Can we afford a child?

Hi everyone, apologies in advance for this whiny post but I need to vent/ get some further advice!

My husband and I are deciding whether or not to have a child. I've only mentioned this to my best mate (she was very happy and gave me lots of good advice), my mum (lets not go there!!) and a few colleagues (I've only been at my place a few months so they don't know me too well yet). All the colleagues (and my mum) pretty much said 'kids are expensive- they cost a fortune'. I'm not an idiot so I know this already!!

What's getting me down is this; my husband and I have a joint annual income of £46K, so not mega bucks and not as low as some people. We have a modest mortgage, one car and no debts (bar the mortgage). I'm worried that if we have a child and one of our incomes drops due to reducing hours (we're both full time now) plus paying out for child care we'll really struggle with money, which my husband and I HATE (who doesn't?), and the fact people keep saying 'they're so expensive' and nothing else is getting me down.

Do my husband and I have enough income to afford a child? Are people trying to politely tell me don't bother, we can't afford it? Which in turn makes me feel a failure cos I don't earn more :(

I think that yes, it will be a struggle, especially as we'll have no family support (my parents live abroad, husband's dad is severely disabled and step- mother- in- law still works plus they live a 45 min drive away) but surely the magic of having a child outweighs the financial sacrifices? I think I expected more people to react with 'defo have kids, its wonderful, they enrich your life/ are amazing etc.' rather than literally just 'they're so expensive'.

Is anyone else worrying about money or facing doing parenthood without grandparental support? I'm ready to go for it, hubby is dithering, but this attitude from others and money worries is putting me off- and him I think! I can cope with being poorer if it means having a child and I know from my own upbringing that being loved is what matters most to a child- I would swap all my toys and fancy holidays to just have felt loved as a child- but I also know you need money to live.

Don't know why but this is really getting me down. Apologies again for the pity party! x


  • Have a child. If one of you were to lose your job or have reduced hours there are other jobs out there. If you wait til you can afford it you will never do it

  • I am on maternity leave, my little boy is 3 weeks tmorrow, and I plan not to go back to work, firstly I didnt enjoy where I was working and secondly my wage alone would not cover childcare costs if I went back part time, which would be the only option I would look into. I don't want to go back full time for my wage to just cover childcare costs. 

    My family live 180 miles away and hubby's live 80 miles away, so we don't have family help with childcare.

    At the end of the day, yes children are expensive to bring up, I've gone through so many nappies already and they're not cheap! There are certain things we have chosen to save money on, less takeaways and budgeting quite heavily on weekly shopping. We have applies for the child benefit but at just over £20 a week you can't rely on that. At the moment we are saving by breast feeding and we've been fortunate that people have given gifts of use to us or money to go towards things. 

    if you put off having children until you can afford it, you may never end up having children, because who can really afford it? It's up to yourself and your husband to decide if you're ready for children, don't listen to anyone else because they won't be bringing up or paying for any children you have. 

  • I'm with Katie, there will never be a perfect time and no matter how much you earn most people find children are expensive regardless. We thought we had waited for the right time and then partner was made redundant and rather than the one planned child we found out we were having twins. Also discovered bathroom was riddled with woodworm which meant ripping erything out and installing new bathroom... very expwnsive job! Gosh l had actually forgotten how stressful it all was. Anyway fast forward a couple of years he's a full time student doing part time work to supplement student loans and I work 4 days a week. We do get a bit of help towards child care costs but we still have to be careful with money. We have cheapest tv package, shop at aldi and shop around for deals. We even managed to go on our first holiday abroad with twins this year. It's not easy but you just make it work x

  • bella2015bella2015 Posts: 1,903 New bride

    I agree with Katie Jane that you should just go for it. I have been worrying about maternity pay as to how we would struggle when I'm off as I am the bread winner in our household, but we've started saving now to keep the pressure off. Myself and my husband have decided that when the time comes for me to go back to work, we'll use a childminder rather than a nursery to keep childcare costs down.

    We don't have any grandparental support either as my own parents live an hour away and although they would provide support they are limited by distance and my dad's health, and my husband's mother lives the other side of the country. But I'm sure we'll get by.

    Yes children can be expensive but they don't have to be extortionate. I can honestly say that I've never heard most of my friends complaining about the cost of children.

