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23 September 2018Last updated
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Parenting

The cost of raising kids around the world

Ever wondered how much it would cost to live somewhere else? We asked mothers in other countries to share their monthly budget sheet with us. Read on to find out how the UAE compares…

Louisa Wilkins
13 May 2015 | 12:00 am
  • Erin Meikle lives with her family in Canada.

    Source:Supplied

Canada

Erin Meikle, 38, is a physical therapist currently working as a manager at a public health authority. Her husband is a police officer and law student. They live with their two girls, aged five and seven, in Alberta.

What’s it like raising a family in Canada?

Based on my travels, I would say that Canada is not a costly place to live; in terms of expenses it’s average. A lot of Canadians are able to afford a home. Grade school and health care are free and costs for city leisure activities and recreation centres are subsidised. 
Post-secondary education institutions are also subsidised and grocery prices are average. It may not be the cheapest, but based on government services provided and the quality of life that the majority of Canadians enjoy, I think that we are pretty lucky and that it is a good place to raise kids.

Nursery and schooling

Preschool is C$110 (Dh330) for a half day. Schooling is free.

Housing

We own our home and pay C$1,286 (Dh3,854) per month on our mortgage payments.

Health care

Free except for medication, most dental services and alternative therapies. We also have health-care benefits from our work.

Childcare

Full-time daycare for one child costs C$790 (Dh2,370) per month. Childcare for before and after school costs C$430 (Dh1,290) per month. Alberta is one of the most expensive provinces for childcare.

Groceries per week

Approximately C$160 (Dh480).

Other major expenses related to raising kids in Canada?


Sporting activities can cost a lot.

Kiddie essentials

Litre of milk: Dh7

Loaf of bread: Dh7

Kids’ cinema ticket: Dh40

Nappies: Dh60 for 78 Pampers

Swimming: Dh20 each time

England

England

Kate Wederrell, 36, from the UK, has two children – Charlie, five, and Bella, two. She works part time as an occupational therapist. Her husband works in IT and they live in London.

What’s it like raising a family in the UK?

Childcare is the most expensive thing. When both of our children were in a private nursery for three days a week, the cost was actually more than our mortgage at the time – £1,300 (Dh7,140) plus per month. Holidays in the UK are also expensive, costing approximately £2,000 (Dh11,000) per week for a family of four to go to a resort like Center Parcs during half term. As a result, lots of families tend to go abroad. The cost of food has also increased, with many families now spending about £150-£200 (Dh800-Dh1,100) per week to feed a family of four. After-school clubs are about £6-£8 (Dh33-Dh44) per hour. This is also the average cost of a childminder per hour. In my case, as a mother of two young children, working full time doesn’t seem worth it… Once you’ve forked out for other people to look after your children, there’s not a lot left.

Nursery and schooling

Nursery costs about £400 (Dh2,200) a month for two days a week. School is free.

Housing

We own our place but I believe on average it’s about £1,200-£1,500 (Dh6,600-Dh8,200) per month to rent a two-bedroom flat in our area.

Health care


Health care is free.

Childcare

In our area, a childminder costs approximately £130 (Dh700) per month.

Groceries per week

I spend about £130 (Dh700).

Other major expenses related to raising kids in England?

Clothing, footwear and nappies. Also extracurricular and leisure activities, such as swimming lessons and football clubs.

Kiddie essentials

4.5 litres of milk: Dh11

Loaf of bread: Dh4

Kids’ cinema ticket: Dh33

Nappies: Dh33 for 24 Pampers

Swimming: Dh36 for a lesson

Singapore

Singapore

Christine Vavra, 37, from Canada, lives in Singapore with her husband and their daughter, nine-year-old Sophia. Christine works part time at her daughter’s school as a teaching and music assistant while husband Paul is an architect.

What’s it like raising a family in Singapore?

Even though Singapore is a large island, it is still an island, and things often run out of stock and are nowhere to be found. So you can end up paying a lot for regular items that shouldn’t cost much. Also, prices for most things are ridiculously high, but – sadly – you get used to it.

Nursery and schooling

We pay about SG$34,000 (Dh92,000) per year for schooling. There are local schools that charge just a few hundred dollars per year but it is very difficult for expats to get places in them. Even if we could get a place though, I wouldn’t want Sophia to go to a local school as it offers a different style of teaching and learning.

