5 key tips for family saving
Not becoming a mother until I was 35, it really doesn’t surprise me to see recent statistics that the average age of mothers giving birth to their first child in the UK is 34, but what did surprise me is that the number of babies born has fallen to a seven-year low. There are probably a number of reasons as to why that is, but no doubt one of the biggest is the rising cost of raising a family in this day and age.
It’s estimated that the lifetime cost could be as much as £230,000 per child by the time they turn 21, although if you wish to do an estimation yourself, you could make use of this handy tool. Either way, money does unfortunately come into the equation when planning a family. That’s not to say that you should be put off from having one; merely that you need to ingrain some good habits and be thrifty in order to help you save a lot of money.
Here are five quick and easy bits of advice which should hopefully set you on your way:
Childcare tax credits
It’s thought that up to 100,000 working parents may be missing out on thousands of pounds in childcare tax credits. It’s a common misconception that tax credits are for the unemployed – these are actually for the employed! So if you’re a single parent working 16+ hours a week, or a couple both working 16+ hours a week (with a household income under £46,000), you should definitely check to find out if you’re eligible.
Free kids prescriptions and dental care
A lot of people aren’t aware that kids across the UK are entitled to free prescriptions, optician checkups, dental and a whole lot more. In England, this applies to under 16s (and under 19s still in full-time education), and free dental care applies up until the age of 18.
Free day trips out
Family day trips can be a big drain on the wallet, but there are a myriad of activities and excursions out there which don’t cost a penny. Kids under the age of five get in for free to all National Trust venues such as national parks, gardens and castles. Or if they’re a bit older and still fancy something educational, there are over 180 free museums and galleries across the country which you can visit together.
Grab a family railcard and save
Family railcards cost just £30, and can save you a hundreds of pounds throughout the year. It’s generally applicable for most standard fares across Britain, which means you can save a third of the price whether you’re making a short trip to the shops, a visit to the grandparents, a family day out or a holiday across country – provided your kid(s) are with you of course. Even if you spend as little as £90 a year on train tickets, a Family & Friends Railcard will save you money overall.
Prioritise debt over savings
The cost of debt will usually outweigh interest earned on savings. If you have both debts and savings, your books are pretty unbalanced, and you would almost definitely benefit from transferring the latter across to pay off the former. If you’re struggling with debt, place your focus on paying this off before considering any ‘luxury’ outgoings. If you’re saddled with high-interest debt (eg: credit card) it may even be worth looking at debt consolidation, as these loans can save you a fortune in interest, with a minimum of hassle.
There are so many other measures you can take in order to cut costs, like buying second hand pushchairs, grabbing cheap kids clothing in specialist online stores, snapping up family deals on activities, meals, travel and a whole lot more. So yes, it is important to budget and be watchful of your pennies when starting a family. But don’t be daunted. With a minimum of effort, and plenty of fun along the way, you really can make it work very easily, and it will no doubt be the most rewarding experience you ever have!
Disclaimer: This is a paid collaborative post