When your family is reliant on one income, it can be stressful. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your money stretch further and ensure you don’t leave yourself short. Here are 7 tips for raising your family on a single income.
Build emergency savings
If you’ve only got one wage coming in, it’s a good idea to build up a ‘rainy-day’ fund. Knowing that you’ve got some money put aside for any emergency expenses will help take the pressure off.
Even saving as little as £5 a week or £10 per month will go some way to building up an emergency pot. Set aside the amount you can afford to save as soon as you get paid and put it in a separate bank account or money pot so that you aren’t tempted to spend it.
Set a budget
If you don’t plan how and where your money will be spent, it can be easy to overspend or leave yourself short. To start off with your budget, make a list of how much you need for essential bills (rent and utilities), then set an amount for other expenditures such as food, petrol, clothes, treats and savings.
Each week or month, make sure you stick to the budget you have set. If you know exactly how much you have to spend, you will make better decisions. If you have money left over at the end of the month, you can add it to your savings pot or treat the family.
Meal planning can be a great way of saving money. If you know what meals you are having, you can buy just the ingredients you need. This stops you buying items you won’t use and reduces the need for you to order emergency takeaway meals.
When meal planning, you can also cook in bulk and have leftovers the next day or freeze some portions for when you need something quick and easy.
Organise a no-spend weekend once a month
Weekends and school holidays can be expensive times for parents, but entertaining the children doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Try and plan at least one no-spend weekend each month. There are lots of fun things you can do that are free. For example, you could go for a walk, plan a picnic in the local park, have a board games day or a movie night.
Plan activities in advance and ensure you have everything you need so that you don’t have to spend any money.
Reduce your energy bills
High energy bills can have a big impact on family finances, but there are some easy ways to keep costs down.
Limit the time spent in the shower to reduce water costs. Get into the habit of turning off lights when there is nobody in the room and turn electronics off completely rather than leaving them on standby. Make sure the heating is not left on if there is nobody home.
Teach your children good habits too so that they are actively reducing water and energy use. Not only does it help keep costs down, but it’s also good for the environment too.
Live within your means
It’s easy to be tempted by things we don’t really need, but if you are supporting a family on one income, you need to be sensible with money.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying the latest technology, splashing out on a luxury car or spending a fortune on designer brands when you don’t need to. You can often save large amounts of money by buying older or less popular makes and models or buying second-hand.
Don’t rush into purchases. Items such as food and toiletries can vary in price from one supermarket to another, so do a bit of research to find out where things are cheapest. If you are making a big purchase, such as a washing machine or sofa, shop around before parting with your money.
When you need to renew a contract such as insurance, utilities or mobile phones, look at what deals different providers are offering. Many companies offer great deals for new customers, so it’s often beneficial to switch suppliers.
Bonus tip: Get the family involved
Teaching your children about money management will benefit them later in life, so get them involved with the planning. You don’t have to tell them exactly what money is coming in and going out, but you can get them involved with meal planning or choosing the activities for a no-spend weekend.
Get them involved in decisions of how any extra money is spent. For example, do they want a small weekly treat, or would they like to save up for a family day out?
By involving the whole family, you can work together to make savings, and you might even make managing money a bit more fun.
About Morses Club
At Morses Club, we understand that planning for those sudden costs isn’t always possible, even when you are careful with your money. We specialise in providing cash loans to cover any financial emergencies that crop up; you can find out more about what we do in our about us section.