When you first get a job you feel like your wages last for ever but that’s because most of the time when we first get a job we still live at home and have no out goings and we buy all the new clothes and enjoy all the nights out. Then we move into our first home, be it rented or bought, and suddenly we feel like our money doesn’t stretch as far and we now have to consider bills that we never knew existed, food that we thought just appeared in the fridge each week, and a desire to maintain a social life. So when you are faced with starting a family and you realise that same wage, maybe a slight increase over the years but usually not to double what it was, now has to go round more people, more necessities and more food, you really do start to feel the pinch and your own wants, needs and social lives usually give way first. Every subsequent child after the first is dearly loved and very much wanted but also requires a portion of that financial pie so to speak and so money saving advice for parents has become a hot topic and I am here to share my top 3 tips with you.
Plan everything. Plan meals, snacks and drinks for the week and only buy what is on that list. There are lots of recipes for delicious cheap family meals available, play around until you find your firm favourites without the fear of wasting money on expensive ingredients people might not enjoy.
You may also find it easier to use subscription boxes such as Hello Fresh, where you can often get discount codes and free boxes.
If you have any leftovers then always cover them and reuse them the following day for lunch or freeze them for another time.
And always make up a pack lunch or a pic nic when going out for the day and if you think you will be home by dinner/tea time then just throw a couple of snacks in for when the kids start moaning they are hungry.
Plan your days out in advance and always look for free and cheap days out.
If going somewhere that requires an entry ticket then buy in advance as it is usually cheaper and always google discount codes too.
Most theme parks have 2 for 1 on cereal packs so be sure to check those out as well.
If you don’t have somewhere specific in mind then head to voucher code websites like groupon for inspiration and discount entry tickets as you can normally find some real bargains.
Also make sure you are on the facebook pages and mailing lists for local attractions as most reduce the prices for locals out of season.
Plan birthdays and Christmas gifts in advance whenever possible, just find a good hiding space in the house so you don’t get caught, or try some of these unique ways to say Happy Birthday as they could save you money.
When out shopping always keep an eye out for bargains and buy multiple to keep to one side for those last minute party invites too.
Places like The works are perfect for kids party presents as they often have 10 books for £10 or other gift sets at great prices.
Here are some more things you should consider when budgeting for gifts.
2.) Recycle, reuse and resell
Never throw anything of any value away unless you are 100% sure you will never need it again. Unless you are absolutely positive you will never have another baby then save the expensive baby equipment, even if it means storing it in the attic or at a family members house if they have more room. These items are so expensive and so many people get rid and then regret it. It is much more cost effective to re use these items with baby number 2, 3, 4….if possible. If you are adamant there will be no more babies then try and sell the items of value if you can. This may take time but it is worth the effort and the extra time if you can cash in on the kids old train collection and use that money towards the latest xbox game.
Follow these tried and tested selling tips for eBay if you are unsure where to start. You can also use vinted and facebook selling pages as they have no fees so all the money you make is yours.
Also look at recycling items, is there a way to turn old furniture into fancy new pieces or old clothes into dressing up outfits. Always stop, look and think before you throw things away as essentially you could be throwing money away.
Here is a list of things to do with your old clothes if you need some inspiration.
3.) Shop around and use discount sites
There are so many online alternatives to the high stores now and they are often competing with each other which is great for us as the consumer as it means there are some fantastic deals to be had. Sites like latestdeals are great especially when looking for electronic gifts for teenagers that feel the need to keep up with the latest trends and have the same as their mates. For example at the moment they have a range of headphones with various discounts available some as much as 66% off the retail price giving you a massive saving especially if you have more than one child. Sites like Latest deals also mean that the long forgotten self treat due to parent guilt can actually be reintroduced not only at a fraction of the cost but also a fraction of the attached guilt – double win!
It is also worth asking shops or sites if they so price match guarantees and then if you can find it cheaper online and show your local store they may match it and you don’t need to wait or pay for delivery.
These are my top three money saving tips for single parents but you can find an extra 15 money saving tips here if you still need more inspiration and if check out this post if you specifically want to save money during the summer holidays.
If you are reading this and need some additional help with your finances then please do make sure you have done a benefit checker online to ensure you are receiving all the help you are entitled too. If you need help with food then follow these steps for how to access a food bank and speak to your child’s teacher as they may also be able to help with school meals and trips if you are struggling to pay for them too.