Housing

It really depends on the size and the age of the property. An expat family home could cost anything upwards of SG$4,000 (Dh10,800) per month. I would say the average is about SG$6,000-SG$10,000 (Dh16,360-Dh27,270) per month. We pay SG$7,300 (Dh19,800) per month.

Health care

Expats need health insurance; mine is covered by my husband’s company.

Childcare

I pay SG$15 (Dh40) per hour for a cleaner and babysitter.


Groceries per week

We eat out a lot on weekends and my husband often travels during the week, so I don’t spend much on groceries. Perhaps SG$200 (Dh500).

Other major expenses related to raising kids in Singapore?

Music and drama lessons come to almost SG$200 (Dh500) per week. Also I spend quite a bit on taxi fares; we don’t own a car here, as it is cheaper to use taxis and public transport.

Kiddie essentials

A litre of organic milk: Dh17

Loaf of bread: Dh8

Kids’ cinema ticket: Dh27-Dh40

Nappies: Dh71 for 64 Pampers

Swimming: Free for most families

US

US

Jen Simon, 37, is a freelance writer (Jensimonwriter.com) and a stay-at-home mum. Her husband is a lawyer and they live with their two boys, aged five and 20 months, in New Jersey.

What’s it like raising a family in the US?

I think it’s expensive to live the kind of life I feel like I should live as an adult and a parent. I want my boys to have healthy, organic food. For most people, that’s not even an option. For us, it’s a priority, so our food budget is pretty high. Also, we have lived in New York City for over a decade – we just moved to the suburbs of New Jersey. Taxes here are outrageous and the homes cost twice what they do in the Midwest. Childcare is often prohibitively expensive, making it tough for mums to go back to work. In my case, I didn’t go back to a full-time job because I would have basically been earning in order to pay for childcare.

Nursery and schooling

We pay $10,000 (Dh36,700) for our older son to go to pre-kindergarten. On the East Coast, that’s normal or even lower than some places. It’s much higher than the prices in the Midwest though. Next year, my son will start free state school.

Housing

We used to pay $3,750 (Dh13,775) a month for a small apartment in Brooklyn. That is ridiculously high compared to most areas of the country, but in our area, it was a good deal.

Health care

Health care is very expensive. My husband gets health-care insurance through his job, which is typical for most Americans.

Childcare

We spend $15 (Dh55) an hour for a babysitter to watch our two boys.

Groceries per week

I spend about $100 (Dh367) per week on organic groceries.

Other major expenses related to raising kids in the US?

We also spend a lot on activities for the kids, as well as car seats!

Kiddie essentials

4 litres of organic milk: Dh18

Loaf of bread: Dh9

Cinema ticket: Dh46

Nappies: Dh91 for 104 Pampers

Swimming: Dh300 for a summer

The Netherlands

The Netherlands

Anna-Martiene Dufornée, 31, from Canada, lives in the Netherlands with her husband and their eight-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son. Anna-Martiene works four days a week as a legal account assistant while her husband is CEO of a marketing media company and works four days a week in the office, and one day at home.

What is it like raising a family in Holland?

It’s not expensive to raise children here. In fact, it’s been rated as one of the top five places in the world to raise children by a Unicef/UN study. We feel our children are safe and well-educated, with access to healthy food and good health care, and we are still able to afford to pay for their sporting and extracurricular activities and to take several nice holidays (including one overseas) each year, plus countless outings and adventures on the weekends. The work-life balance allows us to enjoy raising our kids rather than just working all hours to afford them.

Nursery and schooling

Our daughter goes to a public school and it is free. A donation of €60 (Dh240) is encouraged, which goes towards the school celebrations and outings. This is normal for the Netherlands.

Housing

The average rent in the Netherlands is €500 (Dh1,970) per month with government funding.

Health care

Health care is not free. The average cost for health insurance per person (with dental) is €100 (Dh395) per month. However children go free on the parents’ insurance until they are 18.

Childcare

For two children, part-time daycare totals about €400 (Dh1,600) per month with government funding.

Groceries per week

€100 (Dh395) per week.

Other major expenses related to raising kids in Holland?

Clothes, sports, a car and petrol to get them around.

Kiddie essentials

Litre of milk: Dh2

Loaf of bread: Dh5

Cinema ticket: Dh41

Nappies: Dh227 for 204 Pampers

Swimming: Dh19 per person

Louisa Wilkins

By Louisa Wilkins

Editor