The expensive business of raising a family.

Financial family planningNew figures out this week suggest it costs £148,000 to raise a child until the age of 18. It’s a figure I can well believe. I’m in the middle of school uniform shopping – Olivia starts primary school next month while William will begin his pre-school sessions – and the monetary amounts involved are enough to make your eyes water.

Take the other day. I took Olivia and William shoe shopping with the aim of buying them each a pair of smart, gleaming, sturdy shoes to see them through what will most likely only be the first term. Half an hour or so after walking into the shop we left, my bank balance more than £70 lighter thanks to the cost of 2 pairs of children’s shoes and some polish.

Yes, raising children is an expensive business.

My husband and I have discussions from time to time about the possibility of having a third child. I know that Olivia hankers after a little sister to play with (she has told me so on numerous occasions) and I would dearly love to fall pregnant again. The husband however, is one of those irritating types who like to use their head before following their heart.

“No,” he says flatly. “We can’t afford it. Not right now.”

I hate to admit it but he has a point. With a house to finish renovating, any spare cash we may have each month is eaten up by our ‘house fund’.

While many of us may not like to think about it too much, ‘affordability’ is a major consideration when having children. Before we started trying for a family, my husband and I did our sums to make sure we could afford childcare and other expenses on top of the existing mortgage, utility bills, shopping etc. It was a vital (albeit cumbersome) thing to do. Think of it as ‘financial family planning’.

It’s easy for your brain to get into a kerfuffle over this sort of stuff but thankfully, there are online tools available to make these calculations a little easier. Thank goodness such things exist; if my husband wasn’t the brainiac that he is when it comes to sums, we would definitely have gotten ourselves into a tangle with all the maths. And if our sums hadn’t have been right, we could have ended up in all sorts of bother.

It’s just a shame one of those tools can’t tell me exactly what I need to do to persuade my husband to change his mind when it comes to one more baby. Or is that what the Karma Sutra is for?

Please note: This post has been commissioned by Family Investments.