  • You will never be able to afford a child 

    but you change your living expenses prioritys change and you find cheaper ways to spend your money for example food shopping you budget rather than just buying what ever takes your fancy.

    childre can be very expensive as a parent you want the best for them but money will not make you a better parent.

    i have four children and never thought I could still be able to do what we do holidays my kids still do after school clubs just not all of them lol

    and we are pretty good with our money now because we have to be.

    good luck with your choices 

  • EllieKate83EllieKate83 Posts: 1,431

    I'm currently pregnant with an unplanned 3rd child. To be honest, I've not found it  ridiculously expensive at all. Some people go crazy spending money on their children, but you don't need a £1000 travel system to raise a happy healthy children. Children need attention, love & experiences (& food!) more than they need stuff. Yes, there are financial things to consider but you're not on a low income & plenty of people cope on far less. If you want a child you'll make it work. X

  • I've heard many people saying 'there's never a right time to have baby', like, there will always be something you deem not ideal enough in your current situation, so you put it off and hope everything will just fit into place sometime in the future. Then you keep putting it off and putting it off. I think it's only logical to worry about jobs and money. But i agree with comment above, there are always other opportunities if one of you loses your job. This could happen at anytime, so this is always going to be a factor at anytime and for anyone. I worry about it too. Right now we live with my inlaws because we cant afford our own place, so a child is definitely out of the question for now, while we are depending on others. I feel like we are not our own family, just an extension of his parents' family, so this is not ideal. My ideal situation to have kids would be us settled in our own house, with stable jobs and ok salary - so similar to what you have, but I'm sure when that comes around, I'll have changed the criteria to include other stuff. So basically I'm saying that, deep down if you want a child then go for it. I see successful parents who have raised children in seemingly worse off situations. I think a well loved child is happier than a child who has all the toys in the world but lacks love. 

  • One thing that I've learned from having our daughter is that bar the essentials - nappies, formula if you use it etc - the cost of having kids varies a lot depending on what you have and what you want to spend. I have friends who spend hundreds more a month than I do on stuff like clothes and classes and the like, while we buy kids clothes in supermarket sales (they do ace stuff that they grow out of before it wears out) or from NCT sales, swapping with other mums I know or Ebay, and barring swimming lessons (which we decided was totally worth the cash) we go to free reading sessions at local libraries and other free/low cost things. 

    We both worked full time before I got pregnant, I took my full maternity leave and then didn't go back afterwards because we made the call that the £200 or so a month that I'd get in my take home salary once I'd paid for nursery for the month just didn't make it worth the faff once you factored in cost of my travel to work, lunches and the like. Instead I work from home now - mostly in the evening or out of hours and this is how we'll be until my daughter is big enough for school at which point I'll start looking for full time work again.

    Is it tough? Yeah, sometimes it is, especially when you've had one of those days where back in the day we'd have ordered a takeaway pizza but now we're eating toasties and saving the money. But it's totally worth it. Honestly, there are so many trite things I could say about how amazing it is most of which will sound schmaltzy. But it's the best decision we ever made and we're totally happy even if we're not going on holiday anywhere for a few years. Even on the worst days we've ever had with her we've not regretted it for a minute.

    Honestly, it's great to ask people's opinions (including ours) but the only people who have to be sure are you and your husband. If you're both ready for it and want it, go for it. As posters above have said, if you wait until you can afford it the chances are you'd never feel ready.

    Let us know how you go x

  • susan28susan28 Posts: 268

    Hi bekhaG, my fellow spring 2015 bride.  How wonderful youre thinking of starting a family.   Go for it!  The most amazing, rewarding job in life, there is nothing more precious.   You will manage stop worrying about and enjoy the 'trying' ;-) xxxxx

  • Polly27Polly27 Posts: 680 New bride

    Of course your going to have less money than you had before kids, but I would never in a million years prefer to have more money than my little boy. You learn to cut down on things that aren't that important and to be honest you go out a lot less so in some ways you save money that way. Between cutting my hours plus the childcare cost we're effectively down £16k a year! I thought we'd never manage but we have done just fine. If it makes you feel better I would actually do a monthly budget. Work out how much you'll have after childcare a month less all your expenses and then you can see in black and white how much you'll have left. If it's less than you'd like have a look at your expenses and see if there is anything you can cut down on ( we  cancelled sky £80 a month, switched to aldi for food shopping saving at least £20 a week). I also plan all my meals so no waste and not overspending. I also always look for clothes in sales etc, just small things that make a huge difference. You will never regret having kids over having money . Good luck x

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  • MrsTwizbeMrsTwizbe Posts: 3,352 New bride

    reading this I wonder if the question isn't can we afford a child, but rather are we ready for one?

    When you're ready, and you know you want one, you will make it work. It is hard to articulate sometimes the feeling of 'not being ready' so we try to pin it to a more practical, relatable issue, such as finances, or housing, or work etc.

