230,000 lb. baby
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230,000 lb. baby

£230,000, I’ll say it again £230,000, it’s a huge amount isn’t it? but recent calculations by the centre of economics and business research have suggested that this is how much it costs in the UK to raise a child till the age of 21, a quarter of a million pounds!!!!!!.

Of course this will vary depending on where you live and your individual circumstance, Londoners for example will pay more, while those in the north will fair slightly better for things such as childcare where the average at the moment is £67,000 pounds.

Below is a breakdown of just where that money goes.

CATEGORY          THIS YEAR: 2015         LAST YEAR: 2014                

Childcare              £67586                               £66113                 

Education             £74319                               £73803      

Food                     £19517                                  £19804                                         

Clothing                 £10942                             £10935      

Holidays                £16675                              £16506      

Hobbies & Toys    £9377                                £9433         

Recreation            £7486                                £7419         

Pocket money     £4603                                 £ 4553        

Furniture              £3434                               £3453         

Personal               £1146                                £1157         

Other                  £14167                                 £ 14091

(includes birthday and Christmas presents)                       

Total                 £229251                                 £227266              

Although the first 4 years of a child’s life can be the most expensive, there are ways that you can help save some of that money. The statistics here are all based on things being purchased brand new from shops, but to get started, I found that not everything has to be straight out the catalogue.

hands and feet

There are a host of places that you can get amazing quality second hand baby furniture, clothes, and other items and one of the best is your local nearly new sale. I won’t be shocked if you have not heard of them before but they are out there and country wide. A charity mainly run by volunteers where you can drop off your old, good quality baby items (there are a few exceptions) labelled with what you want to sell them for and they will sell them for you. The sales are usually on about twice a year and you don’t have to stick around to sell your own items like at a car boot sale or pay each vender individually, You simply go around with a big bag, get items such a clothes, furniture, books, toys, swimming and bathing stuff all for a fraction of what you would pay for them in the shops and pay all together at the end.

If you’re selling, then you will drop the stuff off at the start of the day and come back for anything that did not sell at the end, or if the aim was to get rid of it to make space, while maybe making more than if you had just popped it down the charity shop, then leave it and it will be donated at the end of the day. The charity takes a small cut and the rest is posted to you by cheque about a week later.

I know one woman who managed to kit out the entire nursery for less than £200, and that included a nursing chair, cot bed, curtains, bedding, enough clothes for a 0-3 month old to change every day for a year, toys, mobiles, and some maternity stuff for herself. All of it was excellent quality and some still had the labels on. The website www.nct.org.uk will tell you where your local sale will be held. Members get first dibs with the doors opening half an hour later to non-members. A god tip though, if you want to get in there first, all the volunteers get first choice, even before the members, so if you have a few hours to spare you can get your hands on all the good stuff.

You can resell the stuff when they grow out of it and keep going back to top up as they get older. Toys and clothes are particularly good bargains and would go towards taking a chunk out of that scary figure above.

Another place to pick up a bargain is your local car boot sale, a leisurely walk on a Sunday morning can not only be a nice cheap family morning out, but can also save you a small fortune. The people there are more than likely looking to shift the stuff to make room, so are offering bargain prices for good quality stuff, and don’t be afraid to haggle as the price they ask is not always the price you have to pay. Although you do have to do a bit more rummaging here the prices are often worth it, with Next, Marks and Spencer and other well known ( and expensive) labels going for as little as 50p. On one occasion a bored looking husband once told me I could have the whole black bag for £5, an offer I took him up on, and found a full wedding suit, label clothes and a brand new pair of shoes in there.

Pushchairs can also be picked up for a fraction of what they would have cost, though beware those that have the car seat included, it’s never a good idea to buy them second hand just in case they have been in an accident. But I have seen buggies and prams that cost £100s in the shops go for a fraction of that, and are still as good as new.

Some people might want to buy everything brand new for their new arrival and that’s fine, but if you want to get stuff that might otherwise be out of your price range without compromising on quality second hand might be the way to go.

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