Trying to save money can seem like an impossible task when you have children because let’s face it, they are expensive, really expensive and they don’t get any cheaper let me tell you. The cost of raising a child can put a huge financial strain on parents especially when they’re paying a second mortgage in childcare costs, spending a fortune on clothes the kids will have grown out of in a matter of months and buying enough food to feed a small army each week.
You really don’t have to make drastic lifestyle changes to improve your bank balance though. Here are 10 easy ways for parents to save money:
Plan your meals – Home-cooked food is not only cheaper but healthier than ready meals and takeaway food, so save yourself time and money by planning your meals in advance and only shopping for the ingredients you need.
Make a list before going grocery shopping – They call it impulse buying for a reason. Humans simply have a very tough time resisting the temptation to purchase extras while shopping. With rising food costs, a weekly trip to the supermarket can cost you an arm and a leg, so make a list before you go and only buy the items you need.
Buy in bulk – When it comes to non-perishable items, buy in bulk whenever you see something on offer. The items I usually stock up on are cereals, tinned food, rice, pasta, toiletries, cleaning products and toilet paper.
Shop online – There are genuine savings that can be made on everything from the weekly shop to a new wardrobe when you shop online. Plus, as you won’t need to take the car then you’ll also save money on petrol which will in turn reduce your fuel costs and lower your carbon footprint.
Keep an eye out for deals, discount vouchers, coupons and loyalty cards – These days it’s possible to find deals, discount vouchers and coupons for just about anything including high street shops, restaurants, beauty treatments, days out, travel and more. Make good use of your Nectar card and Tesco Clubcard – you can often get great offers using these on days out. So instead of taking along your vouchers to the supermarket with you, check out where else you can use them, they’re often worth much more elsewhere.
Set up direct debits for bills – Family life is busy and it can be easy to forget things or become distracted when you are running around after children on a daily basis. Get organized with regular bills and set up direct debits to avoid any late payment fees.
Save energy at home – Energy bills can be a huge drain on household finances. Make simple changes at home to conserve energy and reduce your bills. For example, close your curtains to keep the heat in, turn the lights off when you leave a room and switch to energy saving lightbulbs, have a shower instead of a bath, hang your clothes on a washing line or indoor airer instead of using the tumble dryer, use lids on saucepans and don’t overfill the kettle.
Drop change into a jar – It may sound crazy, but we sometimes forget that coins carry value. If you have loose change in your wallet or purse, you’re more likely to spend it … or lose it in the depths of your car or couch cushions. By putting your excess daily change into a jar, you’re preventing frivolous spending. And once you have a healthy stash, you can take your coins to the bank and deposit them. More savings!
Carry out regular maintenance on the family car – To prolong the life and reliability of your vehicle, ensure that it is regularly maintained. Change the oil, check the air pressure in tyres, use the correct fuel etc. It will save you a whole heap of money and trouble in the long run!
Save money on clothes – Children grow at a rate of knots and with fashion changing every season, kitting them out with a new wardrobe each time can be an expensive business. Take advantage of end-of-season clearances or visit local charity shops and markets to pick up some bargains. If it’s designer brands, like Nike, that you’re after then try discount sites or outlet centres as their prices are usually slashed.
Do you have any suggestions for other ways parents can save money?