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How to keep on top of your family finances

Over the years, I’ve learnt that it’s so important to keep a watch over the family’s finances.

From everyday living costs such as bills, rent, mortgages, and food, to unexpected events and treats such as holidays, birthdays and Christmas, the outgoings seem never ending.

This is why it’s so important to plan, budget and prepare for every eventuality. I know, I know, it’s easier said than done, especially when you have children to look after and a job to attend to. But believe me, it’s really worth investing the time and energy to ensure that your family finances are on track. There are also lots of great online resources to help you, such as free invoice templates reviews and mortgage or loan calculators.

It’s easy to bury your head in the sand and just hope for the best. But the sooner you are in charge of your family’s finances, the better. There’s no time like the present!

Here are some of the things that you should consider:

Check Your Entitlements

The most important thing you can do with your finances is to keep track of them. There are some easy ways you can save money every month. Make sure you are on the correct tax codes and that you are not paying any direct debits you no longer use. Ensure you are getting all the credits you are entitled too for your family circumstances for example tax credits and child benefit. Many people are entitled to money back and they do not even know. For example if you were aged 55 or over on the 6 April 2015 then you might be entitled to claim with pension freedoms.

Are you thinking ahead?

Whether it’s college, university, travelling, or getting on the property ladder, whatever path your little ones choose to take in life, they will almost certainly need your financial support, even if it’s only to a small degree.

Start saving for this as early as possible in order to give them the very best start as they make their first tender steps into the adult world.  Open a savings account and work out how much you can afford to spare each month. It doesn’t have to be a vast amount – over the months, years, and decades, it will all add up. You could also find out what aids the state can offer for your child’s education. It would be wise to compare parent plus loan interest rates to check if they can be a good option for you.

Have you got a plan or budget?

You wouldn’t start any large project without a carefully thought through and realistic financial plan and budget. So why would you try and run your family without the same? Running a household is just like a large, on-going project, so it’s just as important that you have a financial plan and daily, weekly, or monthly budget. This is the simplest and most effective way to keep track of your income, outgoings, and savings.

piggy bank

Have you set goals as a family?

Although the adults tend to be in charge of the family’s financial affairs, the decisions that you make ultimately affect everyone, even your little ones. Once you’ve established your basic budget, it’s worth having a family discussion about certain aspects.

Of course, you need to be really careful and selective about which financial matters you discuss with your children, however, creating goals together when it comes to saving for holidays, trips, and special events, can really put your children in good stead for later life.

Are you overlooking anything?

There are a number of areas of family finances that often get overlooked. It’s easily done and we’re all guilty of it, we’ve got plenty of other things to think about after all! But many of these overlooked areas are really important.

For example, many families don’t check their credit report unless they are actually applying for credit. In actual fact, you should try and check your report at least once each year, just to be sure that there are no areas of concern. This can even help you to catch identity fraud and theft nice and early.

Are you spending on wants or needs?

The majority of purchases that you make on a daily basis are necessities – food, bills, fuel. Many, however are things that we want, rather than need.

Carefully consider every single purchase that you make – is it absolutely essential or is it a luxury? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a treat now and again, but make sure it is just that – now and again.

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