Family budgeting: tips to cut costs and build savings for parents of babies, toddlers, and older children
Raising a family is expensive, but our tips will help you make savings and cut costs. We'll show you how to find freebies and shop smart, whether you have a baby, toddler or older child.
Develop a family budget to ensure that your financial goals are met
It is essential to manage your finances in order to ensure you can afford the things your family wants and needs.
Analyse recent bank statements to determine your income and expenses. Identify essential spending, such as mortgage payments, rent, food, utilities and diapers. Then look for areas where you could cut back on nonessential spending.
When you have a child, your spending patterns will change. As your child grows, you may need to reassess your budget to accommodate growing needs.
Build your savings
Once you have created your budget, you can use it to identify areas where your spending is excessive and try to cut back in those areas. Saving a little money each month will help build up savings for you or your child.
If you're able to save this money, it can help you meet your financial goals.
If you want to save money and earn a decent interest rate, it's worth shopping around for a savings account that suits your needs.
You can open a child's savings account at many banks and building societies. These accounts are available in different forms, such as Junior ISAs and children's savings accounts. You might want to use one of these accounts as a way of teaching your teenager good saving habits.
You may be entitled to financial support and other benefits if you are pregnant or have a child.
For example, if you are expecting a child, you may be eligible for free NHS dental care and prescriptions while pregnant, as well as for one year after the birth of your child.
The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off £500 payment to help towards the cost of having a child.
Pregnant women and children under the age of four can receive Healthy Start vouchers to spend on milk, infant formula, and fresh or frozen fruit and veg.
Some of the benefits are available only to parents whose income is below a certain level, while others are available to all new parents.
You may also be eligible for child benefit, which is a monthly payment made to help with the costs of bringing up children. Child benefit pays £21.80 per week for your first child, and £14.45 per week for each additional child. There are no upper limits on the number of children you can claim for.
Join a club to receive discounts
The Boots Parenting Club rewards you for buying baby items with Advantage points and offers free gifts at key stages of your baby's development.
Asda Baby & Toddler Club members are alerted before anyone else to special events in the supermarket.
Consider using a credit card that offers rewards
Cashback credit cards give back a percentage of each purchase to the customer.
You can earn up to 1.25% of your spend back on your card as credit. By putting your everyday spending on the card, you could potentially earn hundreds of pounds a year.
However, it's important to avoid accumulating credit card debt or taking out loans that you cannot reasonably repay at the end of the month, as the interest charges are likely to outweigh any rewards.
Eliminating food costs
To save money, avoid buying products in smaller quantities at convenience stores. Instead, buy larger quantities at supermarkets or discount stores.
Planning and preparing meals in advance can save time, money and energy. If possible, batch-cook several dishes at once and freeze leftovers for easy meals at another time.
Preparing meals in advance of your new-born's arrival will make it easier to feed your family in the early days, so stock up on tupperware.
Making your own baby food and freezing individual portions can be more economical than buying pre-made jars and pouches.
Sell your unwanted things on eBay
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you'll be familiar with eBay, the most popular auction site on the web.
Be aware that eBay charges fees for using its services, which may reduce your profits.
If you've found our tips helpful, we'd love to hear from you.