Parenting is expensive, there’s no doubt about that. It can be difficult to stick to a budget plan when you’ve got to buy new clothes for your children all the time, and make sure the fridge is stocked with healthy food, but there are some ways to save cash. Budgeting isn’t impossible, and this short guide is here to help you with a few tricks and tips that you might not be aware of.
First of all, you may be wondering why you need a budget. Well, simply put, having a budget allows you to look an 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 gym 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. Work out your current outgoings verses how much money you have coming in. If something doesn’t add up, it’s time to make some adjustments – 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.
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.
Double-check your entitlements. Benefits aren’t a bad thing, and you could be missing out on extra cash. Go and visit your local council, or check online. 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.