Parenting Budget Tips
Parenting is a costly business. You’ve got to constantly keep your refrigerator filled. And since kids seem to insist on growing, there are always new clothes to buy.
Then there are the school field trips you have to fork out money for, the birthdays, Christmas and maybe even an annual family holiday.
It’s not hard for a parent to spiral into debt. However, there are a few precautionary measures you can take and some clever budgeting tactics that can help you afford the things you want, and need, to drift into the red.
Why do I need a budget?
A budget is designed to help you keep your financial expenses even with your income. Maintaining a budget is a good way to meet your day to day living costs to identify where you can set aside money for the things you want in life. Without keeping tabs on your expenses, you can easily fall into debt, especially if you’re on a tight income:
If you want to stay on top of your finances, there are budgeting tactics that can keep you in the black and allows you to strike a financial balance.
Look at your last bank statement to see how you spent your money. Look at ways to cut our luxuries and highlight the way to comfortably cut costs. This is the first step to creating an efficient budget.
Check your entitlements. Make sure you’re getting all of the benefits due to you. Are you missing extra cash? Even £20 a month can make the difference in your monthly budget. So double check your entitlements. You should start with the child credit pages and tax credits. This is a great place to start.
Look at your largest expenses and try to find ways to reduce them. Try to reduce your food bills. Try the Netmums monthly meal planner in order to help you plan your meals, reduce your expenses and help to prevent impulse buying.
Be a savvy shopper by looking into ways to reduce the cost of the food you buy. Also find ways to reduce the cost of the items you buy. Some high street stores have loyalty cards, reward schemes, and vouchers. There are also a number of web-based schemes, like topcashback or quidco, that can help you save money when shopping online.
If you need to make changes to your mortgage or need to get building and content or life insurance, contact a broker in order to help you get the best deal. You may need to pay them a fee, however, when you weight up how you much you’re spending against how much you’ll save, you’ll see that this is money well spent.
Creating a Successful Budget
If you have clever budgeting skills you can earn money and help save for expensive items like your kid’s school trips, a new car or a holiday. This is a great way to stay on top of your finance. It will also ensure you always have cash available for repairs, bills and any other expenses that come up. Other clever tips include:
Any money you have left over at the end of the month, after your bills and debts are paid, should be deposited into a savings account. The interest rates for a savings account are not great, so you may want to opt for an ISA. With an ISA you won’t pay tax on any interest you earn. This will help you build your savings quickly without impacting your day-to-day living expenses.
It’s important to be realistic about your budget. If you have a large car bill one month, you’ll need to cut down on your clothes shopping and the days or nights you spend out, in order to compensate for the extra expense.
Never underestimate the expenses in your budget, since that would defeat the purpose of creating the budget. Instead, you should keep a careful record of how much money you have and how much you’re likely to spend.
Forecast your year’s expenses and events as far in advance as possible. Remember to include birthdays, Christmas, school holidays, and extra utility usage in winter. All of these events require extra money, factor in these extra expenses into your short-term savings.
Budgeting for a New Baby
If you’re pregnant, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to manage to take a year off for maternity leave. The answer is a good budget. As soon as you see the blue line you need to sit down with your partner. Together you should plan to get your finances in order before you have the baby.
Use the Money Advice Service to create a budget and baby calculator. This will help you to determine how your spending habits will change when you become a parent. Use these tips to get you finances mapped out:
Write a list of essential baby items that you need to buy. List the items you want to buy in order of importance. Nappies, pushchairs, and car seats are all essentials for the first months. However, you’ll also need to budget for feeding accessories and a high chair, but you can buy those later as your baby grows.
The good news is that you can buy second-hand items, everything does not have to be new. Second-hand items are a great way to get some of those pricey products at a good price. You don’t have to compromise on quality. You can also find some great bargains in the Netmums nearly new sale.
Find out your benefits and rights. The sooner you become aware of your entitlements, the easier it would be to budget. This will help you factor in any additional income due to you.
Budgeting For Your Future
Saving money for the future is a good way to create a nest egg for your family. You won’t need to save a few hundred pounds each month. However, a commitment to save your extra money, even if it’s only £10 or £20 can reap benefits when your child reaches their mid to late teens.
There are some great accounts that offer children high-interest rates and other incentives that can help them grow their money. And don’t forget to teach your children these money management and budgeting tips. These are important life lessons.
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