The average cost of raising a child to secondary school age has rocketed by four per cent over the past year to an average of almost £84,000 in Scotland, a report has revealed.
Parents are paying out more than £635 a month on items for their children, totalling 35 per cent of average UK disposable earnings.
The Scottish total is slightly below the UK average of £87,000, which is pushed higher by the cost of raising a child in London, which averages at £122,000 for the first 11 years. The biggest increase in spend over the past 12 months is on children’s furniture, which is up 19 per cent from last year, and toys, which is up 14 per cent.
The annual Halifax Cost of Children research found that the biggest cost for parents per month is childcare, which averages at £310 per month, up by three per cent from last year.
But it is the first year of having a baby – when many people are suffering a cut in earnings due to parental leave – which proves to be the most expensive, costing almost £10,000 on average, equivalent to more than £820 a month, UK-wide. This drops when the child gets older and childcare costs reduce to around £6,500 a year, or approximately £550 per month for a child aged 9 to 11 years old.
Giles Martin, Head of Halifax Savings, said: “For many parents, the first 12 months of parenthood can be frantic and as our research shows, often the most expensive. Having children is a huge commitment, both financially and emotionally.
“With unexpected costs along the way for the majority of families, it’s important to be realistic about how much things are going to cost and how much can be saved to meet the future needs of a growing family.”
Four out of five parents say that having children has meant unexpected one-off purchases since they were born. A third of parents had to pay out for extra furniture, or a different car, while one in five say they had to buy a bigger house.
Additional entertainment devices such as TVs or tablets were the most common unexpected purchases cited, with parents of a child aged nine to 11 years old significantly more likely to have made this purchase than any other age group.
In order to make money go further, one in ten parents buy items second-hand, buy ahead in the sales, or spread their payments across the year. Toys were the number one cost that budgeting parents have tried to cut back on this year, followed by clothing and holidays.