We all know that a family budget is not exactly the easiest thing to manage. There are always going to be unexpected expenses, from the big things like a major household appliance breaking, to the little things, like having to host a sleepover at the last minute and provide dinner for a large group of hungry children. What’s more, we are heading into winter, which is always harder to budget for. We have all seen the news about rising energy costs, rising food costs and shortages in a range of different areas, so of course we are all getting a little more anxious about making sure that we have enough stashed away to carry us through these tricky months.
With that being the case, we could all use a little extra help when it comes to coming up with a strategy. It can be tricky to find the time to sit down and create a budget plan when you are working and running a family, so we have put together a few tips to help you get to grips with your money in advance of the holidays.
It’s Time To Adjust Your Spending Habits
Let’s just bite the bullet and start with one of the least fun options. If you want to start making savings, it’s time to look at where your money is going. The weekly food shop often feels like an expense that cannot be touched, but there are ways that you can make that receipt look a little less daunting. To start with, make a list of everything that you need before you go to the shop. This will cut down on impulse spending. It also helps if you can put together a detailed plan of everything your family will be eating in the coming week. Try to avoid the expensive brands if you can. Supermarket own brands are always going to be cheaper.
Get Your Home Ready For The Winter
We all know that appliances always pick the worst possible to break down, and that problems with our homes will generally wait until the worst possible time of year to make themselves apparent. As such, most of us spend a lot of the winter anxiously watching the boiler to make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to and hoping that the patch on the kitchen ceiling is not going to be something that costs us thousands of pounds to fix.
If you want to give yourself a bit of relief this winter and avoid some hefty bills, then it is worth getting proactive now. Getting someone out to inspect your boiler will cost less than having to replace it if anything happens. Paying for double glazing and better insulation in your home may not be cheap, but if you are going to be staying there for the next several years, it will save you a lot on energy bills. And if there is something in your home that looks like it could cause serious issues in the near future, get someone out to fix it before the costs start to really spiral.
Look For Better Deals
Free time is a hard thing to come by when you have a family. There is always another task to be completed before you get to sit down, always a new fire to put out or an old plan that needs to be rearranged. But even though hunting around for better deals can be time consuming, it will help you to save some extra cash. For example, when we move home, a lot of us tend to stick with the same providers that we had in our last place or the ones the previous owners used. We do this because it’s quicker and easier and we do not want to be without electricity or broadband for however long it takes to find a better price. However, now that winter is coming on, this is the perfect time to hunt around for better deals. Use price comparison sites and talk to your current providers about what they can do to convince you to stay with them.
It is also worth looking to see if there are providers out there who offer bonuses and incentives. For example, maybe you could get a discount for signing up somewhere new, or you could earn a bonus for referring a friend. This is a great way to earn cash online. Take the Lebara refer a friend deal for example, which gives your friend 50% off their plan and offers you up to £50 for the referral. You can learn more here about Lebara and their range of SIM-only plans.
Make Sure Your Insurance Is Up To Date
Planning for a rainy day is always a good idea, particularly if you are a homeowner and you are worried about any damage to your property from the famous British winter. It is always a good idea to check your insurance details on a regular basis to ensure that your provider has the correct current information. Remember that if anything is omitted on your policy because you have not notified them of any changes, then you could put your insurance pay out at risk.
Try To Avoid Taking On More Debt
As much as we would like to avoid it, sometimes we all need to get a little outside financial help. The last eighteen months have been incredibly tough, and we have all had to dip into our savings at one time or another. But taking on more debt can be a tricky proposition, and it is worth noting that debt and finance related problems are often linked to mental health issues. If you do need to take out a loan to carry you through to the next payday, make sure you do your research and use a reputable provider. Read the fine print carefully and be certain that you understand the conditions, the interest rate and your liability if you are unable to pay it back on time.