Parenting is expensive! It can be difficult to stick to a budget plan when you’ve got to buy your children new clothes, make sure the fridge is fully stocked, and also that you’re able to afford to keep everyone entertained during weekends and school holidays. In fact, The Money Charity revealed that it costs an average of £23.61 per day for a couple to raise a child to the age of 18. That’s over £8,000 a year!
But there are some ways to save cash. Budgeting is perfectly possible, even with a family! This short guide is here to help you make the most of your money.
Work Out a Budget Plan
First of all, you may be wondering why you need a budget. Well, simply put, having a budget allows you to look at your income, and figure out how much of it you would have left at the end of the month based on your current expenditures, and then change that. It’s a great way to keep on top of your bills, your outgoings, and have money put aside during the month for any expenses you weren’t expecting.
A popular budgeting technique is the 50-20-30 rule. 50% of your income is used for living costs and essentials, 20% is put into your savings account, and 30% is for day to day spending, or things like sports club memberships. You should spend some time working out your budget. To do this, you’ll need a list of all of your outgoing costs, what they are, and what they cost. Outgoing costs can be anything: rent, bills, travel expenses, nights out, presents etc. Try this handy free calculator from the Money Advice Service to see useful breakdowns of where your monthly income is going. Never underestimate your outgoings, if anything, overestimate them, because it’s better to have money left over than be short on your finances that month.
Review Your Bank Accounts
Check your bank statement. Contactless cards and android pay, though helpful, are a nightmare to keep track of. You’d be surprised how many times a week you tap your card, and all those little purchases add up. Look at the larger payments as well as the smallest ones. For the large payments, like food bills, try shopping somewhere else, or using coupons. For smaller payments, which could be lunch at the office, or a vending machine with a card option, stop tapping. Take lunch and snacks with you, and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll save.
Try Using Cash Rather Than Card
Studies have shown that you are less likely to part with your money if you pay with cash rather than a card. This is because using cash feels real, rather than a quick tap and pay with a debit or credit card so you see the physical value of the notes and change. Because getting cash out is also more difficult you are less likely to impulse buy, and if you lose your card its an inconvenience, whereas losing a £20 note is lost actual money.
Double-Check Your Entitlements
Benefits aren’t a bad thing, and you could be missing out on extra cash. You can check online to see if you’re entitled to any help with this calculator. Shop around for your utility bills, you may be content with your current provider, but another company may be offering a fixed rate for the next couple of years.
If you have any other money left at the end of the month, put it into your savings account. Your savings account doesn’t have to be for emergencies, it could be used for something fun, like a family holiday, and saving up a little extra each month could mean extra spending money for your week away. Remember to stick to your budget, and try not to stress. Try using Plum to help stash more money away.