Friday 30 April 2021

Raising a Family - The Hidden Costs and How to Save Money

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It is no secret that having children can be costly, in fact the cost of raising a family can be a big deciding factor for people when choosing when to start a family. But until you have children it can be hard to know exactly how much money you will need and lots of unexpected costs soon creep in to surprise us. 

I like to think I am quite organised, I love a good spreadsheet and I try to be thrifty and save money where I can but I don't think anything can prepare you for the costs of starting a family and all of the hidden costs that come with having children. 

Of course when preparing to welcome a new addition to the family we think about the initial outlay of costs, the pushchair, the clothes, the gadgets we hope will make things that little bit easier. But what about when you have to replace those things? When the car seat needs replacing at each stage, when baby moves from a mosses basket into a cot and then into a bed. The unexpected growth spurts when you have just brought new clothes of shoes and the ever growing cost of the food bill as we always seem to underestimate just how much growing little ones seem to eat! 

But there are others costs to consider too such as insurance (life insurance, contents/home insurance even insurance for the gadgets kids love so much). There are also the parties they will be invited too, the hobbies and clubs they will undoubtedly want to try and the loss of earnings for the sick days you will have to take for poorly children too. 

However, fear not because there are ways you can still save money or at least feel a little more in control of your finances as your family grows. Keep reading below to find out some of our top tips of saving money whilst raising your family...

Comparison Sites

We all want to know we are getting a good deal from our weekly food shop to our car insurance, nobody wants to have to pair more than they need to. That is why comparison sites such as Protect Your Family are such a helpful resource. Their easy to use comparison tool is a one stop shop for all of your insurance needs from car, mobile, home and even funeral or wedding insurance. They take the stress out of being covered whilst helping you find the best deal, saving you money and time. 

You can even find comparison sites which will help you to compare the price of your weekly shop so if you have the time you really can make sure you are getting the best deal on almost all of your purchases. 

Plan Ahead

When you become a parent it quickly becomes clear that planning ahead is not only helpful but an almost essential if you want things to run smoothly, the same thing applies to your finances. There are lots of ways you can plan ahead when you have children from little things like grabbing birthday gifts (for your own kids and for their friends parties) when you see them on offer throughout the year. To creating a "rainy day fund" for things like days out through the year. 

Some of the small ways we like to plan ahead are things like - 

- Taking our own food and drinks on days out, it is always cheaper to buy in the shops before hand and take your own food/picnics where places allow. 

- Check out the school terms dates early as sometimes in service days can line up with school holidays and you can get a much cheaper deal. The same applies with checking local school holidays compared to where you are going. Sometimes the holidays can differ county to county and you can grab a super cheap deal if yours are slightly earlier or later. 

- If you find school uniform on offer then grab your items in a few sizes! Kids grow quick and once the summer holidays are over the shops seem to stick a minimal amount of uniform so it can be costly to buy at different times in the year. 

Child Trust Fund or Saving Account

It is definitely true that as kids get older, the things they want get more expensive. They go from plush toys and dolls to gadgets, mobile phones and games consoles. But when they reach 17/18 they face the big wide world and all of the costs that come with entering adulthood which is why planning for the future is a good idea. As parents we of course still want to help and nobodies wants to see their child struggle, regardless of age and that is why setting up a child trust fund or saving account for your child is such a great idea. Not only will it save them money, but you money too if you think you may have to step in and help out. 

Setting a up a fund that your child can access when they turn a specified age (usually around 16 or 18) is a great way to save for them over a long period of time (they can be set up hen your child is a new born if you wanted). This can then be used on a big cost that they may face such as driving lessons or a car, education (college or university costs) or even towards getting a foot onto the property ladder. 

Create a Family Spreadsheet - Needs, Wants and Savings

They say it takes a village to raise a baby but I think it takes a whole family to be on board to successfully save money. There is no point in one of you doing your best to save where you can if the other is recklessly spending all the time. Just as big decisions within a family are usually made together, the same should be said about your savings and things like making big purchases. 

Creating a family spread sheet is just one great way to have a visual aid to your saving that everyone can use and be on board with. You could create your own on paper, have a downloadable spreadsheet everyone can use on a computer or device or you could use something like a whiteboard that gets updated each month. On your spreadsheet break things down into needs, this is things such as bills, food, car costs and clubs etc. You should be able to work out roughly how much this comes to as most of these payments will be regular ones. Then wants so for this section you could set a certain amount each month. This could be for things like days out, clothes, make up or any other non essentials that you enjoy. By setting an amount you can ensure you don't spend more than you want each month and kids can learn to spend wisely. 

Finally savings this is basically where any money you havent allocated for needs and wants goes. This could be saving for a rainy day or something more specific such as a holiday or big purchase. Whatever it is, having a visual of this will really help everyone in the house get on board and see where the money is going. 

What hidden costs have you found since becoming a parent or how do you plan on saving for when you have a family? Let me know in the comments below. 


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