Raising children is one of the most rewarding experiences a parent can have, but with the cost of doing so rising by 58% in the last decade, it's becoming more important to start thinking about the future.
Parents are now estimated to spend an average of more than £222,000 over the first 21 years, with the likes of university tuition, childcare and the cost of keeping up with the latest gadgets all adding to an ever-growing budget. Thankfully, whether it's a Junior ISA or a childcare voucher, there are a number of solutions out there to help relieve the financial stress, giving you more time to spend playing with the kids.
Junior ISAs are a great place to store your kid's cash, whether it's donations from generous grandparents or left over birthday money. Not only is it a tax efficient way to save a nest egg for your child's future, but you can also choose from Junior Cash ISAs and Junior Stocks and Shares ISAs, allowing you to save a maximum of £3,720 in any one tax year. Both stay tax-free until your child is 18, at which point you can advise them on how to boost their savings further.
Once you've reached the saving limit, you might want to think giving your child their very own bank account. This is an easy way to start nurturing their savings habit early, and there are plenty of options out there offering impressive interest rates. What's more, you can open an account with as little as £1.
Childcare costs rose by an average of 19% in the last year alone, so if you're planning to go back to work, it's worth looking into the best way of paying these bills. The Gov.uk website has guidance on the help that might be available, including childcare tax credits, childcare vouchers through your employer, and workplace nurseries. You can combine all of these helping hands to make a real impact on your outgoings.
No matter how young your child is, it's worth thinking about saving up for their time at university. While tuition fees paid by the Student Loans Company are only repaid by your child if they earn enough after graduation, the cost of renting rooms and buying books can still mount up. Putting a few pounds aside in an account from when they're very young can help to cushion the blow in the future.
Raising children isn't all about the money, but budgeting as a family will make sure that you have all the main costs covered, meaning there's always some left over for the fun stuff. You can use our free Money Dashboard software to help you track, plan and budget for your family's newest member, making it simple to keep on top of your finances and plan for the future.