Budgets are a healthy way to manage your finances effectively. Without them we are more likely to be in debt and find the last week before payday a real stretch. If you’re a family with children, setting yourself a budget is essential. You have a great responsibility to make sure bills are paid and the children are provided for. The best way to maintain good financial habits is to consistently monitor changes and act accordingly, planning is key!
Keep an active record of your income and expenditure, leave no stone unturned. Income and expenditure can change very regularly for a growing family, as children get older they tend to cost you more in food, clothes and clubs. On the other hand, there are free childcare hours and school meals to be claimed if you’re going back to work. Often there are changes to entitlements and benefits for families, keep up to date by paying a regular visit to the government website and looking at what’s available in your locality.
If you have two or more children you will be finding it expensive to keep them in uniforms, shoes, coats and leisure wear. If you have friends with older children, don’t be shy to ask for any hand-me-downs! Coats and trainers are often grown out of before they’ve been worn out and it really could save you a fortune, not to mention how pleased your friend will be knowing their goods are going to good use instead of a faceless charity shop. Also, look out for second hand uniform online and at your school, many schools now have a donation scheme.
Let’s have a look at another expensive area for families… food. Make sure you are shopping in the most cost-effective shop available in your area, avoid convenience stores at all costs and try to maintain a once weekly shop. If it helps, shop online so not to overspend. Meal planning is a fantastic way to ensure you buy exactly what you need, reducing waste, impulse buys and unplanned takeaways. Other money saving tips are to eat less meals with meat and to reduce expensive snack foods by offering toast and fruit to children instead.
Let’s talk about the unexpected… you’ve implemented all the measures to save money and are now living nice and frugal, but then the unexpected happens! It might be the car breaking down or the washing machine packing-up (both of which are a nightmare with a family). We should all have a little bit of money set aside for the unexpected, but the fact is it’s not always possible. That’s where quick loans can save the day! If you normally manage your finances well and just need a little help to get over the hump, there are simple ways to access a bit of cash in the form of a small loan. If you decide to take one out, pay it back quickly with an amount that you can afford and then think about how to save a small amount each month for the next eventuality!