This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to know more about how they work.
Tell us when you’ve forked out for your DCs - £100 voucher to be won NOW CLOSED(297 Posts)
As you well know, having children isn’t exactly cheap… Just when you thought there wasn’t anything else your DC could possibly need, something else crops up and rinses your account.
Since your DC entered the world, at what points have you found yourself shelling out for things? Maybe when your DC got older, you had to splash out on a new buggy, or your second DC arrived and you found yourself looking for a new home?
What have been the major purchasing decisions in your child’s life so far? Have you had to cut back in some places in order to afford what your child needs? And how have your buying habits changed over time? Maybe you used to spend money on holidays and now you spend more on childcare? Finally, what have been the products you’ve spent the most money on as a result of having children?
Here are a few topics to think about:
•Home & Garden
All MNers who post on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 Love2Shop voucher.
Thanks, and good luck!
Standard Insight T&Cs apply
Where do you start really?
I suppose when you have children the vast majority of your income is involved somewhere or other and it's hard to pinpoint the most expensive time as they keep getting more expensive as you reach each stage.
I suppose if I look at what I'd spend if I didn't have children. I'd certainly be in a smaller house, probably would still be living in our old house, with one car, may even be doing a different job as I'd have less drive for income, so would we be financially better off? I don't know.
I certainly think I'd be less rich in a lot of ways, holidays may not have been as exotic but probably have been more fun. I suppose I look at life and money for sharing so things such as school trips abroad, bikes, technology etc. have been a pleasure to be able to give.
We currently have 16 and 15 years olds and view it as an expensive time coming up with regards to learning to drive and going to uni and we'd like to give them opportunities that myself and DH never had.
Yes, it's been costly but it's the best spend I'd ever have imagined making, all of it, every penny, don't grudge any of it.
We found ds kept growing out of shoes before even getting much wear out of them .
Mine have cost more the older they got/get.
School trips, hobbies and the pressure of wanting them to have it all plays a massive part. They're going to be starting music lessons after Christmas, one on the guitar one on the drums, and I spend all this money because I really want them to do well at life. They already do taekwondo 3x a week so this will be on top of that.
I spend quite a lot taking them to new places as well. I suppose because I'm a single/lone parent I feel even more pressure to raise successful clever children and that costs more money then a buggy and a pair of nice baby shoes. Dreading the teen years but I am going back to college so should have a better paid job in a few years, just as they hit their teens (gulp).
My dd only has one year of primary left then secondary with the cost of logo uniforms and shoes that she will be in an adult size for is really going to be a struggle for me.
There is always something one of them needs and it's usually when you were about to treat yourself so you can't anymore. I'm just hoping my sacrifices pay off. I hope they get through the teen years with interests and hobbies to keep them occupied and out of trouble, get good results and go to uni. After that it's on them but I can look back knowing I've giving them every opportunity I could
not quite afford.
Major changes for us have been car related - needed a car which fitted two baby seats & then 3 (had 3rd child when oldest was 3), push chairs & then buggy boards, nursery school, help around the house (was on bed rest for a while with 2nd pregnancy & no family to help), more rooms on holiday, paying for dental braces, trips & coaching for sport (England Development Squad), activities after school (music, dance, gymnastics, swimming, cricket, tennis, drama). Learning to drive & car insurance for oldest, holidays with friends (their friends coming with us & them going with friends), trips to see films I'd never want to see without them. Meals in restaurants I'd never normally visit.
Pets like tropical fish & hamsters. House in zone 2 not a flat in zone 1. Holidays where they want to go, not necessarily where I'd go. So many compromises & when they are squabbling & being grumpy with me I wonder why!
I can see as the children grow everything is going to become costlier - food, travel and clothes particularly. I haven't found preschoolers particularly expensive so far but now DS2 is nearly 6 and we have Beavers and athletics club on the horizon everything is starting to look a bit costly. Also, now I have to pay train fares for him which is stopping me considering a trip to London for the day.
Nothing bigger than that so far.
Shoes. Bane of my life! DS is going to be tall, and at just turned 10 he is now wearing a 6 1/2 shoe. And of course they can't just have school shoes - there's casual shoes, wellies, football boots, cycling shoes (fortunatly I can buy those on ebay and sell on), running shoes.... Even buying discounted trainers it mounts up so fast, and I particularly resent football boots which he has to have for school, probably wears less than 20 times, then they are outgrown before the next season.
I would be amazed if anyone has not had vast expensive costs related to children, starting with all the nursery equipment and moving onwards from thereon in.
We moved house months after DC1 was born and, although we have stayed in the same house, we have forked out on two extensions - one to give us more daily living space and the other to provide an extra bedroom when we went from 3 to 4 DC.
