Having a family can stretch the budget in all sorts of new ways. There’s new everyday expenses, big purchases like cots and car seats, dropping to one income and childcare to consider.
Luckily, there’s plenty of smart ways to take shortcuts and make your money go further. Try these super simple tips from money expert Glen James from Sort Your Money Out.
1. Eat smarter
With a fast-paced family life, it’s easy to turn to takeaway meals as a tasty shortcut, but Glen advises against over-indulging on a regular basis.
His serving suggestion? Plan ahead when it comes to eating out. “Choose only two times per week to ‘go out’, like Sunday brunch and Saturday night,” he suggests.
When it comes to other meals, save yourself a LOT of money by being mindful when buying groceries. “Don’t ever go to the supermarket without two things: a full tummy and a shopping list,” says Glen.
Create a meal-plan for the week so you can buy items specifically and avoid wastage. “Try batch cooking in advance, have friends over for dinner and vice versa, or find a friend you can do meal prep with and make a playdate out of it with the kids,” adds Glen.
2. Beware credit cards
When you’re spending more time housebound, it can be tempting to rack up those credit card buys online. New purchases are exciting, but Glen warns against falling into the ‘buy now, worry later’ credit trap.
“The credit card game has way more victims than victors. You can’t beat the bank, but you can beat your own money habits by stopping your over spending!”
3. Review your energy plan
With children, your energy usage can increase a lot as you’re at home more in the day and up at night so it’s smart to review your costs.
“In the competitive electricity market, you should be contacting your provider and reviewing your energy plan anyway every two years,” advises Glen. ‘They won’t independently let you know if there’s a more competitive plan available! Most providers will also give you a pay-on-time discount if you elect automatic direct deposit.”
Read more about families and finance:
- How this mum saved $10k in one year
- Can you afford a baby? How to prepare to lose your income for a year
- Money talks! 6 reasons why new parents should see a financial adviser
4. Cull your streaming subscriptions
“We’re living in the age of choice but there’s still a lot of families paying over $100 per month on cable or satellite TV,” says Glen.
“Over the coming years, we’ll see even more online streaming services enter the market. Netflix and Stan are already very cost-competitive so you should be able to be entertained for around $40 per month, if you wanted those two services. Foxtel is dead, unless you’re into live sports.”
Another great tip from Glen is to check your Google Play or iTunes subscriptions for app purchases you might have forgotten about and don’t need anymore. Small amounts such as $4.99 could be being deducted every month yet going unnoticed – remember it all adds up!
5. Shop around for the best chemist
Babies often mean many trips to the doctor or pharmacy so finding the best one to help you save on medications and consultations is vital.
“Discount chemists are sometimes no cheaper than the name brands so do a price test,” says Glen. “Ideally, you want to find a local pharmacist who you like and can build a relationship with. For things like rashes and non-urgent care, you can save on the doctor consult and ask the pharmacist instead, so a premium chemist with a local owner may actually save you money!”
6. Revise your insurances
Insurance is necessary but can be very expensive so Glen’s final tip is to make sure you have the best insurances in place for your family.
“Call your insurance providers and check that you have packaging deals, such as car, home etc.,” he advises. “Sometimes increasing the excess could be a good trade-off for cash flow too as this will decrease the premium, but ensure you have cash savings.”
“And when it comes to income and life life insurance, talk to your adviser because in some instances these can be paid from your super, which will allow your cash flow to be less impacted.”
Too easy! Who said you couldn’t have kids and still save money?!
This post is brought to you by Sort Your Money Out with Glen James