The Costs of Raising a Child Soar in 2023

The cost of raising a child in the United Kingdom continues to soar, reaching new heights in 2023. Recent research conducted by digital wealth manager Moneyfarm reveals that parents now face an average expense of £223,256 to raise a child to the age of 18, representing a significant 10% increase compared to the previous year.

Key Points:

  • The average cost of raising a child to 18 in 2023 is £223,256, a 10% increase from last year.
  • Raising a child can range from £144,012 to £386,000 depending on a family’s budget.
  • Cultural and leisure activities, infant formula and food have experienced significant price hikes.
  • Fuel expenses associated with driving a child around amount to a whopping £17,118.
  • The period between 15 and 18 years old remains the most expensive time to raise a child.

The Main Cost Categories

Categories 2022 2023 % Price Increase
Social and cultural activities £3,145 £4,193 +33%
Infant milk and formula £483 £585 +21%
Food £31,682 £36,980 +17%
Holidays £1,269 £1,484 +17%
After school and holiday care £16,776 £19,191 +14%

The period between 15 and 18 years old remains the most expensive time in a child’s life, with costs reaching an average of £57,082. This phase includes expenses for holidays, social activities, food, clothing, technology, and personal grooming products, as children approach adulthood.

Cost Breakdown by Age Ranges

Age Ranges Total Average Cost 2022 Total Average Cost 2023
Pregnancy £3,530 £4,071
0-3 £44,097 £48,270
4-5 £23,149 £22,772
6-8 £29,590 £32,954
9-11 £27,847 £30,465
12-14 £24,656 £27,642
15-18 £49,791 £57,082

From pregnancy to 18 years old, the total average cost has increased from £202,660 to £223,256.

The Rising Costs in Detail

Cultural and Leisure Activities

Entertaining and keeping your child active and stimulated, whether through theatre, sports clubs, or cinema visits, has seen the steepest hike in prices. Venues have passed on the rising costs they face, resulting in a 33% increase in the cost of a range of cultural and leisure activities monitored by Moneyfarm. This expense has risen from £3,145 in 2022 to £4,193 in 2023.

Infant Formula and Food

Feeding a child, both as a baby on formula and later on regular meals, has become significantly more expensive. Rising energy costs, production difficulties, and increased transport and packaging overheads have made imports more costly. As a result, families now spend £5,000 more on feeding a child over the course of 18 years based on current prices. The cost of food progressively increases as the child gets older, ranging from an average of £3,839 between the ages of 0-3 to a staggering £11,643 for children between 15 and 18 years old.

Subscription Services and Tech Devices

According to a report by Loughborough University, a basic Netflix subscription is no longer sufficient for social inclusion. Young adults now require additional tech gadgets such as phones, mobile speakers and smart TVs to fully participate in modern life. The average expenditure on subscriptions for children between the ages of 6 and 18 is £4,003. Additionally, parents can expect to spend £5,101 on tech devices like computers, laptops, tablets, games consoles, and smartphones.


The most expensive period to clothe a child falls between 15 and 18 years old. Parents spend an average of £3,766 during this time to help their teens keep up with the latest fashion trends. By the time the child turns 18, parents will have spent a total of £12,621 on clothing, even when trying to save money wherever possible.

Fuel Expenses

Transporting children to and from various locations such as school, clubs, activities, and playdates can be costly. Moneyfarm’s research reveals that an average of £17,118 is spent on fuel directly attributed to driving a child around during their upbringing in an average-sized family car.

Social and Cultural Activities

Culture vulture parents can expect to spend £4,193 on enriching activities for their children, including trips to the theatre, cinema, and concerts. Sports clubs, classes, and activities starting from the age of 4 will cost the average UK parent £14,500. Hosting and attending children’s parties amounts to an expense of £4,100 over 18 years, while purchasing presents for an average of ten parties per year will cost £2,700.

Pocket Money

Even pocket money is subject to inflation. Last year, parents spent an average of £7,780 from the time their child turned 5 years old until 18. This year, the figure has risen to £8,169 as parents aim to provide their children with more financial independence.

Chris Rudden, Head Investment Consultants at Moneyfarm, highlights that while the average cost of raising a child has risen to £223,256, families can still make more economical choices based on their individual circumstances. The expense varies greatly, ranging from £144,012 to £386,000, depending on disposable income. Rudden advises parents to plan ahead, budget wisely, and create a solid financial plan to ensure both their child’s best possible life and their own financial stability.

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