So you've already learnt how to save money whilst pregnant, and budget when thinking of starting a family but now your baby is here how can you keep those costs down and still manage to save money? Being a parent can be expensive, you have extra mouths to feed, bodies to dress and toys to buy to keep them entertained. It's certainly not cheap. But learning how to budget and save money can help in the long run.
Plan your meals in advance
I never used to do this and have only recently started doing so, but I am so glad I have. I always used to waste food. I would buy way too much, probably enough to feed a family of 5 and half of the food would go off. Complete waste of money! I have decided to write down what to have for lunch and dinner each day of the week and that way I know what ingredients I need to buy. I have noticed I have saved at least £100 a month so far by doing this!
Ensure you don't have any debt
I wasn't in debt but did have many store cards which needed paying off. These don't help as you pay back monthly on them and even just paying the minimum payment isn't going to pay it off any quicker. The best thing you can do is pay these all off while you are pregnant so that you aren't faced with any financial burden or added stress when your baby is born. It's a good idea to get a credit rating check which you can do at www.creditexpert.co.uk if you have had store cards or credit cards in the past. Wipe the slate clean and start over.
Set up a savings account
For years now I have only had a current account, and never saved any money. I have no savings. I do have an online account which is linked to my current account but I tend to transfer money back and forth to there when I don't want to spend it or am saving for something. Putting money away for the future is a great way to save for your family. There's no need to put away hundreds, but starting with a commitment to save something small even if it's just £20.
Vouchers and Deals
Take up on offers! After all they are there for a reason. In the past I wouldn't even look at these! They ended up in the bin, but more recently I have saved the baby related coupons that you get in the supermarkets they come in handy, for wipes, nappies and food.
Make a note of your monthly payments for all of your bills such as gas/electric, sky, phone line, insurance and shop around to compare prices from other companies. It's pretty easy to do and doesn't take too long especially if you do it online.
Find out what you are entitled to. What benefits you are able to receive. Every parent is able to claim child benefit and you may even be entitled to child and working tax too. The sooner you are aware of your entitlements, the easier it is to budget. I actually wasn't aware that I could claim child tax and working tax whilst on maternity leave.
How have you saved money since becoming a parent? What tips do you have to share?
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