No one ever said that having kids is easy – and certainly not when it comes to their effect on your bank balance!
From everything you’ll need to buy them when they’re babies – the cot, the pram, the bibs and babygros – to the cost of raising them as they grow up – food, clothes, school costs, university fees – the expense of bringing up children isn’t one to be taken lightly on the household purse strings.
Especially in times like these when every penny really does count, stretching your budget that bit further is a real priority for many parents.
Let’s take a look at some practical budgeting tips that could help you make the family finances cover that little bit more every month.
Feeding hungry kids with seemingly bottomless stomachs can lead to hefty shopping bills!
A bit of forward planning with your regular food shop could really pay off. You could:
- Make a list of all the food and drink you need over a few weeks – e.g. kitchen ‘staples’ such as bread, milk, pasta, cereal, etc. – and prioritise these in your food budget.
- Do a ‘price check’ on the items you regularly buy – could you get them cheaper elsewhere?
- Join a customer loyalty scheme at your local supermarket. You could earn ‘points’ every time you shop, which could knock money off your bills at the checkout.
Budgeting for clothes can be tricky – particularly if your kids are at that ‘fashion conscious’ teenage stage!
But there are ways of shopping for clothes on a budget:
- Consider ‘recycling’ clothes – particularly if you have older children who have decent ‘hand me downs’ that can be passed on to the younger ones.
- Charity shops are great places to find clothes on a budget, especially if you’re looking for ‘essentials’, e.g. gloves, scarves, coats, jumpers, which you don’t want to fork out a small fortune for.
- Rather than regularly buying new clothes, why not repair them? Things such as jeans and jackets can be easily repaired if they’re missing buttons or have a broken zip – so you could make them look as good as new!
Kitting the kids out for school on a tight budget may seem daunting – but it needn’t be. You could reduce the cost by:
- Shopping for stationery and other classroom ‘essentials’ at discount shops or in the summer/September sales.
- Getting your kids to take a packed lunch using the previous night’s leftovers from dinner rather than spending money on school dinners.
- Repairing school uniforms wherever you can rather than buying brand-new items every term.
Just following a few of these tips could help you stick to your budget – and help you avoid spending more than is really necessary.