Parents across the country can breathe a sigh of relief as the school gates open this week; ending the six-week spell of summer boredom. Unfortunately, for many parents the concept of restoring normality and getting some peace and quiet comes at a high price.
New figures show that, on average, parents spend £177.28 per child just getting them ready for the new term. That’s a collective £2 billion being splashed out on new uniforms, books, stationery and other school essentials.
Going through this ritual every September alongside general living costs all adds up eventually. Parents spend just over £9,000 raising their children before they even reach the secondary school age of 11. This figure is escalating as the cost of raising children has increased by 15% between 2007 and 2011.
The cost of going to school
According to research by Santander, parents spend £177.28 preparing their child for the new school term.
Mums and dads fork out a staggering £1,514 per child per school year. This totals £38.81 per week on goods such as school uniforms, shoes, clothes, sport kits, books, lunches and more. According to the research, almost half (46%) of parents drive their children to and from school, collectively spending £862 million on fuel annually. That’s a whopping £163.40 spent on fuel per household per year, clocking up 908 miles a year.
The typical new school uniform will set parents back £39.49 in addition to shoes, costing an average of £26.39 and coats being £21.26.
Alan Mathewson, CEO Santander Cards, commented: “Putting children through school is expensive but unavoidable, and unfortunately not a cost that is reducing. At a time when families don’t have a great deal of disposable income, it’s vital that any money they do spend is used wisely.”
It could be worth considering the long-term impact of schooling and the cost of raising children. Opening a savings account when your child is born could help to ease costs in the future. Compare savings accounts with Money Expert.
The cost of raising a child
According to figures from Halifax, the cost of raising a child up to the age of 11 has increased by 15% in the last five years.
Back in 2007, it cost an average of £7,222 to raise children up to pre-secondary school age. By 2011, the cost of bringing up a youngster had risen to £8,307. Costs include clothes, food, pocket money, non-private schooling, holidays, child-minding, personal care, toys, hobbies, furniture and more.
Martin Ellis, leading economist at Halifax, commented: “The cost of raising a child under the age of 11 has increased by 15% over the past five years. This has added to the already considerable strain on household finances during the economic downturn.
“Childcare costs and education account for half, or £4,200, of the total annual cost of raising a child. This is a substantial sum for most households, so it pays to ensure sound financial planning when you are looking to start a family.”
Figures revealed that the annual cost of raising a child up to the age of 11 in Britain has increased by £1,085 in the last five years. Now parents fork out an average of £91,377 to cover the cost of a child over 11 years.
Over the same five-year period, inflation has risen by a staggering 18%, putting pressure on household finances. Parents spend around a fifth (18%) of their average household income on bringing up a child.
The biggest price they face is schooling. The total cost which mums and dads spend on uniforms, books, stationery, school trips and lunches has risen by a staggering 24% from £684 per year in 2007 to £849 in 2012.
The second biggest price hike was in nursery and child-minding costs. Nursery and childcare costs have increased by an eye-watering 22% in the last five years to £3,346 in 2011. This takes a chunky 40% out of the total annual expense that parents face when raising their little ones. Schooling, nursery and childcare costs amount to half of the total annual spend on kids.
The research highlighted that parents spent a massive £889 a year feeding their youngsters in 2011, showing an increase of 14% from £780 spent in 2007. Despite this, food only takes out 14% of the total annual spend on raising children. Over the same five-year period, the cost of children’s holidays rose by 16% from £636 in 2007 to £740 in 2011.
Thanks to heavily discounted goods by retailers and the weak economy, spending on clothing has actually fallen by 15% since 2007. Yet the recession has had a seriously negative impact on household savings. High inflation has eaten away at any chance of saving and household spending levels have fallen, despite goods costing more.
Many households could be pushed into debt as a result of the global economic meltdown. Times are tough, especially with the additional school spend taking its toll on household budgets, however, it could be worth shopping around to find the best savings account available.
The annual growth in spending on children has slowed by 3% in 2011, following a sharp rise in inflation to a peak of 5.2% between 2010 and 2011.