I’ve been a Dad now for a little over 18 months, so I fully understand that having children can have a significant impact on household income and expenditure. You may want to reduce working hours (which depletes income) and there’s a whole heap of expenses that you may or may not have expected… Here’s a few lessons that we’ve learned, and apply at home, to make the pounds stretch further:
1. Nappies – A perfect example of a product where the most expensive doesn’t mean that it’s the best. Whilst I never thought I would care (never mind evangelise) about such things, ALDI nappies are number 1 on my list. They’re brilliant!!! Not only do they have the lowest failure rate of any that we’ve tried, they’re also significantly cheaper than other leading brands.
2. Pre-Loved Stuff – This is the way to go for all sorts of things, including equipment, toys, and particularly clothes. Take your pick, eBay, Facebook ‘Mums groups’, charity shops, or table top sales.
- Equipment – we purchased our cot from a grandmother who’d bought it “just in case ..” and it was slept in only 2-3 times. It was as good as new and only a third of the new price. I’d strongly recommend a brand new mattress for several reasons.
- Clothing bundles – why send your little one to nursery in brand new gear only for them to throw paint all over it?! We’ve had some ‘new with tags’ in bundles we’ve bought, and also had bundles (for £25) that have been so large we only needed half, and sold the rest to recover some cash. If you see my boy in obviously brand new clothes, there’s a good chance they were presents.
- Toys – 2 tips here. a) This is another area where eBay and Facebook have served us well, and it doesn’t take long to give most things a scrub. b) DO NOT take your child (if they’re older than about 12 months) to Toys-R-Us, Smyths or other such hives of excitement. You are guaranteed to spend money, even if it’s just to stop the crying (and the judgemental eyes of others) because your little one will ultimately want to take the whole shop home, and they get most upset when they can’t!
3. Annual Memberships – Our first trip to Bristol Aquarium was very successful, as a baby he loved watching the fish and their bright and varied colours. We subsequently returned another 5 times as a family, with grandparents and friends. Annual memberships ‘broke even’ after 3 visits.
4. Childcare Vouchers – If you are able to do so, get these from your employer. The expense is deducted from salary before tax is calculated. If, like me, you are self-employed and run a limited company then you’re able to pay through salary sacrifice, or add as a Directors Benefit paid by the business. However you approach this, it will save tax.
5. Pay for what you use – As an example, let’s look at TV. I am a huge fan of Formula 1, and to watch it live I have the Sky Sports F1 channel, which comes free with a bundle of other sports channels that I don’t watch. After the final race of the season I call and cancel, and before the new season I re-activate.
As you can see, it’s really not too difficult to save more than the £30 or £40 per month* that could be used to provide for financial security and stability that your family may need in the future. Modifying a home for disability or taking time off work to care for sick children can cost thousands. Insurance for your family isn’t (for most people) something that you can’t afford, it is something that you can’t afford not to have.
If you think we could help you find a protection solution for you and your family, give us a call on 0117 204 7440.
* We will discuss the needs of each individual, and will then make recommendations based upon your individual circumstances, objectives, and any existing provision that may have been arranged by you or your employer.