Tuesday 15 July 2014

How much does it cost to feed a 10 year old?

My son JJ is 10 years old, nearly 11 and he is a big, tall strapping lad, practically as tall as me and he even has the same size feet. So it stands to reason that he wants to eat nearly as much as I do and it can be hard at times to rationalise whether I should be putting as much on his plate as I have or not. I don't want him to end up overweight like me so I tend to go with giving him less and then he can ask if he is still hungry and wants a little more.

NatWest asked me to look at my spending habits and to work out how much I spend on JJ's food each week. Their Child Cost Calculator estimates that JJ will cost me about £40 a week in food (as he is in the 4 - 12-year-old age group) and I was a bit flabbergasted at this initially but upon thinking about it a bit more I realise it depends on what is happening in that week.

An average food shop for the five of us is about £100 a week and then I will sometimes top this up with extra bread, milk, fruit and vegetables so you might be looking as high as £120 but that will include all cleaning products, toiletries and household items. So the true cost of the food is about £100 and if you divide that by the 5 of us then that is £20 each, add in maybe one or two school meals a week and that's another £4 and a Twix after swimming and 50p sweets in the shop once a week is another £1. So now I am up to £25 in a week and fairly often we will have a meal out, sometimes it will just be a MacDonald's for convenience and that's about another £4 or if we are heading out somewhere nicer then it could be more like £10, which would then get it closer to the £40 mark that the NatWest calculator suggests.

I had a lot of fun using the calculator and seeing what it believes the cost of bringing up a child is, the estimated cost before you put any of your own edits in is just over £307K and that seems crazy to me but I suppose if you are paying school fees and hefty amounts in childcare it soon adds up and if you are earning a city salary, maybe that does not seem that much. I chose to adjust the calculator to suit our family's lifestyle and using educated guesses it looks as if my kids are costing me about £52K each over the course of the first 17 years of their lives. As I have three children that is in excess of £150K to bring up the kids and it worked out to £9100 per year in child-related costs. That seems pretty scary to me, as it does not even take into account your housing, utility bills or others essentials like that but I would not change it for anything.

Before having the children I had lots of disposable income, nice cars, abroad holidays and a massive wardrobe but their cries of Mummy when I arrive home after being away mean far more to me now than the money did.

Why don't you check out the NatWest Child Cost Calculator and see if your costs match up to what the research says a child will cost? It breaks the costs down into four age groups - 0-12 months, 1-3 years, 4-12 years and then 13-17 years which is good as it reflects that costings in various areas do change depending on the child's abilities and needs.

Let me know how much your cost comes out at for the first 17 years. Can you beat my £52K per child?  I think I did quite well getting it down to that and my kids certainly aren't missing out on anything.

Disclosure: NatWest have kindly sent me some Sainsburys vouchers to spend on my shopping and test out how much I spend on JJ's food. They have not instructed me what to write and I remain honest.

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