Things change when you have kids - you are no longer on your own and only responsible for your own well-being; there are little ones involved, that you are in charge of, and that you need to protect and support. Unfortunately, the financials of supporting a family and ensuring that they get to experience things like holidays, university, etc. can be tricky. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible. Let's take a look at how you can save for your small family!
1. Budget like your life depends on it
Budgeting is the no. 1 thing you should be doing when you've got a family to support, regardless of what you are actually saving for. Spending money recklessly and without tracking your purchases or expenses is not a good idea anyway, so be sure to set up a budget to help you keep your spending under control.
Figure out how much income you have, and what is your absolute minimum spending for necessities - rent/mortgage payments, car expenses, groceries, etc. and what you can afford to add extra. And then stick to this amount, in order to allow yourself to save the rest. Money For Life can provide advice for things like this.
2. Book your holiday ahead of time
If you are looking to take your entire family on holiday, that's going to be a significant cost that you will end up feeling very sharply. However, you can still make things work. The trick here is to plan and book your holiday as early as possible. The sooner you book, the cheaper your travel and accommodation expenses will be. You may even be able to get offers and discounts, or a chance to pay in monthly instalments in order to afford a holiday for multiple people.
3. Look for discounts and offers
When you try to live frugally for a while, you learn that you almost never have to pay full price for anything, if you are smart about the way you shop. Most of the time, you will be able to find offers, discounts, coupons, and codes that will significantly cut down on the price of your items, whether we're talking about groceries, clothing, or gadgets. Money Saving Expert has an entire section on deals and vouchers.
In fact, you may even be able to get things second hand, or at second hand prices, even though the items are brand new (sometimes even with tags!). Don't be afraid of charity shops, eBay, or stores like TKMaxx. That's where the cheap treasures are!
4. Put money towards a different goal every month
If you are trying to save for multiple things, it can feel impossible to actually put any money aside. Would it be easier to just focus on one goal? Maybe. Or you could just pick a different goal to put money towards every month. This month, you put your leftovers into your kid's university account, then next month, the money goes into your holiday account, and the month after that, you can put it towards the party you are organising for your vow renewal. You can make all of these dreams possible as long as you exercise patience and discipline.
5. Pay off debt
Before you can actually effectively save any money, you need to pay off your debt. Otherwise, you are just throwing money away. You see, the longer it takes you to pay off your debt, the higher the interest charge you rack up. That interest charge will outweigh whatever interest you earn on your savings. Therefore, it makes more financial sense to aggressively pay off debt for a while, before you can move on to making any sort of real savings. It'll take a while, but you get to keep every penny you set aside, instead of giving it to the bank for no reason. Citizens Advice can help with paying off debt!
As you can see, there are always ways to save money, even when you have a family to support and take care of. It's not always easy, but it's possible. You just have to exercise some smart budgeting and think - and spend - outside the box in order to ensure that all of your family's needs and wants are met. That way, you can have your cake and eat it, too!