Money isn’t the be all and end all, and you can certainly raise a family and live a happy life without huge amounts of money in the bank. However, it’s important to have a grasp on what you do have to keep things running as smoothly as possible. You may not need the latest gadgets or designer brands, but you do need to ensure that all of your outgoings are covered and you can afford the things you need for your family to get by. It’s important to know your family finance situation. Here’s how you can improve your financial situation by keeping your costs under control.
GET OUT OF DEBT
Being in debt is one of the worst possible situations for your finances to be in. Even if your debt isn’t that high and you’re managing the payments, each month that you carry a balance you’ll be paying interest. Do what you can to pay off any outstanding balances, keep one credit card open and spend a small amount onto it each month. When the bill comes in pay it in full, that way you keep improving your credit score but aren’t being charged any interest. If your debt is becoming unmanageable and is steadily growing, speak to a debt company or charity. They can negotiate frozen interest and reduced payments from your creditors through an informal agreement. If your debts are higher, an IVA or bankruptcy may be the only way. Whatever the situation, don’t bury your head in the sand. Get it all out into the open, add up all of the balances you owe so you know what kind of position you’re in. Seek help if needed, this will stop creditors from harassing you, and more charges being added to your balance. For example, did you know that you’re charged every time a letter from a debt collection agency is sent out to you?
USE COMPARISON SITES
Bills are a necessary evil, they’re something we’re always going to have to pay as much as we might not want to. However, you shouldn’t settle with paying over the odds- and if it’s been quite a while since you went through your providers than you probably are. Run quotes for things like energy tariffs, insurances and broadband deals. If you’re out of contract you’re in a strong position to negotiate a new customer deal, or switch to another company. It might take a morning of running quotes and making phone calls, but it can add to huge savings over the course of the year. Why put extra money in the pockets of these big companies when you don’t need to?
SPENDING MONEY ON FOOD
One place most of us overspend is on is food. From groceries to takeout, to food and drinks on days out to meals in restaurants, it can add up in a big way. Aim to cook more and prepare more food at home- for example, instead of buying lunch at work take your own. Instead of buying overpriced food and drinks when you’re out for the day, bring your own picnic. Rather than ordering regular takeout, cook instead and save it for a special treat. It will do your waistline, as well as your wallet a favour. Planning meals can be really helpful, buy yourself a chalkboard menu planner and write out what you’re going to cook each day of the week. That way you can shop based off this and create a grocery list. It doesn’t get to thursday and you realise you’re out of food, and it also prevents you from buying too much and wasting it. If you come across cheap ingredients on sale, especially meat then buy it. Cook it into something delicious, portion it into tubs and freeze. That way you always have easy backup meals if you’re too tired to cook or happen to run out of things, without having to resort to ordering in.
CLAIM ALL OF THE BENEFITS AVAILABLE TO YOU
Are you getting all of the money you’re entitled to? Depending on your situation and where you live, you might be eligible for some extra support financially. From military spouse benefits if your partner is in the army, to child benefit if you’re on a low income and raising a baby. If you’re out of work, sick or caring for a loved one you also might be entitled to help. Call your local benefits advice line and have them point you in the right direction. Life can be a struggle at times, if there’s assistance out there for you then you should be claiming it- it’s owed to you after all. If you’ve recently been made redundant, become sick or your situation has changed it can be a struggle knowing what to do next. These payments can help you through a difficult time.
A SIDE HUSTLE
A side hustle is a fantastic way to utilise the skills and interests you already have and turn them into a way to make money. If you’re a keen baker, love to craft, can play a musical instrument or love to write then these are all avenues you could explore. You could start a blog, become a tutor, start your own business or sign up to a freelancing site. These kinds of things can be done in your free time, and can be a way to really help your financial situation. They’re especially great for busy moms as it keeps your skills up, enables you to contribute financially but it’s flexible so you can work it around raising your family. Many side hustles are cheap to start up, and can be done right from your own home. So you could put in some time when your kids are at school or sleeping.