The cost of bringing up a boy is often unexpected. We tend to assume boys are not fussed about belongings – but there are plenty of other things boys want. From match tickets to computer games, here’s how to manage the cost.
Lessons and classes
Whether it’s football, rugby or tennis, boys’ classes can become pretty expensive.
Firstly, share lifts with other parents to save on petrol – and save on your taxi service!
Some sports require equipment that’s a cost in its own right. Try to make this something that’s bought as a present, so your son appreciates the expense and cherishes his gift.
For sports kit, pool resources with other mums to buy and sell off each other. Club notice boards allow parents’ adverts, so advertise here. Take advantage of any second hand sales they have. Even if your son is precious about his kit, these can be spares when the other lot are caked in mud!
Boys’ toys quite quickly become obsessions with branding. Whether it’s Spiderman or Dr Who, these brands are often sold at high prices to cash in on parents who feel they have little choice.
These things needn’t cost a bomb. Car boot sales, charity shops and school fairs often have the toys in good condition, just minus the box. Let him choose something as an incentive for good behaviour or hard work.
Then for big items or latest stuff, make your son wait for Christmas or a birthday. Explain there will always be ‘the latest’ version in the shops, but that doesn’t diminish how great his one is.
The problem with boys and their clothes doesn’t relate to what they want. It’s how quickly they spoil them, climbing trees and skidding over in the mud!
So overcome this by having ‘play clothes’ and ‘best clothes’. Explain the best ones for parties and family visits limit what he can do when wearing them.
Then get to your local NCT Nearly New Sale for plenty of clothes at minimal cost. Let him wear these to climb trees, have play fights and go skateboarding so he can play freely. The worst thing he can damage now is himself!
Clubs and teams
If your son supports a particular team you’ll already know what an incredible cost this can be. Never mind if Dad’s a fan too!
Deal with this one by allocating a budget to it – and sticking to it. Whether it’s a monthly or annual amount, make your son aware of what the limit is.
Then whether it’s a new T-shirt or tickets to a match he’s after, it’s down to him to allocate that budget. Once the budget’s spent, either watch it on TV wearing last season’s kit, or wait for him to get a Saturday job and pay himself!
Boys tend to be content with the same bike or scooter until they outgrow it, being more interested in the activity than appearances. But what can cost a bomb are computer games.
So plan ahead instead to buy in the sales. Catalogues and game stores have frequent sales, but often at times when no-one’s buying. So get the ones your son’s after in advance where possible. Try eBay for specific ones second hand. If he wants more games after that, encourage him share with his friends instead to spread the cost.
Finally, make your son aware that there’s a family budget to be shared with everyone. The earlier he understands about cost the sooner he’ll appreciate he can’t have it all!
Do you have a daughter as well? Find out how to raise a girl on a budget.