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The Cost Of Starting A Family: How Your First Child Will Impact Your Living Costs

  • A new study from MoneySuperMarket reveals the costs involved with adding on a new family member
  • See how living, shopping, and transport double in cost from a couple’s £13,436 through to a 3-person family at £27,508.
  • Having a 2nd bedroom adds on £122 to monthly rent on average in the UK

Whether as a couple, or as a single parent, having your first child can be the most exciting step in your life, but it can come with unforeseen costs. To help Britons understand how much it can cost to increase the size of your family, MoneySuperMarket has conducted research that looks at a series of metrics including home purchase, the weekly food shop and household bills.

Regular Payment Increases

To cover all regular payments like bills and rent, a person living alone has to spend about 45% of the average UK salary of £27,195.[1] However, living with a partner can actually cut down the costs, as bills only slightly increase from £12,161 to £13,248, but two salaries can contribute to paying them back.

Yet, the first child dramatically increases these costs by a huge £14,073 per year in living expenses such as, food, rent and transport alone. Some of the key factors that are affected are:

  1. Rent – Monthly rent for a one-bedroom house is an average of £840.This increases to £962 on average once you add a second bedroom – which will be needed as soon as your first child is able to sleep in a room alone. Most likely to be a family’s biggest outgoing, the child benefit (£20.70 a week for the first child and £13.70 for each child beyond this) pays for only 17% of the difference.[2]
  2. Property Purchase – the cost of buying a flat or house is also sizeably different when looking for a two-bedroom property, as the cost rises from £167,778 to £228,574 on average in the UK.
  3. Bills – Having your first child can incur a difference of around £212 on average to your gas, electricity and water bills through extra usage, perhaps including late-night cups of tea and twice-daily baths! Water and gas bills increase the most based on the number of people in a household, whereas the rise in electricity usage is comparatively low.
  4. Food Shop – The average weekly food shop for a couple and their child is about £42.70, as opposed to £37.20 for a couple. For single parents, the weekly food shop can be expected to double from £18.60 to £37.20 when expecting their first child.

Family Planning Matters

According to government data, average household expenditure increased 5% from 2016 to 2017. Since 2010, the cost of living has raised by £95.20 a week on average – that’s £4,950.40 per year.[3]

MoneySupermarket’s new research into the real and startling costs of having your first child prove why it is so important to plan ahead financially, and what to expect when you take the first steps in growing your family.

 Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket says,

“There are numerous factors that households across the UK have to consider when looking to increase the size of your family, whether it’s feeding an extra mouth or buying a bigger house. It is therefore important to see what you can do to bring these costs down, with household bills being a good place to start.

“Many consumers across the UK are unaware that they are currently overpaying on their energy bill, due to the fact that they are on an expensive standard variable tariff. For those who are considering increasing the size of their family, we urge them to take control of their finances and shop around for a competitive, fixed rate deal, either with a Big Six or new supplier. This means that the cost of each unit of gas and electricity you use is fixed for an agreed term – even if your supplier decides to increase prices. Switching could not be simpler – it literally takes five minutes online and you could save £250 or more. It’s a quick and easy way to bring down your bills ahead of your new arrival”.

For more costs of growing your family, and an insight into how it’ll affect other features of your life, check out the full study on the MoneySuperMarket website here.