Taking care of your family finances during the 5 year squeeze

With the negotiations for BREXIT ongoing, the UK economy seems to be see-sawing as a result of a climate of political and economic uncertainty. One thing’s for sure though – as a nation we are still heavily in debt and family budgeting will be more important than ever.

The Government’s plans to reduce this deficit have resulted in the threat of both increased taxes and spending cuts. Whilst there is hope that the deficit could be eradicated by 2022, the steps needed to reduce it are likely to have a considerable effect on family finances – meaning we have to tighten our belts harder than ever.

Calculator on a table with coins blurred in the distance

As such, we all need to know how to save a little bit of extra money to see us through the next 5 years. By following these simple tips from icount, you will be on the road to success and saving your family money before you know it.

Be open to change

The first tip to saving yourself a bit of cash is to be prepared to shop elsewhere. We all know supermarkets love to compete with one another and at times, prices on our family’s favourite products can rise and drop at different times. It isn’t just supermarkets that do this, either! When you’re aware of it, you’ll notice that many retail stores hike up or reduce their prices, depending on what their competitors are doing at the time.

To make sure you’re getting your shopping for the best bargain prices, be open to comparing supermarket and retail stores as you go, to get the best deal you can. Websites such as My Supermarket help to make this a lot easier.

Make sure to make the most out of card points supermarkets and cosmetic stores give you as it saves money in the long run, and you may even get some items free!

30 minutes of money management

Whether it’s as soon as you get in from work one day, or between the Coronation Street double bill, take a tiny 30 minutes every month to work through your finances and save yourself a bit of money.

Whether it’s finding a better savings account to the one you already have, or considering ways to better budget your spending, there’s always something that can be done to improve your finances and prepare your family for the future.

Jar full of various coins
Image credit: Ota Photos

A penny goes a long way

Put some money in a jar every month, to go towards unexpected payments or bills that are a little higher than normal. That way you won’t feel as though you are paying for costly additions to your month out of your everyday spending money.

Over time, this once small savings pot could quickly become a rather large rainy day fund. If you manage to save up quite a lot of money with these small monthly additions, think about opening a savings account specifically for this. Look for a savings account that you cannot open unless it’s an emergency. It will prevent you from taking money out and it keeps it aside for the most important of times.

Additionally, keep a jar of loose pennies in that you know you will not spend. After a few months of collecting, take them into your local bank – you never know how many notes you could get back!

No use, get rid!

Find that you have a load of unwanted things in your house? Why not organise a car boot sale and sell old things you no longer want. Not only could it give you a small financial boost, it gives your unwanted goods to other people that may benefit from them.

Car boot sales are a good way to spend a morning every once in awhile, to make a few pounds and help someone else out.  Just make sure you don’t get rid of everything that has some sentimental value.  Some things are too precious to get rid of.

Introduce the money management rule of thumb

It’s said that 50% of your monthly finances should go towards vital payments, 30% should be kept for you to spend and the final 20% should be put into your savings pot. It might seem a little strict to manage your money in this way but it will certainly benefit you during these tough few years and thereafter.

Spread the word

Tell your children. Encourage them to stick to a budget when buying sweets or toys. Emphasise the point of not spending all of your money at once and saving a little bit for another day.

Perhaps you could open a savings account for your children to get them started? Even just £2 a week will help and give them something to build on, and it will also teach them the importance of money management and saving, ready for the uncertain times ahead.

Selection of sweets in little white dishes
Image credit: Pexels

Simplify your shopping

Try to write out a shopping list before you go shopping, this way it will make you less likely to spontaneously buy items you do not necessarily need. Decide on a budget before you head out and add up the price of your items as you go so that you know how much you’ve spent when you approach the tills.

By following these simple steps you will be on the way to helping your family immediately, and you will definitely save more than you think. Remember, saving is key and family budgeting will hopefully help you weather the storm.

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