If you’ve been keeping an eye on the papers, you might have noticed that it’s recently been revealed that daughters cost more to raise than sons. A survey carried out by Sainsbury’s Bank has shown that from the age of birth until they’re five years old, girls cost almost £300 more a year to raise than boys. And, to make matters worse, the difference in spending doubles during your children’s teenage years, with parents of teenage girls having to pay as nearly £600 year more than parents of boys of the same age.
But why is this the case, and does it have to be true for your family? Well, in the early years of raising a child, you might notice that clothes and toys for little girls (inexplicably) cost more than clothing and toys for little boys, with a pink item costing more than the same item in blue. Then, as your children grow older, you’ll find that teenage daughters want clothing, accessories and make-up. These products are marketed at teenage girls, but are priced for adult women, meaning you’re going to need to fork out to provide it. Most frustratingly of all is that many products often cost more for women than they do for men, with ‘women’s razors’, deodorants and shower gels labelled at higher prices than men’s, and haircuts being much pricier too.
So how can you afford everything without breaking the bank, ending up in debt or just plain panicking?
First, look into getting some help
Don’t forget that you might be entitled to a little bit of extra money from the government to help towards providing everything your children need. You can find out which benefits you can claim (including things such as childcare vouchers, tax credits and other forms of assistance) from the Money Advice Service.
Reuse and recycle!
First children are often very expensive: you need to pay for absolutely everything when you have your first child, including clothing, prams toys and other pieces of essential equipment such as cots and car seats. But, subsequent children don’t have to cost so much if you’re prepared to reuse and recycle your eldest child’s things: your second, third (and even fourth!) child can use the things you bought for your first baby, slashing the costs of raising a family.
Don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford. The final and most important thing to consider is that girls don’t have to cost more to raise than boys. It’s true that girls’ clothing is typically more expensive than boys clothing, so why not consider dressing your daughters in gender-neutral clothes, or do away with gender stereotypes by clothing them in ‘boy’ outfits, for example?
And, as your sons and daughters grow into teenagers, don’t feel too pressured to buy them things that are marketed as clothing and accessories for adults – these items are going to come at a higher price, so consider making sure that they have a part time job to help to contribute towards the cost of paying for the ‘extras’ that they want on top of the day to day essentials.