Car-wise, we changed the car we had when DC1 was born as it was not big enough for the buggy/pushchair and our dog. We then needed to change cars when changing from 2 - 3 DC. Most cars are not wide enough to accommodate three car seats in the back - DC1 was just 4 when DC3 was born. Having moved to a people carrier then, it at least meant we didn't need to change cars when DC4 was born, 7 years later!
Holidays are so expensive - I have a sister in Canada whom I used to visit every other year. All four children have been twice (DC4 was 9 weeks old when my dad was taken ill whilst visiting my sister - I couldn't leave her behind as I was breastfeeding and so she came with me, whilst Dad looked after the others at home). However, these are the only times DC have flown - the only package holiday we have had since having children was a week in Tunisia when I was pregnant with DC2. Holidays nowadays are either camping or a mobile home and often on sites where there are activities for the children. I don't mind this at all - the whole family have some lovely holiday memories and there will be plenty of time to travel abroad again once the children have flown the nest.
I think the costs that have surprised me the most are related to schooling. All four DC attended the same local primary school and the three eldest all attended a church school close by. Primary school uniform is fairly affordable, especially with most of the supermarkets offering cheap, hardwearing uniform. However, it is the constant demand for money for various events that really adds up - one week a mufti-day, the next week donations for the school fair etc etc.
However, primary school is nothing compared to secondary school. For starters, to equip DC with new secondary school uniform, including PE kit cost about £300 minimum. This was without school shoes etc. The greatest shock though came when DC1 started Year 9. The secondary school had Activities Week during the last week of the summer term - this usually involved paying for a couple of day trips during the week, along with different activities at school. However, in early October when DC1 was in Year 9, she brought home a letter describing the options for Activities Week that year. Essentially there were 5 options (although a 6th option was for the child to stay in school) and all involved going away from the Monday-Friday. A couple of options were UK based, one was a PGL type break in France, another a history based trip to Belgium and France and the fifth trip was a trip to Spain. Four of the trips were priced between £280 - £350 but the trip to Spain was in excess of £500. Not only were these trips the cost of a caravan holiday for our whole family, but it was done on a first-come, first-served basis. That was fine, except you had to send a minimum of a £50 deposit with the reply and then there were 2 other instalments, with everything due by early February. As a family who has a very tight budget, trying to find the £50 so that our child could go on a trip of her choice was very difficult - never mind finding the balance by the required date. At least with DC2 and DC3 we were prepared for the letter!
Having children involves huge expense and changes family dynamics. With 4DC we have little money and are not in the best place financially. If I could live my life again, there are some differences I would make, but I would still have my 4DC - no amount of money could compare to the joy they bring me.
Flight prices! it shouldn't be a shock but when DS turned 3 and I was suddenly paying for three adult tickets not two its made a massive difference to going away and we have had to re-think. The only other major surprise cost has been car seats, we have two cars plus grandmas and now they are grown out of we have to buy more
Starting school, especially high school is always expensive. Going back to school is bad but you can sometimes use bits from the year before, starting school you have to buy everything. With high school it doesn't all even end up being used, so the next year you know what not to buy
Bigger car. Car seats. Bigger house. Bloody trampoline, start rite shoes...the list is endless.
The biggest expense for everyone I'm going to assume is childcare. For us not being entitled to tax credits-but definitely not well off!- the choice was £1k a month in childcare or just stay home and not earn the £1k at all. So, our son has cost us 90% of my salary as I just work a couple of shifts a week at weekends. And that's before we start bringing in the cost of days out and new bikes
Most expensive so far has been all the furniture in her bedroom! But she is only 2.5 and hasn't gone to nursery yet and she is tiny and doesn't grow out of shoes or clothes much yet! I know our time will come though...
The biggest purchase: a bigger car! The second time purely because of carseats.
The biggest financial sacrifice: hotel holidays. Oh the joy of not having to cook, dish up, wash up. The joy of going to bed in clean, ready-made bed. Camping, youth hosteling, self-catering...well, at least they're a break from the same old same old. But I rarely feel refreshed after a holiday, as I used to pre-dc.
Healthcare/therapies for DS2 has been the most expensive - he has autism but we had to get him diagnosed privately and also pay for private therapies. Also we had to pay for legal help to get his EHCP plan sorted which allowed him to go to a special school.
And life/critical illness insurance. Didn't even occur to us pre-dd.
We got a lot of baby equipment and clothes from relatives, so we scored there! Where we had to shell out over and above what I had expected:
All-terrain buggies (single for DS1 then double when DS2 joined us).
Bike trailers - fantastic but expensive; walking and bike were out main modes of transport in those days. And then their bikes.
Shoes - they needed 3 pairs of shoes for school from the word "go" (normal leather shoes to get them there, plimsolls for in class and trainers for sports), they kept outgrowing them and DS2 was also really harsh on his shoes. Also decent waterproof boots for winter.
