top up my choc cupboard roughly 120 a week at the most.

3 bed house, girls share and twins share atm, fuck knows what w e will do, need a bigger house. Neither of us drive.

Biggest expense if going from two to four... wine? I'm not sure atm actually, I don't think they do cost much really. Remind me in three years time when both dd's are in high school.

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