Sunday, 7 October 2012

Children - can you afford the cost?



New research from the Child Poverty Action Group (funded by the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation) has estimated the average cost of raising a child until the age of 18.

It found that it would cost £143,000 overall - or £150 for each week - and that a full-
time job on National Minimum Wage is no longer enough to keep up with those
costs. In today's climate of wage freezes and benefit squeezes, many parents are in a
difficult financial situation.

An expert from debt specialists Freeman Jones commented that your child's education
could be costing you more than you imagined, when you think about school uniform,
lunches, trips, stationery, etc.

"And it's not just raising kids up to school-leaving age that could cost parents a
fortune if they're not careful. With older kids heading off to university or perhaps
temporarily back at home after graduation, the Bank of Mum and Dad is often still
expected to pay out," the expert added.

It can be hard to juggle the cost of raising a child with other things, like mortgage
payments, bills and petrol. So what can parents do to keep their finances under
control?

Well, it helps to start with a budget. Making a budget can really show you how your
finances are doing. Note down your household's monthly earnings and compare that
against how much you spend. Think about the different areas where your money goes
and see whether there are any areas where you could cut back for a while.

The spokesperson pointed out that: "Planning ahead now could help you to take some
pressure off your finances in the future too. If you can afford to put some money aside
every month now, it could go a long way to covering future costs for your kids, e.g.
college/university fees or helping them out with a deposit for their first flat/home."

It can also help to embrace 'frugality'. For example, do you need to buy a school
uniform for your youngest child - or could they wear their older sibling's old uniform?
Do they need new trousers, or could you patch that hole up?

Of course, this advice can only go so far. If you've tried everything you can think
of and you're still in a sticky financial situation, it's important to get expert help as
soon as you can: even smaller debt problems can spiral out of control if they're left
unchecked.

This is a sponsored post.

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