    If you are debating, the answer is probably no, you're not ready. Doesn't mean you can't start putting a plan in place for when you are ready though.

    Hubby and I started saving for a baby when we first got married. We were NOT ready for children then, but we knew we would want a family so might as well save a bit so we didn't have to make hard choices in those first few years. As it turns out we've had issues getting pregnant and might have to spend a large chunk of that saving on fertility treatment so was probably a good idea to save way in advance.

  • Kim90Kim90 Posts: 183

    I'm sure at 47 lots of you will think I'm too old to be a bride!

    But let me tell you what 47 years of experience has tought me...

    1) you will never have enough money! perhaps only if you win euro millions! Children are costly, but like anything you can make  do!  second hand clothes and toys.Etc  

    2) you will never know when or if you can have children...I had 10 plus miscarriages, so now I wish I had started earlier

    3) life is too short! Who knows how long anyone has...

    if you think you are ready and you have a home and shelter...go for it! Children need a home,food and mainly love...not money and possessions !

    kim x












  • Your combined wage is more than enough to hve a child on.

  • BekhaGBekhaG Posts: 586 New bride

    Hello everyone.

    I am so so touched that all of you took the time to reply to me, thank you so very much. You've all given me lots of food for thought.

    MrsSandison and Bella2015- I totally hear what you are saying about budgeting and reprioritising our spending, which is something my husband and I have done in the past when times have been hard/ we've needed to save/ I've been out of work (damn restructures and redundancy). There's no reason we can't do this again when we have a family, in fact we'd have to to make ends meet.

    MrsBrazil- I agree, you never know what is round the corner. Since 2014 I've lost 2 jobs due to restructures and my current organisation is going into restructure next year!!! Plus, hubby has faced redundancy every year for 6 years now but keeps escaping the chop lol We try to take these things into account and budget for them but I know you still have to live- you can't plan for everything. Chris and I aren't usually 'what if' people, but we worry so much about money and getting into debt. We probably worry a bit too much!

    Susan28- so lovely to read your post and thank you for the words of encouragement :) Hasn't time flown since April?! Hope you and your husband are enjoying married life?

    MrsTwizbe- you made a V valid point about are we really ready. My husband and I have since discussed our fears about affording a child in a bit more detail since I read all your replies and we agreed we should start saving a special pot of money from the new year onwards towards all the initial outlays that come with having a child (pram, furniture e.g. crib etc.) and to supplement my reduced income during Mat Leave. We're going to review our expenditure and cut some luxuries and reduce other expenditures we can (like sacking off Sky- waste of money anyway! And shopping at Aldi again a couple of times a month- easily £20 cheaper per wk than Sainsburys, where we usually go). Once we talked this issue through more and decided on a plan to start saving we both felt better, as its mainly money worries putting us off TTC.

    Its more than likely we'll start TTC from late next summer. I've been on the pill for nearly 10 whole years, not even stopping to have my 7 day break other than when I've had to have a smear test, so we want to give my cycle time to get back to normal as well as putting some money aside before trying. On the other hand, I don't want to start trying too much later than that because I can imagine it taking a good while to get pregnant (my parents never used protection yet I'm an only child!! Plus my mum had a very early menopause).

    I really do feel better for reading your posts and encouraged that others are doing it without grandparental support- I feel comforted and husband and I have found a way to move forward (I know it should have been an obvious plan but sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees!). Thank you all again so much :)

  • MrsDMDaviesMrsDMDavies Posts: 1,794 New bride

    A lot of people seem to think the initial outlay of equipment and loss of earnings whilst on maternity leave are what they need to budget for. But in my opinion it is the eventual cost of childcare after maternity leave, or the loss of earnings should you go part-time or stop work altogether that really matter. Full-time childcare can easily be well over £10,000 a year and loss of earnings if you don't go back full time is obviously down to the individual. A quick 10 minutes with a calculator can tell you whether it's affordable whichever option you choose after maternity leave finishes, but as the others have said most people do manage. You make things work. You can spend as little or as much as you like on baby equipment, clothes etc. You get given a lot as gifts, hand-me-downs, and mummy facebook selling pages and ebay are great for things like toys. Good luck with your journey whenever you decide to start. xx

  • Ciara4Ciara4 Posts: 51

    If you are ready to have a child, have a child. My H2B and I have a combined annual income of around £100k and we still worry about how we will afford children. I think no matter what you earn, you will always worry about it because you become accustomed to what you have so quickly. There is no 'perfect' time for babies, don't let anyone else's opinions sway you, the only opinions that matter are yours and your partner's! As others have said, everyone finds a way to manage and so will you x

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