The cost of single parenting

In collaboration with PayPlan

Let’s think about the cost of single parenting shall we? There’s the relentless pressure of being solely responsible for bringing up children, self-neglect, money spent on treats to alleviate guilt over them not having two decent parents, helping them become independent, ultimate loss of sanity

I jest!

(Sort of.)

This post is actually more about the financial cost of being a single parent, inspired by research from PayPlan, a debt advice service, into the unfair costs of activities and days out for single parent families.

Generally you might think that being a single parent would be cheaper – there is only one of you after all – but the reality is that it’s anything but. For starters you still need pretty much the same sized house, and your bills are basically the same, save for the 25% discount on council tax. Your children need all the same stuff. The difference is though that you’re paying for it ALL BY YOURSELF.*

In my case I did save a fair bit of money after my last partner moved out, but that was more about his slapdash approach to his own (and therefore my) finances. He also wasn’t the father of either of my children (the scandal!) so probably not quite the same anyway.

In terms of days out specifically, it has definitely been my experience that you miss out on discounts as a single parent family, as ‘family tickets’ for things tend to be based on a family of two adults and multiple children. The research from Payplan, which is summarised in the infographic below, backs up my own experiences.

Now you might look at the results and think ‘Okay, fair enough though, if you’re going on ‘cost per adult’ then obviously it’s going to be more for single parents as you don’t have anyone to split it with’, but if you have a look further down in the infographic you’ll see that PayPlan has also worked it out on a cost per head basis. Under this way of working, single parents are STILL getting a raw deal – in every example the cost PER PERSON works out higher for single parents, because they don’t get to enjoy the discounts that result simply from being in a relationship.

It hardly seems fair does it?

What are your experiences of managing your finances as a single parent? Do you feel swindled on days out just because you’re not part of a couple? Leave a comment and let me know!

Cost of single parenting

*Completely by myself in my case, or for the last six years at least, since Bee left home, as Belle’s dad has never paid me any maintenance. FUN FACT.



  1. Lynsey Buchanan
    17 August, 2019 / 4:57 am

    I very much agree with your article and find this out of touchn as there are a large percentage of single parent familys in this day and age.

    I enter competitions and search for local days out as if it was not for these prizes we would not be able to attend many of the days out we have experienced as I could not afford them thanksfully I have won many family tickets and have been able to take a friend (adult) and let my daughter take a friend and been able to spoil them on the day as did not have to purchase the tickets. ,

    no thanks to #deadbeatdad

    • Jo Middleton
      19 August, 2019 / 11:01 am

      I do think family days out to thinks like amusement parks are crazy expensive at the best of times – I wonder how ANY kind of family affords them! I’m really lucky in that we get to go to them sometimes for free for blog reviews, but otherwise I would find it really hard to justify the expense.

  2. 18 August, 2019 / 1:36 pm

    Sad but true, im in australia and its the same here. Never get a good deal because we are not a ‘family’. These places should have passes for groups of any age, like a car pool lane haha

    • Jo Middleton
      19 August, 2019 / 11:00 am

      Yes, exactly! A family could just be two or more people – any kind!

  3. Yvonne
    29 August, 2019 / 8:48 pm

    Sadly I can only agree. Being from Germany, I have to say, it is the same here, family reductions are based on two adults and it’s extremely bad for holidays as it is a greater expense anyway!
    It feels like families with only one parent are not wanted! Still.

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