Any parent will tell you that having a child is expensive. Initial costs - cot, baby food, pram and 'Child Rearing for Dummies' (no pun intended) - are just the beginning.
Following on from that, you'll find yourself paying for them to get to school, for childcare on the rare occasion you have time to get out with your partner and invariably, ever more expensive toys.
So in between shelling out for the latest Barbie or Action Man, you'd have to be entirely immune to curiosity if you haven't yet wondered how much all this is costing you in the long term.
Santander has provided the answer for long-suffering parents who wonder when the Bank of Mum and Dad is going to get a bailout of some kind. According to their research, the average child costs around £313 every month.
That's £3,762 a year, or - assuming you don't run off and leave your offspring with an unsuspecting neighbour or milkman - £67,700 in total, from cot to the age of 18.
For those interested in percentages, the high costs represent around 14 per cent of the average salary in Britain (£26,100 a year, according to a report published this year by the CIPD).
Of course, the average cost varies enormously depending on where you live. Parents in Scotland have a particularly difficult time of it, with their annual spending amounting to a jaw-dropping £4,218.
Those in the south of England (excluding London) aren't much better off, having to shell out £4,163 a year for their kids.
Further analysis reveals that the actual cost could be even higher, as the survey doesn't take into account money spent on education or clothes.
But, as certain as we are of the high costs, we're equally sure that you'll be reading this feature and thinking: "They're more than worth every penny" because that's what parenting is all about.
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