Becoming a parent is a magical experience but also a very stressful and worrying time when it comes to your finances. You have gone from having two full-time wages coming into the household to managing on maternity pay followed by potentially either one wage dropping to part-time hours or for those that go back to work full-time; considerable childcare costs to cover.
For those not lucky enough to have help from grandparents and therefore, have childcare costs to pay; it can be a worrying time as you wonder how you will pay all the bills each month with less money coming in, let alone pay for all the essentials your new bundle of joy needs.
Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) has just released its latest figures on 20 August 2018 that predicts raising a child to the age of 18 will cost couples £150,753 which is a considerable amount of money to find (and then you need to times this by the number of children you decide to have).
The first step is to check out if you are eligible for and/or receiving childcare vouchers or child tax credits as these will make a big difference to your monthly finances. On top of this there are other ways to make the most of your money and here are 10 tips we would like to share with you: -
- Organise your Grocery Shopping list– work out a week in advance your meal plans and any extras you need e.g. snacks and drinks and try and stick to it. Avoid taking the kids shopping with you if at all possible; as that is when all the extra items get added to the trolley. Also avoid shopping when you are hungry as this will make you add lots of unnecessary extras or treats! Check out any packets you have in the cupboard for coupons and look on the money saving websites and/or downloadable apps as they offer discounts or even free items.
- Buy in Bulk – look out for any deals or buy one get one free (BOGOF) on food or beauty items as this will save you money in the long run - but work the deals out carefully as they are not always the best option.
- Join up and use Reward Card Schemes– it can be difficult keeping up with all your loyalty cards but they are worth it as they will give you money off vouchers and points to use to save money. Tesco Clubcard is a great one if you shop or buy petrol there as you can use your reward points for meals out and days out as it offers 3x your points when you redeem the points to vouchers. An easy way to keep track of all your cards, if you are like me and never seem to have them on you, is an app called ‘Stocard’ where you can have all your cards on your mobile and then you just show your phone at the checkout which means you never miss out on any points.
- Sell unused items– Most of us have items in our garage or loft that we no longer use or need so why not make some money on them? You can sell them on eBay or alternatively use no fee sites like Shpock or Facebook Marketplace. Or if you really need to have a big clear out why not book a stall at a car-boot sale or have your own garage sale?
- Look through your insurances – many of us are over-insured and paying too much for insurance cover we don’t actually need so look through your different policies and see where you have duplicate cover e.g. Legal cover on both your house insurance, boiler cover and car insurance.
- Compare your bills – many of us are paying too much for our utility bills as we don’t ever change them but you should re-evaluate your bills on a yearly basis to save money. Just go to a comparison site like Money Supermarket and work through each of your household bills to see if there are any savings to be had. Once you find cheaper policies go to a cash-back site like Quidco or Top Cashback to see if the retailer has any offers which will then earn you additional cashback on that new policy. Remember to cancel your old policy as soon as the new one is confirmed or start the new one just a few days before the old one is due to expire (if you pay yearly rather than monthly).
- Cashback sites – as mentioned these are great not just for bills and insurance policies but also for your everyday shopping. Whenever you are looking to purchase something online first go to your cashback site of choice to see if they are offering any cashback for that retailer as even if it is only a low amount it all adds up!
- Consider a different gift- instead of purchasing physical gifts for family and friend’s birthdays or at Christmas; why not give a voucher of your time e.g. a day out, lunch or even a coffee and cake as its worth so much more to spend time with the people we love.
- Cut down on your direct debits – spend some time looking through your direct debits as many of us will be paying for a service we rarely use like the gym or a subscription service so have a rule – if you don’t use it or need it cancel it!
- Entertain the kids for less – there are so many cheap or free days out to keep kids entertained at weekends and over the school holidays so check out online sites like ‘Raring 2 Go’ where you can search locally or nationally for what’s on. If you plan to go to a theme park, look out for money off vouchers, use reward scheme points (e.g. Tesco) or purchase your tickets online a few days ahead as this offers considerable savings off the ‘on-the-door price’ which can double the cost in many cases!
Good luck with saving money! 😊
Loughborough University Statistics Link: