Money

How to Cope with the Costs of a Large Family

Whether you have lots of children, cousins, siblings or in-laws, there are many costs which come with being part of a large family. It can seem like you are always trying to figure out how to afford different things. It will always be trickier than if you have a smaller family, but there can be ways to make things easier.

Get everyone to contribute

It can be helpful to get all of the family to contribute to things if they can. So, if you are having a get together with extended family then if everyone provides something towards it then the cost will be spread between them. In your specific household, it might be necessary to get older family members to work so that they can pay money in to cover their keep. If they are too young to work then perhaps, they could help with household chores while other family members work. Letting children understand that money is an issue can also be useful. They might understand more and be less demanding with regards to things that they want, if they know that you cannot afford as much as other families because your is so big.

Have no present pacts

A big expense with larger families can be buying gifts. Whether you have lots of children, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings or whatever, if you want to treat them all then it can get really expensive. It might feel like there is always a birthday present to buy or a celebration to contribute towards. It can be helpful if set up a no present pact with some people. It will probably not be something you want to do with children, but you could have an agreement that grown-ups do not do gifts, they just do gifts for the children or that you have a specific budget. It can be really tricky if one person pays a lot of money and others feel they have to keep up with that. If they will not agree to a budget then it could be worth just doing what you can afford and not trying to keep up with them.

Keep luxuries to a minimum

Treating ourselves can be a lot of fun. If we work hard, we will feel that we deserve some nice things. However, if you have a large family then luxuries can be difficult to afford. It can therefore be worth thinking about what you can do instead of buying these. Some treats are free. Perhaps borrowing a good book from the library, having a nice peaceful walk or visiting a local free art gallery could be great treats too. It is good to think about things that are free that you all enjoy so that you do not have to spend money to find things to do.

Track spending carefully

If you keep a good track on what you are spending that will help you to make sure that you are not buying unnecessary things and also not spending more than you can afford. It can really help to see exactly where all of your money is going as you may quickly start to change your shopping habits. You might also start comparing prices as well. This will allow you to cut down spending in some areas which will be useful. Just knowing what you are spending can be a good place to start so that you are able to prioritise what you really need and what may not be so important.

Set a tight budget

It might also be useful to set a really tight budget. This will allow you to make sure that you do not overspend. If you do not, it could mean that you will end up running out of money before you are next paid and having to get a loan. Although a loan can be useful in many circumstances, it is much better to plan well before getting one and make sure that you can afford the repayments rather than just going overdrawn and paying a very inflated price for it.

It can still be very tough when you are trying to afford everything. It might be that you will have to look at the possibility of getting a better paid job so that you can manage. This might mean that you will have to work more hours and therefore will have less time to spend with family. However, it could be worth it, if this means that you are able to afford everything that you need to buy. It could be about finding the exact balance between getting enough money and having a good quality of life. It can be a very tricky balance to sort out, but if you are careful with spending as well, you will hopefully be able to make it work out for you and your family.

Money

How to Plan for a Costly Winter

There are times in our lives when we should think hard about saving money to prepare for the future. This can be because we know that there will be expenses that we will need money for, perhaps buying a new car, saving up for a mortgage deposit or starting a family. However, many of us do not think about the smaller things which might also mean that we struggle financially. It can be wise to have a think about these things as well as it may mean that we will be able to avoid borrowing money unnecessarily as a result. One of these things could be to save up for the winter.

Why the importance of saving for the winter?

In the winter we often have more expenses that perhaps at other times of the year. There are many reasons why we might spend more. Firstly, as it is colder in the winter, we will spend more money on heating. This can make a huge difference to our fuel bills. We may also use the lights more and be more likely to have hot meals and oven cooked food and so all of these things will add to it as well.

If we celebrate Christmas or other holidays at this time of year, then there may be gifts to buy. We also tend to either eat more food or buy more luxurious food and drink which means that we have to find money to pay for this. We may also travel to see people more and may even buy new clothes for parties or outings.

With the weather being colder and wetter we will tend to use the car or public transport more often when travelling. It is not so attractive to cycle or walk to places when it is like this. This means that we might be paying out more of fuel as well as wear and tear on the car, if we are driving more.

All of these extra costs mean that it is a time when we are likely to spend more money and therefore saving up for this time could be wise. It will mean that we will have some extra money to fall back on if we need it and that will allow us to avoid having to worry so much about how we will pay for everything.

How to save up

Saving for winter will need to take place before winter comes. This means that we will need to start thinking about it early. The very best plan would be to start as soon as winter is over so that you have all of spring, summer and autumn to save up money.

It can be wise to calculate exactly how much money you will need for this time. This could mean that you will need to add up how much that extra spending might come to. If you have previous bank records then you may be able to calculate how much this will be. Otherwise, you might be able to make a good estimate by thinking about what you need to buy and how much it might all cost. You could look at past utility bills or online records to see how much extra you spent and also think about how much you spend at Christmas. You might know roughly who you buy things for and how much you spend on each and then if you add in extra for wrapping, postage and cards, you will be able to work out exactly how much you will need to put by.

Once you have a total, it could be worth dividing it by the number of months you are saving for. Then you will be able to know how much you need to aim to save up each month.

Where to find the money

If you do not have a lot of spare money each month then it can be difficult to work out how you will manage to save this extra money. It will be worth it though as you will need to find the money eventually, even if you borrow it and repay it later. There are basically two things that you can do to get more money. One is that you can spend less money and the other is to earn more. It might be that you will be able to do a combination of these to have a bigger impact. It can feel hard to do either of these but they may not be as tricky as you think. Try comparing prices and make sure you are paying out more than necessary, go without a few things that you do not need and do not bring you loads of pleasure, see if you can pick up a bit of freelance work some online work or something like that. There are lots of opportunities to try out things that might help. It can actually be fun to change things about, do something different and have the satisfaction of knowing that you have the money that you need well in advance of the winter.