Costs include child-minding, furniture, toys, hobbies, food, clothes and holidays to name but a few. This doesn't even account for the inevitable school fees if you are a) Posh b) a shameless social climber with a massive inferiority complex about your own upbringing or c) You live in London which means you only have the choice of private education or a gang infested inner city comprehensive where year 9s carry knives and teachers have nose studs.
Here at Hapless Dad we think this situation is completely unacceptable. So here is our essential guide to saving money on your child's up-bringing:
Note: This guide is intended for your first child only. Every one knows that your second child is brought up like a Romanian orphan.
- Do not attend the birth. This may sound harsh but the cost of hospital parking is astronomical. If you are there for some time you will be forced to spend £8 on a sausage roll and a cup of coffee, no matter how organised you are with packed lunches. Don't take the risk.
- During early labour, phone the midwife in a really panicked voice screaming "something's wrong". This will have two benefits. Firstly your perfectly healthy partner will be rushed to hospital in an ambulance thus saving petrol and wear and tear to your vehicle. Secondly, having one adult less in the house has knock on benefits for variable costs such as lighting, heating and water usage.
- As soon as your wife is feeling strong enough to venture out after the birth, phone all your credit card companies to say your cards have been stolen. This will prevent any impulse purchases of must have items like prams that cost the same as unicorn tusks or books on baby signing. There is also the possibility of your wife getting arrested whilst trying to use the card. No explanation needed.
- Enrol on an NCT parenting class. This will ensure that your partner is battered into breastfeeding using a combination of uncontrollable guilt and "science". As a result your new born will be strapped to your partner's unfeasibly large boobies 24 hours a day. This has two benefits. There is the obvious cost saving in terms of formula, bottles, flasks and bottle heating thingies. It also negates the need for any baby furniture as your spawn will have to be carried and share your bed for the first 2 years of it's life.
- Buy adult nappies for your child. The first years of any child's life revolve around poo and wee which often reaches up to it's neck (and yours). If you wrap your child in adult nappies they will be fully protected from head to toe. From a cost point of view you won't have to buy any clothes until the child is at least 3.
- Choose your school for the right reasons. Most parents choose schools on the basis of geography or reputation. Alternatively pick a school that you know is attended by friend's children who are slightly older than yours. This will create 15 years of uniform hand-me-downs.
- Always offer to have a spare key for neighbour's houses. As we all know, taking kids on holiday is shit. It is ludicrously expensive given that it's got to be during the school holidays and the fact that children over a certain age can't be stowed in the hold of your easy jet flight to Alicante. Once there you will quickly find that you do exactly the same things as when you are at home but your wallet is £4k lighter. Having a key to a neighbour's property will allow you to move in there when they go away. This will save money, give a feeling of a change of scenery and you can still go swimming 4 times a day just as you would have done at centre parks.
- Take up taxidermy. Kids want pets and pets are expensive. There is the food, the vets bills and the new kitchen you'll need after your Labrador has eaten your oven. Stuffing a dead rat, badger or family member's deceased Iguana will give your kids the enjoyment of pet ownership without the costs. It will be some time before they realise it's not a real pet and by then they'll be addicted to the xbox and won't give a shit.
- Invest in sky plus. It might sound like a contradiction in terms for a money saving article. However sky plus allows you to record children's programs and, most importantly, fast forward through the adverts. An advert free life will mean you are not emotionally blackmailed into buying Skylanders, Moshi Monsters, Pokémon, Transformers or whatever ridiculously expensive con trick is on trend.
- Organise your meals around the 5:2 fasting diet. You and your children will reap the benefits of a healthy, more natural existence based on the "scientific fact" behind this diet fad, sorry phase, sorry lunacy. Most importantly for two days a week you don't have to feed your children. This equates to 104 days a year. On even a modest spend of £10 per day on kid's food this equates to over £1000 per year. Savings are doubled or even tripled if you make sure fast days fall on birthdays and at Christmas.
You could spend the money you save on a nice sports car to accompany your inevitable mid life crisis. Don't do it. Put the savings towards a university fund. You need to make sure they get into a college hundreds of miles away otherwise they'll be living with you well into their 30s.
This article is not indorsed by any money saving web sites and has little or no basis in fact. Estimated savings are based on guesswork.