Family budgets are being stretched more than ever nowadays as wages stagnate and the cost of living continues to increase.
It can at times feel like mums and dads are fighting a losing battle to both maintain a budget and keep their children happy. Thousands of families across the UK slip into debt as they struggle to pay back expensive energy bills or splurge a little too much on big events such as Christmas and birthdays.
Having a budget is absolutely crucial for people with young families and a few simple measures can ensure that people can go about their daily lives without worrying about falling in debt. It can also mean that they can still provide their kids with everything they could wish for and occasionally treat them.
From changing supermarkets to switching a light off when leaving a room, simple changes can provide huge benefits in the long term. It means there is little worry of running up huge bills or having to find an alternative means of paying back creditors. This guide provides a few handy tips for people looking to get thrifty in their day to day lives.
There is a price war going on in the supermarket sector at the minute. The traditional names of Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury's are battling it out with discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. The latter are gaining a bigger market share as more and more consumers switch from their traditional supermarket.
As a result many supermarkets have begun to drop their prices so there are plenty of bargains to be had. Discount grocery stores are also a great place to do a 'big shop' for a fraction of what it would cost using your regular supermarket.
Shopping around is key to saving money.
Make use of coupons
Coupons are no longer restricted to being printed in newspapers or magazines. While they still exist in that format they have also migrated to the internet where there are a host of dedicated websites providing great discounts for a whole range of activities.
Supermarkets offer loyalty schemes where people can collect points every time you shop and then, as a reward, will send coupons providing money off 'favourite items', providing a major help when doing the weekly shopping.
Dedicated coupon websites also provides discounts to some of the UK's favourite attractions. This is perfect for family days out and will mean that there is not that moment of panic or shock when arriving at the gate and it is much more expensive than normal. The websites offer registration so that exclusive deals can be emailed on a daily or weekly basis.
Be frugal with energy use
Gas and electricity are two of the biggest expenditures for any household and can creep up if not kept under control. Especially with a family it can be difficult to ensure that everything is being done to keep bills down but there are a few simple things that can be done to save a bit of cash from the monthly bill.
One of the most obvious things is switching lights off when leaving rooms, it may seem like a no-brainer but if left on lights can potentially add on a few extra pounds to the overall bill. When going out the house, make sure the television is switched fully off and not just on standby as this again will add money on the bill.
Should a big bill come in then people can negotiate with their energy provider to establish a payment plan where they pay off in installments as opposed to all at once.
Free school dinners
The government announced in July 2014 that a demographic of children will be entitled to receiving free school meals. The initiative is a great way for hard-up families to save money instead of paying to make packed lunches or give their child a few pounds to get their dinner at school.
To apply for free school meals, families must be either receiving income support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance among a host of other payments.