Brits spend £35,000 on their children by their fifth birthday

Fifth birthday

Parents in the UK spend, on average, £35,000 on their kids by the time they reach five years old, a new study has revealed.

Insurer Aviva asked more than 2,000 parents how much they spend on essentials and indulgences for their kids aged 0 to five and found they spend, on average, £7,026 a year - or £696 a month. This equates to a whopping £28 billion spent on the UK's four million under-fives.

The £35,000 parents spend in five years includes the cost of basics such as nappies and milk formula and extras such as toys and baby ballet classes. Babysitting and childcare costs topped the list of expenses at £95 a month (£1,140 a year), followed by essential baby/child equipment at £62.30 a month (£747.60 a year) and clothes, which cost £58 a month (£674.40 a year).

The cost of raising a child to age five varies widely across the UK, with parents in London paying the most at £894.30 a month (£10,731.60 a year) – more than double paid by parents in Wales and the North West (£4,900.80 and £5,182.80 a year respectively).

Peer pressure plays a part in parents' willingness to splash out on their young children. One in five (18%) admits they splash out to keep up with other parents, and more than a third (36%) of parents say they know of other parents who like to boast about how much they spend on their kids. However, most parents don't give in to their kids' demands, with only 14% admitting they buy things they don't need just to pander to their children's whims.

Financial future

Despite the high cost of providing for their infant, more than half (52%) of parents are looking to their children's financial future by opening a savings account in their child's name. And more than a third (37%) have opened a junior Isa or Child Trust Fund. Looking even further ahead, 8% of the parents who took part in the survey have started saving for a house deposit for their children and the same amount of parents are saving towards their child going to university.

However, parents are not doing enough to protect their children in the event of their deaths: while 42% of parents of 0 to five-year-olds have taken out life insurance, only one in five has made a will.

Commenting on the findings, Louise Colley, protection director for Aviva, said: "As every parent knows, having children can be an expensive business but it's incredible to see how this stacks up over the years. This is why it's so important for parents to consider how they might cover the cost of raising a child if they were to unexpectedly lose an income through illness or, even worse, bereavement.                                   

"It's reassuring to see that four out of 10 parents with under fives have taken out life insurance, but we'd encourage the remaining six in 10 to consider the 'what ifs' and take steps to protect their loved ones' futures. Aviva is offering a year of free life cover worth £15,000 per child, per parent, for parents who register before their child's fourth birthday, so this is a fantastic simple way to get some peace of mind, knowing that some cover is in place."

How much you can spend on raising a child to age five

Essentials/activities Monthly costs   Annual costs
Childcare/babysitting £95.00    £1,140.00
Essential baby/child equipment £62.30 £747.60
Clothes £58.00 £696.00
Leisure/family trips out £56.20 £674.40
Extra holiday costs £55.90 £670.80
Toys and games    £53.30 £639.60
Nappies £47.70 £572.40
Special foods for children/formula £41.90 £502.80
Equipment for school/pre-school £39.10 £469.20
Classes for children (soccer, baby ballet) £38.80 £465.60
Entertainment (DVDs, books, tablets, etc) £37.30 £447.60
TOTAL £585.50 £7,026


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