29 April 2019

Children are expensive little things

Is it me or are children really rather expensive things, despite their size (in the early years anyway) they really are rather costly. Even right from the start with a cot, car seat and pram they can require a hefty outlay and it doesn't really stop there. They eat and grow, need uniforms and money for all sorts, then they get bigger and the costs begin to rise.

We have three children so three lots of things to pay for, sometimes it feels like all our money is going on them and the things we do with them. What do we spend our money on? 

A big outlay is kids clothing, With girls and boys clothes to get, the cost of clothing the Little Ones can mount up, although there are plenty of hand me downs especially between the girls. Summer clothes, winter clothes, swimwear, coats, school uniform etc, their drawers are full but my children grow a lot, they will fit something fine for a couple of months and the next time you put it on either you shrunk it or someone grew a couple of inches and it no longer fits. It isn't just clothes, don't forget the shoes, continually growing feet and changing seasons mean several different pairs of shoes for each of them throughout the year- trainers, sandals, wellies, school shoes, party shoes and boots- they have more footwear than me!

Food is another one of our big costs, feeding a family of five, three of them growing hungry children. I find myself at the supermarket several times a week filling the empty cupboards and restocking the astounding amount of fruit and cereal that my three get through. It isn't going to get any better though, they are going to eat even more when they get bigger.

Then there are things like birthdays and Christmas, we don't spend a large amount on the Little Ones here as we simply can't afford to. I look for discounts and deals, shop early and buy throughout the year, they tend to get something bigger (though not necessarily expensive) to open and lots of little things, that way they have plenty to open, as long as they are happy that is the main thing. With birthdays come the parties, they can be pretty expensive but it depends what you do, a sleepover with friends and a takeaway pizza is much less expensive than a big party out somewhere, thankfully sleepovers are all the rage with my two girls right now.

Then there are the associated school costs. There is often a letter coming home for one of the girls from school, a trip or a school visitor and while it is great to see the opportunities they are getting to broaden their education it can mount up over the year. Little 1 will have her first school residential next year- we had better start saving. There is also the cost of school dinners for Little 1 (and next year Little 2), Little 2 still likes to have milk at school and don't forget the childcare fees, thankfully we are nearing the end of that journey now with Little 3 starting school in September, only a few more bills to come.

Clubs feature highly in our outgoings right now, the Little Ones have swimming lessons and the girls go to Brownies and gymnastics, we're lucky that we can afford for them to do this, being able to pay for these extra things that they want to do was one of the factors in me returning to work a couple of years ago. I am glad I went back as both girls love gymnastics are are getting quite good at it.

Long school holidays can be quite a drag if you are stuck at home, with three children to keep entertained, play dates, local activities, the garden and the park will only stop them fighting with one another for so long. Days out can be great for family time, a good way to relax and make memories and tire out the children but they do come at a cost. A family ticket (and often a family ticket only covers 2 children so we have to pay an extra child rate as well) usually costs £50 or more which makes days out a treat rather than a regular occurrence for us, we tend to check out websites where you can find offers and look out for vouchers in local papers or school handouts. We are also members of the National Trust, a little outlay at the beginning of the year means a whole lot of days out over the year to some pretty lovely places.

We like to get away from it all for a bit and go on holiday in the summer, I wrote this post on ways to find an affordable holiday a couple of years ago and I still do this every year, you can find some super deals around if you look plus using things like Tesco clubcard vouchers can help to bring down the cost of a holiday.

We chose to have three children and money factored highly in our decision whether or not to do so, we save where we can and look for deals and offers to get value for money and shop around throughout the year, we save for the things we want and are lucky enough to be able to bet the children do some of the clubs they want. But what happens when the car breaks down or the cat gets toothache, sometimes when something unexpected happens a short term loan from a trusted lender like cashlady.com can help you to sort your finances and help you to get back on track.

As the children change and get older our child related finances will change too, before long it will be driving lessons, university (maybe), phone bills and even more food and clothes but then we will no longer be paying for childcare or school milk. What child related expenses do you spend your money on? which is your biggest?

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