Over a third of families' take home pay is swallowed up by rail fares and childcare costs, according to a new report by the Campaign for Better Transport.
London families fare even worse with 40% of their salary going on commuting and childcare, it claims.
Alexandra Woodsworth, spokesperson for Better Transport, warns further rail fare increases will force many family members to reconsider their jobs.
"We now have both the highest rail fares in Europe and the highest childcare costs. With fares set to rise 28% over the next four years, these combined costs will become increasingly unbearable."
The average UK season ticket costs £2,064 according to the Association of Train Operating Companies.
Difficulties for young families
Childcare costs vary depending on the region and age of the child, but the average annual cost for nursery care childcare for an under-two year-old is £5,028 in England, £5,178 in Scotland and £4,723 in Wales, according to the Daycare Trust.
The UK's top 10 locations to raise children
"For many families it means that work simply doesn't pay - it doesn't make financial sense to stay in work or return after maternity lave," adds Woodsworth.
Elizabeth Duff, senior policy adviser for the National Childbirth Trust, says it puts many parents with young children in a very difficult situation.
"At a time when many households are on a reduced budget we are worried about the impact these rising costs will have on families," Duff adds.
Read Moneywise Magzine's November issue for our investigation on 'The great train robbery - how you can beat fare rises'.