*This is a collaborative post
Ten Ways to Save Money When you Have Children
I don’t think anything can prepare you for the cost of a child until you actually have one. I often think back to the time we were both working full time with no children and think wow we had so much free cash each month.
In our university days and early 20s my husband and I were silly with money and got into a fair bit of debt. We then spent out late 20s and early 30s working to be debt free. Which we now thankfully are – other than our mortgage and a car loan which we considered fully before taking out.
I can’t say that budgeting comes naturally to me, it is a skill I have had to learn. And there are things I am funny about – for example I have a thing about second hand shoes! But here are ten things I do or have done that have helped me save money with my family.
1. Plan your weekly meals
This one helps keep your weekly food bill under control. Go through your cupboards and plan your weekly food, using up what you have already to help reduce your food bills. It also prevents you from over ordering too.
2. Keep a Monthly Household Budget Spreadsheet
This is my absolute essential one and is part of what helped us get out of debt. Sitting down and writing down all of our incomings and outgoings. I keep the spreadsheet updated on a weekly basis to make sure we are not over spending.
3. Research Free Activities in Your Local Area
Having small children or the school holidays can be an expensive time. There are loads of local activities you can do for free to keep them entertained. Start with your Sure Start centre, also look into local parks and farms, our local council runs fun days and events for free throughout the school holidays too.
4. Sign Up To Your Local Library
For a never ending supply of books, the library is your friend. Our local libraries often have free activities from story time, singing nursery rhymes and craft sessions. They are a fab way to keep your children entertained for nothing.
5. Home Bake
My daughter is allergic to dairy, and a lot of the Free From collections are actually quite expensive to buy. I have found home baking with dairy alternative a much cheaper option. Also cooking from scratch in general usually works out much cheaper, and is a great activity to do with the children as well.
6. Always Try & Put Money Aside Every Month
This wasn’t something we always did and there are the odd months when an unexpected bill comes through that we don’t manage, but other than that we always put some money into savings every month. It’s our back stop / emergency fund and the idea of not having it now would make me very nervous. I have also opened accounts for both of my children and put a small amount in for them each month. I’m hoping by the time they are 18 this will be a nice amount for them to buy a car or similar.
7. Use Reusable Nappies
I just couldn’t think about this with my first born, but when my daughter arrived, for a while I had two children in nappies. The waste we created each week was massive and didn’t sit comfortably with me. So I put Aria is reusable nappies. I did have breaks when I the weather was bad and the washing was overflowing, but if you look out for deals you can save a lot of money this way.
8. Try out the Cinema Kids Clubs
On a wet rainy day when you have no idea what to do with your children, the cinema Kids Club is your answer. Our local Odeon runs session with tickets for £2.50 each – the shows are often on on the morning and it feels like a real treat. We rarely by our sweets at the cinema too as they are crazy expensive and instead stop at the pound shop on route.
9. Save Your Clubcard and Nectar Vouchers
Never use your Clubcard or Nectar vouchers in store as you can usually get so much more for them spending them elsewhere with lots of deals for days and meals out. We save our Clubcard vouchers and get an annual Legoland pass, as Legoland is only up the road from us, which means we can pop in for a quick go on the rides whenever we like.
10. Use Voucher Sites
Whenever I go to buy something online, I always google and check for discount codes first. You can often make big savings, even if you just save yourself the p&p cost.
Have you got any tips to share?