Everyone knows that having kids is expensive, but would it surprise you to learn that raising a child these days could set you back more than the cost of buying a house?
That's according to the latest findings from the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The Sun reports:
From their first nappies to driving lessons and uni fees, finance boffins now say the average child costs mum and dad a whopping £231,843. The figure is more than the value of an average UK semi-detached house, said to be £219,255.
I'd love to know what they base these figures on but as a mother of three who hasn't yet amassed enough cash to actually buy a house, I can assure you that I've spent nothing like that on raising all three of my kids, never mind one of them.
Indeed, as any pennywise parent will know, raising kids doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.
There's no denying that the cost of raising a child has risen since the first study of this kind in 2003 but what's also surely true is that more and more of us know how to make the most of money-saving resources for parents, like Playpennies, that can help cut the cost of raising a child.
So without further ado, here are our top tips for doing just that…
Get what you're entitled to in terms of childcare costs
According to this latest data, childcare and babysitting seem to be the biggest cost for modern mums and dads, amounting to a staggering £70,466 for childcare and babysitting over the course of a child's life. Now THAT I can believe. So to avoid wasting cash on these expenses, make sure you are claiming everything you could be. Click here to find out how to claim extra tax credits to help with childcare costs, assuming you're eligible. Then spin through this link to make sure that any of the Benefits for Families which apply to you are actually making their way to your wallet.
Never buy toys or clothes without bagging a bargain
Clothes, toys and essentials bits of baby gear soon mount up so it's no surprise that the average parent spends £10,942 on clothing for a child and £9,307 on toys over the course of its lifetime.
But you can avoid wasting cash by not bothering to buy the useless bits of baby gear that you won't really end up using.
Why waste money on full-price items in the shops when you can rely on Playpennies to find you the best bargains and deals online children's clothing, toys, and baby essentials? If we can't find it at a price you like, then no-one can.
Coupons are also a money-saving mum's best friend, so keep a close eye on our vouchers page to make sure you're claiming money off the various costs of raising a child whenever you can.
Join all the baby clubs going, too, to get great deals on baby care essentials and lots of freebies to boot.
Get creative with holiday spending
Do you reckon you'll spend £16,882 on holidays over the course of your child's lifetime? You don't have to pay through the nose for a family break or do without holidays altogether if you're watching the pennies.
It's hard to beat a Butlins break, and they're always running family-friendly, affordable holiday offers.
Money-saving holiday deals like the Sun Holiday Codes are another great way of getting to whisk the family away without it having to cost the earth.
And of course you should never underestimate the value of a staycation. You don't have to go away to enjoy some down time as a family.
Meal plan and batch cook
I'm surprised that the figure for the cost of raising a child when it comes to what we spend on food wasn't higher - £19,004 seems on the conservative side to me, but then I'm not the world's savviest shopper when it comes to groceries. But meal-planning and batch cooking - not to mention buying certain groceries in bulk when you spot a glitch or a good deal - are brilliant ways of bringing down the family food bill.
You get loads of great free apps these days that can help you meal-plan if you find you run out of inspiration half way through the week. In fact maybe we'll come back and do a round-up of those next week.
Get the kids to earn their keep
An average of £4,614 in cash will be handed over for pocket money by the average parent during the course of a child's lifetime, so savvy parents will certainly see the value in encouraging the kids to do earn the pocket money with a few household chores. Why shell out on pocket money AND the cost of getting the car cleaned when you can sort those two birds with a single stone?!
Happily, it seems that the cost of raising a child levels out as the kids get older, in spite of them developing more expensive hobbies and interests. Until then, bookmark Playpennies and help us help you to cut the costs of raising kids.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Come and share you top tips for cutting the costs of raising a family over on our Facebook page. Or why not take our poll, below, on whether data like this has put you off having a bigger family. We want to hear YOUR views.