Always arguing about your family finances? Here are five money saving tips for parents
Feeling the pinch? Need to spend less but not sure how to go about it? Check out these five money saving tips for parents.
Raising a family isn’t easy… or cheap. So it’s no surprise that, according to experts money is one of the two most common causes of arguments in relationships. So if you don’t want to find yourself Goggling Springfield divorce attorney it’s important to find more clever ways to save.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a quick money saving guide for parents and families to help you save the pennies.
1) Work out your budget
The first place to start is to know exactly how much money you have coming in, and how much you have left over each month to spend after essential bills are taken care of.
So start keeping track of how much you spend each month. Split your outgoings between essentials, such as your rent or mortgage, utility bills and food shopping, etc, and non-essentials, such as TV subscriptions, clothes and going out money.
Deduct your essentials from your monthly income and that gives you a budget to start working with for non-essentials.
2) Find ways to reduce your essential spending
Things like utility costs and food may be essential spending, but are you really spending as wisely as you can? Or are there ways you can cut back on each? For example, when as the last time you shopped around to check you were getting the best deals on your utilities?
And are you shopping smartly when it comes to food? Are you price checking and buying from cheaper supermarkets? And are you meal planning and batch cooking – two strategies that have been shown to reduce family food budgets?
We recommend examining every item on your essential spending list and looking for ways you can reduce your outgoings if possible.
3) Cut down on non-essential spending
Once you’ve worked on your essential spending, turn your attention to your non-essential spending list. Look at each item and ask yourself two questions. Firstly, ask yourself “Do I NEED this? And if the answer is “Yes” then ask, “How can I spend less on it?”
If money is tight each month and you want some wriggle room, it might be that you decide to eliminate some of the things on your non-essential list and go without them. For example, do you need both Netflix and Sky? You can always add items back later on once your finances are looking healthier.
If you do really want to keep something on the list – for example your gym memberships helps you stay healthy and sane – then look for ways to reduce the cost of it. Could you maybe choose a cheaper gym? Or look for a better package, such as non-peak hours?
It’s important to make these decisions as a couple, though. Making assumptions about what your partner should or shouldn’t cut back on can lead to the very arguments you are trying to avoid! Likewise, try to be reasonable and realistic about what you may need to sacrifice in order to get your finances in order.
Again, follow this approach for everything on your non-essentials spending list.
4) Start saving something
While this isn’t an immediately helpful tip for you now, once you’ve established your monthly budget, try to put something away each month in savings – even if it’s only a very small amount. Over time this can build up, and could be a helpful buffer in future if you have a sudden bill you can’t pay.
On the nice side, it can also be a pot you can dip into in future for treats. My mum put all her child allowance (for four children!) in a savings account and didn’t touch it. Although it was only a small amount each week, by the time I was 16 she’d saved enough for a month’s holiday in America.
5) Spend wisely
In future, when making a purchase decision, do a quick mental run through the exercises we have talked through here. Ask yourself whether it’s needed or not. And if you do need or want it, is this the best time, place or price to buy? Often with a little shopping around (including perusing online voucher sites) you can save money.
Also consider whether you need this item brand new. Could someone you know have one they no longer need any more they’d be happy to give you? Could you save money by buying second hand? Sometimes just by asking around you may be able to pick it up for much less or free.
And remember, it may not always feel like you’re saving a lot each time, but over time a few pennies here and there can add up to make a considerable difference at the end of the month.
How much money can you save every month?
Money can be tight when you have a family, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Parents are often looking for ways to cut down on their spending. And as you can see here, with some careful budgeting, you can make your money go further and even start saving and get closer to financial freedom.
Photo by Milada Vigerova