Now they are older (teens):
holidays that meet their exacting standards (eek)
school trips abroad
tech - computers, phones, a drone etc
room decoration, new carpets etc
car and car insurance for DS1 to learn to drive - I drive it too and it's expensive to maintain;
DS1's "hobby" (sorry, potentially outing but suffice to say has cost me around £7K over 3 years ... ooh I feel faint)
Also the opportunity cost of taking a step backwards in my career when they were in primary school - but I would do this again, much happier working locally and losing the grim commute. (I do hate the loss of status but I try not to think about that!)
We have been able to afford it all because their dad and I both work and otherwise live quite frugally. Our mortgage is paid off which helps a lot. We had kids fairly late so had established our careers to an extent, and had a bit of a cushion of money. Wasn't planned that way, it's just I hadn't met the right man until I was well into my 30s. Their dad is a real "saver" although that's less attractive now interest rates are so low.
I agree also re the bigger items but it's the sneaky little items that also add up - the food bill etc.
One for us is glasses, DS1 has very poor eyesight -8 and -8.5. His lenses have to be thinned down as they are simply un-wearable otherwise. Both from a cosmetic point of view but also (especially when he was younger) the sheer weight of them on his little button nose just made them slide. So he may get free NHS glasses but they cost us around £100 a time. Luckily we can afford it especially now he is a teenager and self conscious enough without massive thick glasses.
My DC are also very tall and always have been so went through clothes and shoes at a rate of knots, NDN child could get 3 years from an item!
We've saved a lot, we've spent a lot!
Co-slept so didn't need their own moses basket/cot/bed. Huge savings.
Cloth nappies/wipes, so savings there.
Splurged on the nicest pram though, but I hope to sell it and get maybe half back, so it doesn't feel too extravagant.
Upgraded the car to a five-door. Not really a huge indulgence. I'd like a bigger and better car, but we are being frugal.
Big spend items for our son are various bikes, scooters, rollerskates.
I don't find clothes too expensive really - DS doesn't need much, and DD gets handmedowns from DS and her female cousins.
Also seem to splurge when the funfair is in town. Or on holidays. Though at least we can go out of term time, so some savings there.
So far, I'm actually not too stressed about how much these kids have cost us!
Biggest loss is my salary. Oh well!
Clarks shoes in abundance and glasses!
DD is 3 and has worn glasses since she was 20months old. We obviously have the nhs voucher towards the purchase of child's glasses, but being so small we have to put money towards very expensive, robust 'made for toddler/pre-schoolers' glasses, spares and prescription sunglasses - all worth it though. Her health is super important and the glasses look sooo cute on her x
Baby buggy and nursery furniture was a big expense.
Lucky to have had lots of cast off clothes.
Food bills have gone up a lot, and they're both still under 6!
Biggest financial sacrifice has been holidays abroad...
I have one DD, aged 9. I've never viewed her clothing, shoes, bedroom furniture, school stuff etc as anything out of the ordinary as it's all stuff she NEEDS. Extras, on the other hand.........
We are a very active family, and we cycle miles. A decent bike at every stage of her growth has been vital to us, and costly. A heavy bike is hopeless - my wee one is wiry and skinny so does much better on lighter bikes. And in kids bikes, lighter = more expensive! Worth every penny watching her chuck it down mountain bike trails faster than me though!!
We're both petrolheads too, so I'm afraid we have a private number plate all ready and waiting to go on her first car (which we are saving up for.)
After school things are ridiculous too - she's a talented dancer doing three classes including vocational training. I've never added up the cost of those things as I don't really want to know!
On the plus, my wee one is so dinky that we get lots of use out of her clothes. She's finally stopped wearing her favourite age 3/4 skirt and passed it on to her cousin! Her feet don't grow fast either, so easily get a whole school year out of one pair of shoes.
General having children expense I think, no car so didn't need a bigger one or car seats
Rent the house so no extensions etc although I do pay more to live near DCs school, state though so no school costs apart from general uniform/trip costs
Food is expensive, trying to give them healthy balanced diet, down to me I'd live on cereal, coffee and biscuits!
No childcare costs as me and ex-DP always juggled our shifts around each other, meant no time together though and ultimately the relationship so guess there's a bloody big cost there!
Was prepared for all the stages so didn't resent any of the costs. Until it came to college. In lreland parents pay vast sums for fees, accommodation, food, travellers, books, pocket money. Its never ending. Then this summer our 3 who are in college got summer jobs so we looked forward to a break. However the three of them were getting paid for the month six weeks into the job so it all began again. Nothing prepared me for that. When that pay day came we were so happy calling in all our loans and relaxing a bit.
Going to the supermarket- I alwaysseem to leave with some clothes, hair tat, toys, special food etc
Shoes are the one that catches me out - my kids feet seem to suddenly grow a whole size overnight making it hard to anticipate the need for new shoes.
Join the discussion
Please login first.