Can you afford to have children?

Every year, the government puts out an annual report on how much it costs to raise your child from birth to age 18. And, every year, the cost goes up. SimplePayday reports that a child born to a middle-income family in 2018 costs £287,000 to raise, once you consider food, shelter, transportation, and other expenses — and adjust for inflation. This number doesn’t even include the cost of giving birth, and it certainly doesn’t include college costs.

That’s quite a lot of money. And, of course, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before you decide to have children.

Can You “Afford” to Have Children?

The yearly cost of having children can be a deterrent to many in terms of having kids. Some of the experts suggest that you should wait until your finances are in order before you begin having kids. Some of the suggestions include:

  • Pay off debt
  • Begin saving
  • Have a career (at least one of the parents)

Many suggest that you budget for your baby, and plan ahead for expenses. However, other experts agree that it’s impossible to completely prepare for having children. Do you really need to have a house when you have a child? Is it really necessary to have all your credit card debt paid off? Do you really need to have a good job? All of these are questions you need to answer for your yourself. But it’s important to be aware of your financial situation and realize that raising children comes with its own costs — financial and emotional. (You need to factor in your emotional availability and ability before having children as well.)

Do You Really Have to Spend So Much?

Of course, there are a number of people that don’t think you need to spend so much to raise children. From activities to vacations to clothing to food to transportation, many people don’t think that you really need to spend almost £300,000 over the course of a lifetime to raise children. It’s possible to live frugally,even with kids. Some of the ways that you can spend less as you raise your children include:

  • Second-hand clothing and other items
  • Low-cost family activities, including picnics, bike rides, and game nights
  • Choose a low-cost place to live
  • Limit extracurricular activities
  • Plan meals and eat more at home

There are a number of ways to spend less, depending on how you approach the matter. For many middle-class families, spending so much on raising children isn’t really necessary. However, how much you do spend depends on factors including where you live, how much money you make (often, costs rise with the expectations of wealth), what activities your children participate in, and what activities you engage in as a family.

It’s possible to reduce the costs of having children with planning. If you want children, consider how you can make the whole process more affordable. However, not everything has to be “in place” before you start. You can never be completely ready for children.

What do you think? How much do children cost? Are they worth it?

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