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Essentials and indulgences

UK parents spend £28 billion on nation’s under-fives each year

UK parents spend around £35,000 on their children by the time they reach their fifth birthday, according to research released by Aviva. This adds up to a total of more than £28 billion[1] spent on the nation’s 4 million under-fives each year.

Varying expenses
The study of more than 2,000 parents with children aged 0-5, discovered that parents typically spend £7,026 a year – or £586 a month – on essentials and indulgences for their youngsters. This includes the cost of everything from basics such as nappies and milk formula, to extras such as toys and baby ballet classes.

The cost of raising children to age five also differs widely across the country, with parents in London paying more than double the amount paid by parents in Wales and the North West.

Those in the capital say that they pay an average of £894 per month – or £10,731 per year. This is in comparison to a more modest £408 a month (or £4,901 annually) in Wales.

Under considerable pressure
The research also revealed that parents feel under considerable pressure to spend on their youngsters. One in five (18%) say they feel compelled to spend in order to keep up with other parents. This is perhaps fuelled by the fact that more than a third (36%) of parents questioned say they know other parents who boast about how much they spend on their children. However only a modest one in seven (14%) admit to giving in to their children’s demands and buying things they don’t really need.

Making financial plans
There is good news in that many of these parents with youngsters under six have made financial plans for their children’s futures, with more than half (52%) having opened a savings account in their children’s names, while 37% have opened a Junior Individual Savings Account (ISA) or a Child Trust Fund. A forward-thinking 8% have started saving for a house deposit for their children and the same have started a university fund for them.

Source data:
[1] Research carried out by ICM, surveying 2,002 parents with children aged 0-5 in November 2014. Figure compiled by multiplying the number of children aged under five in the UK, according to ONS mid 2013 data (4,013,861) by the average annual cost spent by parents on under fives annually (£7,026).
[2] Costs are based on mean averages across all respondents, although some parents will pay considerably more for certain expenses (such as childcare) while others will pay less.

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