How much do kids cost?

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maxi29 | 16:25 Fri 31st Mar 2006 | Parenting
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This might seem like a strange question but my wife and I hope that we will be adopting two young children later this year and we're trying to work out our budgets.

It's a bit daunting for us and we're moving from looking after two people with two incomes to looking after four with one income and are having to cut our cloth accordingly. After paying mortgage, bills and travel expenses to work we're going to have about �550 left a month for food, clothes, toys, treats etc for four people (we don't drive so there's no car expense). We know that people survive on less than that, so it's certainly possible to live, but how will we live? Will we be able to afford holidays? Will we only be able to buy second-hand clothes? Will we have to buy different food for the kids and for us?

Parents I've spoken to have said not to worry, that if people worked out what kids cost, they'd never have any but as I work out budgets at work and have a spreadsheet for everything I'm trying to get to grips with this now.


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as much as you want it to

Well you are not going to decide not to adopt because of the cost so what is the point. They will drain you financially as all children do, but you will get help with Child Benefit and all those sort of things, forget spreadsheets you won't have time !

very sensible, I have a spread sheet too. However, how much your children will eat will not be known until you are parenting them.

What helps me is that I have a tesco clubcard plus card. I put the same amount of money on it each month and i only use that for food. You could try the same thing. That way at least for food you will know exactly what you are spending each month. The thing i like about this account is that you cannot go into the red. If you find you have some left over then you can adjust the amount you pay by stanind order and vice versa.

The point is though is that things will fluctuate, so do not be suprised if you don't always stick to what you thought you would.

I have five children and I spend 350 a month on food, but then again I'm lucky that I can. I reckon I could do it on 300 if I were really careful. As for food menu planning is a good budget tool too. I cook everything from scratch so we just all eat the same. i keep husbands dinner warm for him so he has it when he comes home, but i eat with the children at the table in the evening as they seem to eat better then. We don't really eat in between meal s except fruit and we drink water at the table with our meals.

I also have my child benefit (the one everyone gets) paid monthly by dd straight into a seperate accouunt that I use only for the children, for things like clothes, clubs, treats etc I don't use it for birthdays as I tend to save for those. You could do that too and then you would be sure that every month you had some money put aside solely for their purpose.

You will be fine you sound like a very sensible person and if you are eligible to adopt then you must both be fine people. Remember the thing your children will need the most is Love, happiness, peacefulness and self control (and lots and lots of storytime.....!)

THinking of you both as you prepare.
Also remember that it may take a year or longer to fully get used to things. When you have a baby naturally, it knocks you sideways for that long until you really feel secure. DOn't expect everything to fall neatly into a spreadsheet. And don't be afraid if things feel out of control. All parents feel like this sometimes it is not just because you have adopted.

Join lots of toddler groups if the children are young enough, and meet other mums and dads. Talk to people, don't be afraid to talk about how you are feeling. I take my hat off to you both, to jump straight in like you will be doing must take lots of courage. If only everyone took such a responsible view of parenting as you are, the world would be a much different place.

kids cost a fortune

they come first-always

every child is unique

stick your spreadsheets and be a dad!

The Joseph Rowntree foundation is well-respected for its research into social science. This press release reports their study into the costs of child-rearing. It was published back in 1997 but, if you make allowances for inflation, it provides informative reading:

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Thanks Mimififi, some great advice there.

I should clarify. I won't be running spreadsheets when I actually have the kids, it's for planning ahead to have a rough idea of what I should be spending. All kids need lots of time spent with them, and kids that have been taken into care need even more attention. It's because I want to spend time with the kids that I want to get the finances straight from the start.
I know you won't be putting you children onto a spreadsheet, my husband and I plan and budget furiously as we operate a cash only living, saving for big things and not purchasing until we have the cash. It means you are debt free and as a result less stressed out and happy parents equal happy kids.

I'm all for planning, planning gives us the freedom to have more fun!!!

good luck to you and many thoughts for you and your wife.

It may take a while to get things on an even keel.

With your own babies you can establish your own rules about eating, while respecting genuine dislikes. With adopted children they will have their own habits.

Are they old enough to want what other children have? If not you can start on a tight budget, and see how much you have left over, then relax.


Me and my girlfriend (soon to be wife in october) are planning for the future and would like kids in 3-4years time and was wondering around how much (if we are sensible with clothes etc) we would be looking at spending a month on 1 child??

I would like them as soon as possible but the money side of thing is obviously worrying as if we can't afford it what would we do. Its mainly the first 2years I am worried about as after this I should be able to earn a good wage. We have decided that my girlfriend would be staying at home to look after the kids as this is what she wants also, so this would mean we would not need child care.

So how much a month would you say?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Deano, just seen your post.I would guess that if you could manage now on just your money you will be able to with young children.

Will you have to move, so that your housing costs more? Your girlfriend will not have the expenses of working. Childrens clothes can be found "as new" at jumble sales, and she will have time to look.

If both are working you have to take the expensive, time saving option, if you have more time you can wash nappies (oh what fun!), cook the slow way, etc.

Things that you do with your children are more valuable than expensive toys and the sort of toys that are educational (e.g posting boxes for 1 year olds) are the sort of things that last for ever and can be found second hand.Gimicky expensive toys are unneccesary for babies, they might want them they start school and see what other children have.

When they are school ages things may be more expensive, but younger than that it's parents who are competitive not children. You will want them to fit in but one of the best lessons you can teach them is that they can't always have everything they want.

My children had pocket money from the age of 2 or 3, just enough to buy a packet of crisps, or little paper book. Then anything that they saw or wanted was in terms of "how many weeks" savings. It helped them learn to count (I gave them it in pennies and changed it into 10p pieces to teach the decimal system). And toys were what they could afford, not ask me for.

Of course there was always Christmas and Grandparents to spoil them. But something that you decide to save up for is valued more. I can still remember the farm in the toyshop window, and deciding whether to add a cow or 2 hens to my collection.


You asked good question about toys. i will like to refer you borntotoddle

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