Christine A Howard

Raising a Family on a Tight Budget

One UK study shows that the typical cost of raising a child that was born in 2016 is £231843, and that’s just one. You might have to spend up to £70000 on childcare, £74000 on education and other school expenses. Families spend £19004 on extra food for a child, £10942 on clothes, £9307 on toys and other activities and over £4000 on pocket money. This is a 65% rise since a similar study was carried out in 2003.

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child playing outside


But, we haven’t all got that kind of money lying around. In fact, most of us have nowhere near these figures. £231843 over 21 years works out at £11040 a year, for each child. That’s without mortgage payments, food and clothes for the rest of the family, fuel, utilities, council tax and luxuries for yourself. But, the average annual income in the UK was only £27600 in 2015.


Many young people are being put off buying a house, getting married and having children, simply because they can’t afford it. But, should you? Is it still possible to raise a family on a tight budget? Well, most parents find that children cost what you have got. If you are a millionaire, you’ll want to give your children all of it. If you earn £1500 a month, you’ll want to give them all of that too. As parents, we want to give our children everything that we have, and we’ll find ways to do it, no matter what our income is. Here are some tips to help you raise your family on a tight budget.




When it comes to raising your family on a budget, sometimes you need to learn to prioritise. As a parent, you’ll always put your child first, but this becomes even more important when you are living on a tight budget. Things like food for your family are more important than a night out with your friends.


Don’t Blow Your Budget on Holidays


You might want to take your children on holiday. Holidays are, after all, an essential part of their social and physical development, and a great way to spend some time together as a family. But, you don’t need to take an expensive trip abroad, you could have the same, if not better, experiences camping somewhere near home.


Camping is a fantastic way to get a great holiday without spending a fortune, and in many ways, it’s a better way to spend time with your family. You’ll learn more about nature and spend quality time together away from technology and real-life distractions.

kids sitting outside on chairs


Get What You are Entitled to


We live in a culture where some people will claim every benefit that they can and avoid work. But, we also live in a society where some people are too proud to claim the things that they are entitled to. Hard working parents suffer because they are unwilling to ask for help. But, support is out there.


Check to see what you and your family might be entitled to. There’s child tax credit, working tax credit and child benefit. But, there are also childcare options. If you are on a low income, you might be entitled to free childcare hours for a two-year-old, and whatever your income, your child will be entitled to 15 or 30 hours free once they turn three. This can be used with a childminder or nursery long as they are approved and offer the free hours. If you aren’t eligible for free childcare, you might be able to claim up to 70% of your costs as the childcare element of working tax credit. Or, your employer might offer tax-free childcare vouchers. Remember, you’ve got nothing to lose by applying for things.


Borrow Sensibly


When you are on a tight budget, it can be tempting to borrow money to ease the financial strain, or to cover the cost of Christmas and birthdays. Especially when you hear your friends talk about what they are buying their children or how much they are spending.


But, this can be a mistake, and borrowing even with credit cards for bad credit no deposit should only be done sensibly, after careful consideration.


Get Crafty


flowers in jars that spell home



A lot of money can be saved, by getting crafty. You can make birthday and Christmas cards and gifts for your friends and family. You can also make decorations for your home, and especially for your children’s bedrooms. But, perhaps your most significant saving will be in keeping your children occupied.


Days out can be costly. You pay for travel, for tickets to attractions, for lunch and for souvenirs. Occasionally, this is great. But, all the time and it will break the bank. So, learn how to have fun at home. Introduce your children to crafts and start having fun together in your house.


Easy Tips for Raising Your Family on a  Tight Budget

Buy Second Hand


Children, especially very young ones, don’t care if something is new. A baby won’t know if they are sleeping in a brand new cot. They won’t know if their toys are new or their clothes have been worn before. So, don’t waste your money buying everything new. Look online, shop in charity stores and look at cards in your local shop window.


Babies and toddlers only wear things for a short amount of time, so items like second-hand coats can be nearly as good as new at a fraction of the cost.


Avoid Brand Names


Somethings can’t be bought second hand. But, you can still save money by avoiding luxury products and brand names. Especially when it comes to shopping for clothes and food. When shopping in supermarkets, buy own brand and basic ranges, and you could save a fortune every week.

The Frugal Mom's Guide to Raising a family on a tight budget


Plan for Special Occasions


Occasions like Christmas and birthdays can be very expensive. But, you know that they are coming, so you’ve got the time to prepare. Start shopping for the next Christmas in the January sales, make the most of events like Black Friday, and shop throughout the year to spread the cost.


Remember, Things Don’t Matter


It’s important to remember that products and purchases don’t matter. Relationships and experiences do. Your children won’t remember everything that you buy them, but they will remember the time that you spend with them.

Raising a Family on a Tight Budget


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