Having a third child – how much does it really cost?

The cost of having a third child?

I have a very popular post on Mrs Mummypenny about money saving and making 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, having that third child cost a lot in extra expenses and has also saved some money in a few circumstances.  I wanted to share the big things that impacted us financially.

Our Home

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 children definitely encouraged 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 much more room for our bigger family and it meant that the boys could have one bedroom each, more important for later years as teenager when privacy is very important.

It turned out to be a good investment as the 80k cost of the work added on around £120k to the value of the house, comparing valuations before and straight afterwards.

extension is complete

Our car

When our youngest was born, we had a five-year-old, three-year-old and a new baby. We needed three big car seats and our current car couldn’t fit the seats, disaster! After some research I bought a pre-registered/ nearly new 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 £20k.

The baby gear

Yeah for a saving! We bought very little new things for J. 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 J was born.

Aldi Baby & Toddler Event and how to Make a nappy cake


After around a year I went back to work full-time in London. I needed full-time care for the youngest, part time care for my middle son who was at pre-school and before and after school care for my eldest. This was a shocker of a time for childcare costs and the bill was always more than £1000 a month.

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 children means that two rooms are required. I have to admit for any UK holidays I just said there were 2 children 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 Mark Warner holidays, sometimes discounted in return for a review. Everything is included for the whole week, from water sports to food, childcare to entertainment. During term time these holiday costs around £600-800 per person, going up to around £1000 to £1400 per person during school holidays per week.

Childhood Activities and Entertainment

Of course, there is additional cost with a third child here, and 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 a lot of money from the age of 5, he is now 16 and I have worked out his football career is costing me around £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.

debt confession update 1

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 life, 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?


More to explore


Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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