Cutting down, and making savings, are part of the financial plan for many people and for those with families to support this becomes even more essential – the average cost of raising a child to 21 is now around £200,000. The expense of childcare, the need to put food on the table for growing bodies and the higher energy demands of a family home are just a few of the costs that can put strain on any budget. However, there are ways that you can keep your finances under control with these 10 money saving tips for parents.
1. Control your energy usage
Gas and electricity are major costs for most parents and with lights left on, vast volumes of clothes to wash and the expense of heating water for multiple daily showers it’s easy for this to get out of control. Cut your energy costs by switching to a cheaper provider, invest in an eco friendly washing machine, energy saving tumble dryer and energy efficient dishwasher, and change all the lights in the house to energy saving bulbs.
2. Buy second hand
If you’re looking for clothes, toys or equipment for growing children then there are many advantages to buying second hand. These items cost less but may have had little use as children grown out of things quickly at a young age. There are some items that should not be purchased second hand – such as car seats – but most toys, clothes and basic equipment is fine. Try your local charity shops and eBay can be a good source too.
3. A nanny share
If you’re struggling with your childcare costs and know others in the same position then why not look into sharing the cost of a nanny for all your kids together?
4. Plan and budget
Being in control of your finances is the best way to make sure no cash is wasted so, no matter how little time you have, stay on top of spending and plan ahead for essential purchases. Budgeting apps on a smart phone are a particularly easy and convenient way to stay in control.
5. Loyalty cards
Spending on food is one of the biggest expenses for any family. Choose your supermarket and then stick to it – sign up for the loyalty scheme and get points back that you can use to reduce the cost of future shops. If you want to make sure you’re always paying less then try a site like MySupermarket where you can compare the costs of your essentials and choose your supermarket accordingly.
6. Take advantage of discounts
Entertaining kids at weekends and during the school holidays can be costly. However, there are plenty of free attractions all over the UK, as well as numerous special deals such as 2 for 1 on zoo tickets, children eat free or reductions in rail tickets for families travelling together. Plan your adventures around these discounts to keep costs down.
7. Free health checks
Children under 16 (and those under 19 in full time education) still get free eye tests, dental treatment and don’t have to pay for prescriptions. You don’t have to pay anything to keep your kids healthy.
8. Home grants
There are numerous grants available to carry out repairs around the home if you’re struggling to find the cash to cover something such as insulation or a new boiler. The benefits of this are numerous, as improved energy efficiency can also help cut your energy bills. Grants are available for anything that will help implement an energy saving measure, from the government, energy suppliers and local authorities, so do some research before you consider spending your own cash.
Life insurance is crucial for parents as, according to insurer Aviva, one in 29 children loses a parent before they are out of full time education. Taking out life insurance ensures that your children will still have an income even if you die. Holiday insurance is another key area for families – essential but often expensive. Look out for yearly cover deals that can save £££s if you’re making more than one trip, rather than paying each time you travel, and remember to exclude the cover you don’t need such as extreme sports, expensive items, or geographical areas you’re unlikely to venture to.
10. Shop around
With the number of online outlets, as well as high street stores, international shopping options, goods exchanges and auction sites, it really pays to shop around before you commit to buying anything. Black Friday, seasonal sales, flash sales and ongoing discounts offer even more opportunity to save big on purchases of all sorts. Whether you’re bulk buying toilet rolls online, looking for a half price TV or stocking up on sports socks, you just don’t need to pay full price for anything these days. Voucher code websites and Quidco can help you save considerable sums on all sorts of expenditure (from car insurance, to hotels, to electricals, etc.).
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2016. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 200+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read more about Oliver Jones