The costs of having kids
Have you heard people say: “If you start calculating how much children cost, you would never have them!”?
A recent article in the Guardian stated that the cost of raising a child and supporting them through university could add up to over £227,000! I could not find any statistics for Luxembourg, but it is clear that the sums quickly add up if you take some of the monthly costs you have and multiply them by the number of years you’ll have to pay them.
So what kind of costs are there? And where can you save some money or start preparing the future right now?
The first baby requires somewhat of an initial investment (furniture, clothes, stroller …). The questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Do I really need all of this equipment? It can be a good thing to speak to other parents around you and ask what they think (and what stuff never left the box ).
- Are second hand things an option for you? There are several second hand shops around Luxembourg, selling everything from baby clothes to car seats, all of them in very good state (many of them still have the tag on!)
- Bio/handmade clothes vs. made-in China
Luckily, this is an investment you can reuse if you have other children; or do some family near you a big favor.
The costs related to daycare are mandatory for most families nowadays. According to a 2014 study by Eurydice/Eurostat costs for a full time place at the “crèche” can be as high as €1280 per month in Luxembourg. So it might be actually worth it for one of the parents to start working a bit less. Up to you to make your sums.
3 – 18 year olds, the school going years
Time to pick a school. There are many options in Luxembourg, public and private. There are no tuition fees for the Luxembourgish state schools or the European school (in case one of the parents is an employee of the European institutions). Private schools do charge a fee of course, but are probably an interesting option if you plan to leave Luxembourg within a few years.
It’s important to take into account additional educational expenses when you’re comparing schools and systems! Think of extra-curricular activities like arts and sports – some schools offer them, some don’t. Check out the option in the “Maison Relais” of your village and speak to the Youth Association for more options.
18 and over, helping them through higher education
A higher education studies for youngsters from Luxembourg more often than not implies a move to another country. And this again implies extra costs on top of any tuition fees (housing, traveling, telecom costs…)
Other costs include basic things like food, drink, clothes, holidays, toys, extra health insurance you might take…
An expanding family may also mean that it is necessary to move to a larger home or to renovate your current one.
Not all bad news
But it is not all bad news. Parents in Luxembourg are luckily still aided by the state with the likes of the “chèques services” to help you pay for child care, the” allocations familiales” (child benefit), a really cheap (and well organized) health care system, etc.
I am regularly amazed by all the activities that are organized in Luxembourg for children – and often free of charge at that! Or what to think about all the superb play areas in most of the communes?
What can you do?
As said before, the choices you make can have a considerable impact on the costs of raising your child. The important thing is to have a clear idea of the expenses you incur and how you will meet them. Even if your children are young, you can already start saving now for future education costs. Most banks offer special products, like insurance policies, to do this. Grandparents and godparents can chip in too! But you can of course also start by just setting up a savings account for your child; thanks to compound interest a monthly deposit of €100 during 18 years can grow into a nice sum!
The queen of cards. There are many different types and they offer many possibilities other than cashless payment, from differed repayment to additional guarantees on purchases.
3D Secure is an internationally recognised security standard for online payments. The service is limited in Luxembourg to credit cards.
If it’s true that when we shop in a store and handover physical cash, the pain of paying finds the act prompts more awareness about spending, and parting with cash may even hurt a bit more than swiping a bank card.