The cost of having a third child?
I have a very popular post on Mrs Mummypenny about money saving during maternity leave. It was my personal experience on how I saved thousands. It got me thinking about what else I can write about from those early years to help my readers. A post on how much having having a third child costs has been brewing!
I have three boys. And having the third boy has cost us a lot in extra expenses but has also saved us some money in a few circumstances. I wanted to share the big things that impacted us financially.
We originally lived in a three-bedroom semi-detached house (third bedroom being a tiny box room). Around six months after my third son was born, we decided to extend the house to give us much more living space downstairs, an extra bathroom and an extra bedroom. It was a fairly big double storey extension which took around four months to complete. Having three kids definitely encouraged us to make these changes.
This work cost around £80k, funded from equity released from the home and some inheritance. Was it absolutely necessary? It wasn’t a ‘have to’ but it gave us much more room for our bigger family and it would mean that the boys could have one bedroom each as and when they needed it.
It turned out to be a good investment as the 80k cost of the work added on around £120k to the value of our house, comparing valuations before and straight afterwards.
When Jack was born, we then had a five-year-old, three-year-old and a new baby. Meaning three big car seats and our car couldn’t fit the seats, disaster! Off we went for a bit of research and ended up buying a pre-registered Ford S-Max. Sensible, reliable, lots of room, boring, but it did the job whilst the boys were little. Buying a pre-registered car is great way to save a chunk of money, the car has already been registered by the garage so you are the second owner and save a big chunk of VAT 20% tax as well as more discounts for being the second owner. These cars will always have very low mileage, the same as a new car. This car cost us £20k.
The baby gear
Yeah for a saving! We bought very little new things for Jack. Having already had two boys we were set up for baby hood. We already had the pushchair, cot, clothes, toys. And anything we didn’t have came in gifts from generous friends and family when Jack was born.
After around a year I went back to work full-time in London. I needed full-time care for Jack, part time care for middle son Josh who was at pre-school and before and after school care for Dylan my eldest. This was a shocker of a time for childcare costs and the bill was always more than £1000.
Holidays would always be a balancing act between paying for childcare, asking for help from friends and family. This cost was always a huge drain on the finances and meant that I had no choice but to return to work full time to pay for this cost, the equivalent of paying two mortgages.
Suddenly holidays became more of a challenge to keep the costs down. Even hotel stays became more of a challenge. Having three kids means that two rooms are required. I have to admit for anything we did in the UK I just said there were 4 of us so we could fit into a family room, sneaking the little one in un-noticed. We always got away with it when the boys were smaller!
Holiday abroad were different. Two rooms were always required making the cost zoom up. We did a few holidays booking self-catering accommodation but add to that the cost of five flights and entertainment and food for five people. Holidays became expensive. We did a week in a French Center Parcs but managed to spend around £4k altogether once you added in accommodation, food, activities. Two weeks self-catering in Southern Spain set us back £5k. Both holidays were with me doing all I could to make savings on the accommodation, travel, car hire. So it’s fair to say that having three kids did increase our holiday spend.
In the end I figured an all inclusive or even half board was the best value option. So, we have done a couple of Mark Warner holidays, normally discounted in return for a review. Everything is included for the whole week, from water sports to food, childcare to wine. During term time these holiday costs around £500-600 per person, going up to around £1000 to £1200 per person during school holidays.
Childhood activities and Entertainment
Of course, there is additional cost with a third child here, but we have found that we haven’t been able to commit to expensive activities for child three, certainly not as much as child one or even child two. Our first born has always played a lot of sport, costing us a lot of money from the age of 5, he is now 12 and I have worked out his football career is costing us at least £2k per year (academy football despite no coaching costs is hugely expensive in petrol, kit, tours, boots).
My youngest has decided, maybe because he has been dragged around to so much football, that it isn’t for him. He prefers a trip to the zoo or the farm, which I am more than happy with.
I think there is a tendency to spoil your first born, maybe your second gets the same when its just two of them, but the cost of matching everything for the third is just too much.
Yes, having three kids costs a lot of money!
A rough estimate is that having a third child has probably cost around £100k for his first few years of lie, when I consider the extension and the new car… eekkkk. Think carefully when considering that third child. Can you really afford all the extra costs?