Whichever way you look at it, having children is expensive. With the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 topping £150,000 in 2018 for couples, carefully covering the everyday outgoings and creating a budget can be crucial for keeping your finances in check.
If you are trying to plan ahead and want to know where to start, here are some budgeting tips to help you get your funds in order.
Before you begin to budget, thoroughly examine what you’re spending money on. Look at your bank statements from the past 12 months to see what payments you regularly cover and make a note of anything that cropped up that was unexpected.
For example, you might have a direct debit set up for your childcare provider, but you’d forgotten you had to pay so much for the uniform at your eldest’s new school. Or you may be convinced your gas and electricity bills come to £180 a month but you’re actually paying £50 more. Create a list of regular outgoings and the surprises that have cropped up.
Once you know where your money is being spent, you can then set out a budget. Look at what could be cut from your list of outgoings to free up your finances for the essentials. By swapping your gym membership for a home workout or your weekly takeaway for a store-bought pizza, you will soon start to see more money in the pot.
While you don’t have to completely remove everything you enjoy, by updating what you’re doing now you can help your finances in the future.
You could be paying too much for your utility bills. Do some research into energy suppliers to see if there are any alternatives and compare prices. There are plenty of comparison sites available that can help you find the best deals.
Similarly, reassess your food shopping. Would going to a different supermarket help to make some savings? If you’re buying the same foods every week for the kids, you may find identical items for half the price.
Also, exchange branded products for cheaper alternatives and try preparing meals that can be batch-cooked and frozen, such as soups, so that the cost of the ingredients goes further.
If you think you need to reassess your finances, the above tips are a great place to start. Budgeting well and being savvy with your spending can go a long way to helping with the cost of raising your children in the long run.
Do you have any top budgeting tips? How much are you hoping to save?