It is more important than ever to manage our money wisely as the economic uncertainty is still amongst us and pressures on many families continue to grow.
Money saving tips on back to school purchases, holidays and financial tips for couples.
Back to school
- Stand firm and don’t give in to buying the latest/trendiest gear like lunch boxes and pencil cases. Your children may want to upgrade their kit but avoid wasting money on these unnecessary items if they’ve already got something they can use. If they want to update their pencil case or lunch box try customising them at home as a cheaper and fun alternative.
- Organise a ‘school swap’ with other parents to get rid of all your unwanted school uniforms and equipment in exchange for items your children need now.
- Use online sites like eBay for back-to-school bargains and cheaper prices on essential items such as stationery.
- Make packed lunches the night before to avoid last minute requests for money to pay for costly tuck shop treats and goodies.
- Create a meal plan to prepare for school lunches and suppers. This way you can cut out expensive last minute trips to the supermarket.
- If your child’s school is close enough, why not walk rather than get the bus or drive. Not only is it healthier for all of you but will save a fortune on petrol costs or bus tickets for the daily school run.
- If you’re not able to walk to school it’s worth getting to know other local families to check if you might be able to pair up to organise a school run and share the driving – this will cut down on your petrol costs and also give you a little extra time in your day when you’re not responsible for the school journey.
- Sports equipment can be expensive – avoid buying new boots and bats by asking friends and colleagues for equipment their kids have grown out of, or buy online for good quality second hand items.
- Shoes can be very expensive, but it’s worth getting good ones which don’t hurt your kids’ feet and which will last. Rather than buying shoes in store, order the same shoes online in the right size as prices are often cheaper. Don’t fork out online for shoes if you’re not sure they’ll fit though – or at least check you don’t need to pay an expensive return delivery charge.
- If you’re doing a big back-to-school shop for your children it might be worth going with other families and shopping together to make the most of deals on offer in the large supermarkets.
Top Money Saving Tips When Planning For School Holidays
- Stay local: discover events that are happening in your local community to entertain the children to help cut down on travel costs.
- Put loose change in a bottle each week to collect for the school holidays, you’ll be surprised at how much you can save!
- Visit free museums and art galleries in your city with the children and take packed lunches – this way you can have fun and keep the costs to a minimum whilst learning something new.
- Collect tokens from cereal packs and other household goods for days out at theme parks. Also, it’s worth checking online for any voucher codes which will reduce admission costs to attractions.
- If you’re going further afield for a day out, check for group savings on rail travel. If you’re going out with other families it might be cheaper to travel together and buy a group ticket rather than individual fares.
- Take the children to the movies on a full stomach – that stops them wanting expensive snacks at the counter, and, if you do really need to provide snacks and drinks, then buy them at the supermarket and take them along with you.
- Set up parties at home for your children and their friends with cost-effective creative activities such as tie-dying, creating a scrap book, cooking etc.
- Get some fresh air – take the children for a bike ride or long walk, with a packed lunch. Set up a treasure hunt or a nature trail to get them to appreciate the great outdoors, (and all for free!).
- Encourage children to grow their own vegetables in the garden – not only is this cheap, but it also teaches them the value of the environment and can inspire a hobby!
- If you’re going away make sure you shop around for family travel insurance to cover any expensive and unexpected costs during a family holiday
Financial Tips For Couples
- If you’re thinking of sharing your financial arrangements with your other half, or if you already do, the most important thing is honesty. Be open and honest at all times and discuss any issues as they arise so that money doesn’t affect your relationship.
- Make sure you talk to each other regularly to discuss money highs and lows. By talking about successful monthly saving or over spending you will be able to work together to plan long-term goals – and avoid a possible argument!
- Before deciding to join your finances, sit down together and have an open conversation about income, any existing debts you’re managing, any savings you have and whether there is something in particular you’re currently saving for – such as a new outfit or holiday. This will help make sure you are both on the same wavelength and will help reduce problems as you combine finances.
- If you want to combine your finances, make sure you give it careful consideration before taking any action to avoid being compromised by your partner’s lack of financial awareness. Check their budgeting skills, look at how they manage their finances and see if you can spot any bad habits (e.g. spending beyond their means) that you can sort out now to ensure you don’t run into problems down the line. It might also be worth considering checking your partner’s credit score for an accurate view on things.
- When considering a joint bank account, check what benefits the banks give, and who has the best deal. Compare and discuss the pros and cons of each account before you decide which one to go with.
- If you have a savings account with money you’ve saved up over time, make sure you’re happy to put this into a joint account and don’t rush into it. Don’t feel obliged to combine everything; if you want to keep your savings in just your name and combine only day-to-day finances, that’s perfectly acceptable. If you decide to keep some money in your own name it’s best to be honest about this so your partner doesn’t think you’re trying to hide something from them.
- When it comes to moving in together – either renting or buying – make sure you don’t push yourself too much in terms of your monthly budget. It’s always worth considering how you’d be able to make the payments if one of you lost your job or needed to spend money on an emergency expense.
- As well as thinking about rent/mortgage payments on one salary it’s also worth checking you can afford your lifestyle on one salary. This will avoid financial stress when it comes to redundancy, maternity leave or sickness. Extra stress at these times will undoubtedly put a strain on your relationship, at a time when you both need to pull together and be stronger as a couple.