Managing The Cost Of Living As A Family

Money is a huge factor when people decided to have children. Will we be able to buy all the nappies and milk? The baby products like bouncers and cots? Is there going to be money left over for holidays or meals out still? Children are expensive and every extra penny really does count and for some families can be the make or break of whether the phone bill will be paid at the end of the month. 

As a large family we have to live to tight budget. It’s all in Hubby’s head not mine but I’ve learnt quite a bit over the past few years of living with my Hubby. I used to think living for the moment was the best idea. I splashed out on presents and holidays whenever I had any extra money or my work bonus, instead of thinking ahead about bills that will be coming up or potential car problems. I wanted P1 to have a childhood she could be proud of!

Things are quite different now. My head has been firmly screwed back on and I’ve grown up, a little. I blogged about making the most of your money here but I’ve put together some tips that I’ve learnt from Hubby about general day-to-day living costs whilst raising of our family:

Budget

At the start of each month work out how much your bills are. Jot it down on a notepad or in your phone. Work out how much money you have coming in.  Set aside a certain amount for bills taking into account any unpredicted costs, set an amount for food shopping, what you need to save and the rest in a mental savings bank until you actually receive the money.

Bills

If you have the money available when you receive a bill, pay it! That’s my hubby’s motto. There’s nothing worse than forgetting and then getting yourself in the horrible circle of debt. If you work out dates when everything is due compared to when you receive income then you’ll be able to sort bills out quickly. Bills and mortgage/rent come above everything, even food!

Clothes

I can’t remember the last time I went to a shop and bought a new item of clothing for children. Granted, I’ve bought a couple of bits for myself for my fitness, but apart from those bits I haven’t been shopping for clothes in a long time. I feel very lucky that we have a local Facebook Buy & Sell page where local people sell their old unwanted items. On many occasions I’ve purchased huge bundles of clothing in a certain size for as cheap as chips! Children grow out of clothes so quickly, get mucky and stain them so there is literally no point in spending £20 on one outfit when you can get a huge bundle for less than half of that.

Car Insurance

In the long run it’s cheaper to pay for your car insurance in full for a year and not monthly. I spoke to my friend recently about this and am guilty myself, but the reason most people pay monthly is because “we can’t afford to pay it all in one go” well think about it this way; our insurance price each year is £600, next year it’s going to be about the same (hopefully less) so divide £600 by 12 which is £50. Each month put £50 into a savings account that you can access labeled “car outgoings”. Taking it one step further my hubby calculates tax, MOT and service costs which for us would be £1,033 a year (including the insurance) divided by 12 which works out to be £86 a month. That’s all you’d need to save but my hubby likes to put £100 into savings every month for any eventualities like flat tyres or mechanical issues that you can’t predict. If you opt to pay monthly for car insurance it would cost about that £100 alone and doing it this way means we don’t have a month where we have to find a lump sum for the car MOT or tax.

Food

This is specifically where a hubby excels himself. Shopping takes forever but at the end of it we always have loads for our money. We shop in Tesco or Sainsbury, despite them maybe not being the cheapest supermarket above say Lidl and Aldi, they offer the reward schemes (Nectar and Clubcard). Be aware that sometimes the items on offer may not always be a good deal. Also the own brand value options have always been rather tasty even with nappies and wipes I’ve found them to be very reliable too. Using the reward schemes are very, well, rewarding. Last year we saved up all our Nectar points to be able to use them to buy all our Christmas presents for the girls. Oh and you know those little coupons you get… Use them! Buy the £5 worth of Birds Eye products and get double nectar points etc because every little helps. You could even use your reward points to buy tickets for days out like Legoland or Longleat meaning you’re saving money.

Treats and Days Out

If you stick to a tight budget with food and your bills without splashing out on extra chocolate or on food that isn’t on offer then you’ll naturally begin to have a little bit extra spare. This is what you can pop in a savings and save for something like a holiday or going for a takeaway or a meal. The list is endless.

These are obviously just my tips and there’s plenty of help online. Hubby and I frequently use the Money Advice Service website for getting new ideas for helping us save money and stretch it to the best of its ability. I actually love this article with 101 Ways To Save Money.

What are your money saving ideas?

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2 comments

  1. This is such a sensible post. I’m dreadful with budgeting but now that there are children involved I do really need to make more of an effort. I’m writing down all of your tips and I’m going to try to follow them!

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