January is generally a difficult month when it comes to finances at the best of times. We’ve just had Christmas, which tends to come hand in hand with some pretty hefty outgoings, and often, work becomes a little quiet. Take into account that we’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and the financial struggles become even more apparent. Sure, it’s essential that we follow social distancing rules and social isolation rules, but it’s difficult to ignore that these have resulted in a whole lot of financial hardship across the world. Businesses are struggling. Some are collapsing. Some are making mass redundancies. Some are only offering us limited working hours or limited pay. All taken into account, this could be a pretty difficult month for anybody. When you have kids, things become even more costly. So, what can you do to make life with kids a little cheaper? The good news is that it’s likely there are many ways that you can save without negatively impacting your family’s lives. Here are some suggestions that may be able to help you along the way!
Mend and Make Do
When kids are around, there are bound to be some accidents that result in things getting broken in some way or another. This is part and parcel of family life. Sure, there are rules you can lay down like not playing ball games inside the house or being careful when handling delicate items, but there are bound to be some broken items along the way regardless. Now, some things that break simply need to be thrown away. For example, a broken glass is no longer much use to anyone, as it can’t be safely used. However, there are some things that can repaired with a little skill and effort. For example, a broken ornament could be glued back together with hot melt glue sticks. A hole in a pair of jeans can be sewn back up using a needle and a friend. Sure, it may be preferable to completely replace any damaged item or belonging, but if money is tight, you can often repair things to an almost new state.
An important step you can take towards saving money is to actually understand your money. It’s absolutely essential that every family lives to a budget, so if you don’t have one yet, it’s time to make one. A budget will essentially ensure that all of your bills are paid, you don’t overspend and consequently helps you to avoid getting into financial trouble or debt. If you find that your financial circumstances change at any point – for example, your income reducing – you will need to create a new budget to ensure that everything still ticks over. Now, making a budget is pretty straightforward once you know the basics. Being able to budget properly will make sure you don’t miss agreed payments, helping you to save money on fees, fines, penalties and even legal costs.
- Calculate your total income after tax – the first step you need to take is calculating your total income after tax and other necessary deductions. Your salary isn’t the figure you will receive in your bank account. Instead, you need to deduct particular costs. The amount of tax you have to pay will depend on the tax bracket you fall into, so take a look and determine which tax bracket you are personally in. Then, there are a number of free to use, online calculators that will help you to figure out your actual income.
- Deduct Essential Outgoings – the next step you need to take is deducting your essential outgoings from your total pay each month. This tends to include rent or mortgage payments, council tax, energy, water, food shopping and any payments you may need to put out on contracts, car payments, insurance, and credit card or loan payments. Put simply, essential outgoings are the things you have to pay each month.
- Manage Your Disposable Income – the money you are left with is your disposable income. Make sure you don’t exceed this amount when it comes to your spending. This will keep you out of debt, which will help you to avoid interest charges.
As you can see, money management is important during times like these and saving wherever possible can really make a significant difference to your day to day family life. Hopefully, some of the suggestions above will really help you out!