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Can you bring up kids and avoid getting into debt?

New research from the Child Poverty Action Group (funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation) has found that the average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is £143,000. That's the equivalent of £150 per week (in North American terms, that's approximately $300,000 for 18 years). The basic cost of bringing up a child is rising faster than the CPI (Consumer Price Index) measure of inflation. On top of this, cuts to child benefits and wage freezes are making it harder for families to cover their costs. The cost of childcare is growing too - and can add a further £60,000 to the total cost of raising a child. A full-time job on National Minimum Wage is no longer enough to meet the basic costs of raising a child. This means that some parents will be faced with debts and other financial problems - especially if all of these costs continue to rise.
A spokesperson from Insolvency Practitioner Freeman Jones said: In the current climate, with rising costs exceeding wages for many people, it's a more expensive time than ever to be a parent. "Particularly at this time of year, with kids heading back to school again after the summer break, many families could see their purse strings stretched even further when it comes to covering the cost of school uniform, stationery, lunches, school trips, and so on. "And it's not just raising kids up to school-leaving age that could cost parents a fortune if they're not careful. With older kids heading off to university or perhaps temporarily back at home after graduation, the Bank of Mum and Dad is often still expected to pay out. "However, with all the other monthly essentials to take care of too - from heating & lighting and food, to mortgage payments and fuel costs - it's crucial that enough money is set aside each month to cover all costs."
The spokesperson had this advice for those who want to cut back on childcare costs: 
Planning: "A carefully planned budget is the best place to start. Taking a close look at everything you earn, how it's spent, what debts and savings you have: this could really help you to work out where you stand with your finances and how much you can realistically afford to spend on your monthly outgoings - not to mention where you could cut back on non-essential spending on the kids. "Planning ahead now could help you to take some pressure off your finances in the future too. If you can afford to put some money aside every month now, it could go a long way to covering future costs for your kids, e.g. college/university fees or helping them out with a deposit for their first flat/home. 
Save money now: "In terms of reducing the costs of bringing up kids now, being a bit more economical with your spending could go a long way. When it comes to things such as school uniform, recycling hand-me-downs and making repairs could help you to avoid the expense of buying brand new.
"If you find that you're seriously struggling to afford the cost of raising your kids, it could be a sign that you have a more serious underlying problem with your finances. If you're in this position, you should get some professional advice sooner rather than later, so you can deal with the problem."


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