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Save Money

How to Manage the Cost of Having Children

There is no arguing with the fact that children are expensive. Many people do not think of the cost of children before they have them although some will save up first to make sure that they can manage. The costs can seem overwhelming if you think about how much a child costs for a lifetime, but these costs will be spread over a period of time and it is possible to make sure that they do not get too overwhelming as well.

It is wise to think before you have children about how you will manage. It is not just the cost of feeding, clothing and entertaining the child but also if one parent gives up work, there will be a cost associated with that as well. However, a child soon goes to school and it is possible for both parents to work again, possibly part time, to increase the income again. This means that saving up for a child could be wise, so that there is money to use while one parent is not in work.
It is important to make sure that you do not get into the habit of overspending on your child. You will need to make sure that you budget so that you do not overspend. It can be tempting to spoil them and buy all sorts of lovely and cute things, but they do not need that much and will grow out of clothes and toys very quickly so it can be wise to just but the basics. You may also be lucky enough to know lots of people that will want to buy you gifts and that may help you out with some of the costs as well.

If children get used to being bought lots of things, they will expect it. However, if you start off by not buying them lots then they will make do with what they have, still be happy but not expect it. You could always put money aside for them, if you want to give them things, which will mean that they will have some savings when they get older and it will get them used to saving up money which could be great for their future.
There will be times when costs are high, such as to pay for things like school uniform and holidays, but budgeting is key. Make sure that you are frugal generally, finding the best prices and not buying more than necessary. Then you will be able to afford those things when you want to.

If one parent is at home looking after the children, it may be possible for them to earn some extra money while they are there. Obviously looking after children is hard work and a full time job but it may be possible to squeeze in some work from home jobs as well. There are opportunities advertised online that you could look at, for example or you may even be able to do some work from your previous employer at home. It can be worth looking for things, even if you answer surveys to get money it could help to boost your income.

It is wise also to keep a budget all of the time. Make sure that you are aware of how much money is coming in and how much has to go out on bills. Then you will have the rest to spend and you will need to be careful. Parents will often make sacrifices for their children so you may have to cut back on buying things for yourself, eating and going out, doing home improvements and things like that. This may seem like it will be hard but having a child can really change your perspective on life and you may feel that you will be happy to give up these things so that you can have a child. It is also worth remembering that eventually the child will start earning their own money and you can choose to stop financially supporting them. Some parents do continue to support their children, but if you do not want to then you will need to teach them how to become financially independent from you and they should not need to rely on you once they start earning money of their own.

Interest Rates

How to Protect Against Interest Rate Rises

Many people who have loans get very worried about the prospect of interest rate rises. It is not surprising because when the Bank of England raises the base rate then the lenders will often raise their rates as well and if you are on a variable rate, it means that you will end up paying out more in interest each month.

It is wise, if you are worried to calculate the impact of a rate rise. Work out how much extra you will actually be paying if rates go up and this will give you a proper idea of how much extra money you will have to find. You may find that it is less than you imagined and that you will be able to cope, but of course, you may find that you will struggle to find that much extra money.

It is always good to be prepared for a rate rise as they can potentially happen at any time. Make sure that you have a plan for coping with them. You will need to make sure that you will have enough money to cover the increase in interest rate should it happen. A small increase will be easier to cope with but a series of small increases could be just as difficult as one large increase. It is worth looking at your finances to see how you would manage. You may be lucky enough to just have to save less money as you always have some left over when you are paid, but there are many people that are not in this situation and would struggle to manage.

It can be wise, if you can, to put some money by each month into a savings account. Then you would have something to fall back on should you need it. This means that if you have some hard months, where you struggle to make ends meet, you will have some money available to use so that you will not have to go into debt. Of course, savings do not last forever if you keep dipping into them, but they could be a nice cushion and temporary solution.

If you are struggling then you will need to think of ways to manage better. This could mean that you need to think of ways to spend less money and how to earn more money. Neither is completely easy although there are some things that you may be able to do that will not make a big difference to your lifestyle but will make a difference to you financially. If you compare prices on everything that you buy, you may find that you will be able to save significant chunks of money by switching suppliers or retailers. The biggest savings can usually be found on insurance, loans, mortgages, utilities and television packages. Look at what you could save if you change to a different deal or if you switch companies. It is worth checking these things regularly because switching may save you money for a while but then another place could come up with a better deal. Buying less luxuries and shopping in cheaper shops could also help to save money and it may not be that hard either. Asking for a pay rise could also be a fairly easy way to get some extra money. If you do manage to get extra money like this you need to make sure that you do not get into the habit of spending too much of it. If you do then you could be back in the position that you were to start with. Try to save some each month to fall back on and if your loan repayments do go up, you will be able to afford the increase.

It can be wise to consider whether it is worth you paying back your loans early. This could mean that when rates do rise significantly you will have no debt to worry about. Even making small overpayments each month could help to whittle down what you owe and make a big difference to your future. It could bring down the amount of interest you have to pay each month as well so when the rates rise, you will not struggle to find the extra money to pay.