Your children are most likely your pride and joy so how much they cost over the course of 21 years (or more these days) is likely to be something that you have given little consideration to. But according to a study conducted by Liverpool Victoria (LV=) earlier this year the cost of a child comes in at a staggering £218,000 and is rising further as things like clothes and education get ever more expensive. And LV= isn't thinking that everyone dressed their children in Vivian Westwood and sends them to boarding school when coming up with that figure either.
Oh no, it's based on simple factors such as the cost of babysitters, one annual holiday and three years at college or university. Looking at £218,000 in more detail it is easy to work out that this equates to 10,380 a year, £865 a month, £199.76 a week or £28.53 a day. Of course we're talking averages here so these figures won't tally for everyone and there are some major regional differences to be factored in.
Indeed, the cost of raising a family is highest in London at £234,263 per child. This is closely followed by the South East at £232,450. In contrast, the cheapest place is the North East where a child will cost an average of £202,383 over the course of 21 years.
If you're thinking of starting a family and wanting to work out how much things cost then you're probably left scratching your head at this stage but these figures shouldn't put anyone off. You may just need to do some nifty planning that's all. With tuition fees on the rise from September it will probably come as no surprise that education fees are the biggest expense parents encounter because of their offspring.
LV='s research found that the average family now spends a total of £71,780 in ensuring that their children get the best possible education and make the most out of their time at university. This figure has somewhat incredibly shot up by 125 per cent in the nine years that have passed since LV= conducted its first family cost survey back in the summer of 2003.
Childcare and babysitting costs is the second largest expense at £62,099, up by 2.7 per cent on last year and 57 per cent on 2003. Food is the third most expensive thing a parent provides to their children at £18,667, while £10,781 is spent on clothing.
But while those things could rightly be considered essentials, there are a number of other things which are bought that cost a lot of money over the period of 21 years such as toys (do 21-year-olds still play with toys?) at £9,248 and holidays at £15,532.
But don't forget all those other things your children will nag you for such as sticker books, football cards and regular pocket money. There are also haircuts, day trips and clubs to pay for.
And it would be easier to think that as children get older they get less expensive but in reality that is rarely the case. While Suzie might not cost you any money in My Little Ponies and Barbies when she gets into her teens, it won't be long until she leaves school and wants to take driving lessons and guess who probably end up paying for them?
Increasingly, children in the 20s and 30s are also relying on their parents to given them a hand out here and there, particularly when it comes to raising a deposit for their first home. Watching your kids grow from short trousers and grubby faces into successful adults is a priceless experience right? For more advice and tips on how to save money and manage your debt visit debtfreedirect.co.uk.