If you are a parent, or about to become one, you’ll find there are many wonderful experiences that you can enjoy with your children. Making memories with them and enjoying them while they are little is an incredible feeling.
However, it is also expensive, and it’s important to know this from the outset so that you can be prepared. Whether it’s the extra food, the clothes, the days out, the school uniform and trips, or anything else, it is all going to cost money. Here are some useful tips for parents when it comes to finances.
Going to the supermarket without really knowing what it is you want to buy will usually mean you spend more than you would have done if you’d had a plan and made a list. This is just one example of when this is the case, but it is true in many situations in life. If you plan ahead and know exactly what it is you want, you won’t waste money by buying the wrong thing, or by being tempted by other items you wouldn’t usually purchase.
Plan ahead as much as possible, and you’ll often be able to save money. Day trips are another example. Although it’s fun to be spontaneous and to surprise your kids with a day out, if you plan it in advance, you can buy tickets online for a cheaper price in many cases. Be aware of this and plan accordingly.
Have Fewer Services
When you are budgeting for a family, take a look at the services you pay for. What monthly costs are outgoing and what do they cover? Is it possible to reduce any of those services? You might, for example, be signed up for Amazon Prime, but do you really use it? Is it worth the money? What about your mobile phone? Is there a way to reduce the cost – are you paying for services you have never used and are unlikely to use?
Carefully look through your bank account and determine what you are paying for that is unnecessary, and cancel those services and subscriptions when you can. You will be able to streamline your money more easily.
Save Where You Can
Throughout life, not just when you have children, there will be situations that require emergency funding. This is where having at least a small pot of savings can really help. Try to put a little money aside each month, and you will always have the money to pay for a school trip, new shoes, a new tyre or fix for the car, or for buying Christmas and birthday presents, for example.
Saving isn’t always easy, but if you set up a standing order to put a certain amount of money aside each month, soon you won’t even miss it, and the money will add up nicely.
Of course, if you have an emergency and don’t have the savings, a payday loan could be the answer. On this website, you can find out more about how they work. As long as you know, you can pay the money back; this can be a great short term solution to your funding problem.
It doesn’t matter what you are buying or where you are buying it from; it is crucial to research pricing before you commit to buy. The good news is that the internet has made this extremely easy. Now you can type in what you are looking for and get a range of prices from a variety of websites, or even physical stores. You can then narrow down your shortlist and look more closely, taking into account reviews, delivery costs and times, and how easy it is to buy.
Bear in mind that the cheapest option at the start may not be the cheapest option overall. Once you factor in all the additional costs such as delivery and packaging, it could add up to a large amount. Plus, if you pay for a very cheap product, it is likely to break or be damaged quickly, forcing you to spend more money on something else. Buy better quality – the best you can afford – at the start and this is less likely to happen, thus saving you money overall.
Do You Have Loyalty Cards?
If you think back to all the times you have been in a shop and signed up for a loyalty card, or had a little card stamped in order to get something free after a certain amount of visits to the shop; you might find that you have a large number of these loyalty cards. Check through your purse or wallet, and you might come across some.
Take the time to use these cards. Use them in the shops when you make a purchase, and you can gain points that add up to discounts. Supermarket loyalty cards are particularly good since, if you shop in the same place each week, you can soon have a lot of points, which translate into vouchers and money off. Many people use their points at Christmas when the weekly shop tends to be bigger, and this helps to save money, but you don’t have to wait for a special occasion.
Every now and then it’s great to declutter, and when you have children, this becomes even more important. Not only will it be safer around the house with fewer items around for small people to trip over, but it will also help to keep the house organised. Plus, children grow out of clothing and toys very quickly, and there is no point in keeping them around (unless you want to keep some for sentimental value) if they are taking up space and could bring you in some money.
Ideas for selling these items include:
- A boot sale
- Jumble sale
- Local selling pages on Facebook
Depending on how much you make, you might choose to save the money or enjoy it – go out for a meal or put down a deposit on a holiday.