Image courtesy of Jon Grainger
Image courtesy of Jon Grainger

Some people have children because they want them, but for others the decision is taken out of their hands because they feel that it is too expensive. There are many costs to consider and it is worth thinking about them all and whether you can afford children or not.

There have been figures thrown about over the years about how much each child costs you. However, things change, including salaries and so it is better to calculate it yourself.

The main thing to consider is what your current income is and whether that will change when you have children. If you want one parent to stay at home and look after the child(ren) whether that is a shared job between both parents or something just one parent does, you need to consider how much that will cost in lost salary. Think about whether you could manage without that salary even before you have the additional costs of children. If not then you do have the alternative of considering childcare. You may have a friend or relative that will do this for you, perhaps for free or at a low cost, you may consider a nursery or a child minder. It is good to take a look at how much these cost but also to think about whether you want to leave a child with someone else for the time while you are at work.

There is also the cost of perhaps getting a bigger home or car. This depends on what size you already have and how many children you intend to have. If you have no spare bedroom or only a two seater car, then you will need to have something bigger. This will obviously cost money and will be something you have to think hard about. It may be that you would like to eventually have a bigger house so that you can have a better investment, that is if you own the property. You may have thought about getting a bigger car for a while anyway, so may not think that it will be something that won’t get a lot of other use too.

A baby is not really too expensive in itself. There will be a cot, pushchair, car seat to buy as well as clothes and nappies and possibly a baby bath, changing table, Moses basket, bottles, sterilizer and feed. Obviously you will choose whether you want certain items and how you will feed the baby, but there will still not be huge expenses. It is when the child gets older that it begins to get much more expensive. Cost of food and clothes gets significantly dearer as they get bigger and they will need a high chair, then a bed and desk, computer, games and school uniform. Then you may want to buy them a car, help them with university fees or a deposit on their home. Obviously what you pay out and how much you pay for each thing will vary, but you need to calculate whether you can even manage to afford the basics.

Many people just manage because they really want children, but others want to have a certain standard of living and worry that they will not get that if they have to pay for children as well. It is a decision that can only be made by an individual but it is worth remembering that there are very few people that regret having children due to the cost.