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How to save money as a family

Becoming a parent is one of the most magical experiences, but it can also be daunting as you try to figure out how to provide your children the life you dreamt of for them, so here's how you can do it all on a budget


According to a recent survey conducted by Graco, over 70% of parents feel that they can not afford the lifestyle that they want for their family.


When I became a Mum, this feeling was all to familiar to me and I suffered with crushing Mum guilt. We are all guilty of comparison and now that we are so exposed to social media, it is very easy to look into other peoples lives and see all the 'things' which we feel we should be doing or buying to be a great parent.


Luckily, I was raised by a super savvy family and during this transition into motherhood, I used these early memories of my own childhood and my love of bargain hunting to find all the tricks on how to do it on a budget.


My family were strong believers that teaching us about money was a crucial life skill. But this didn’t make my childhood bad, in fact in made it fun and interesting! My Auntie would take me to the supermarket and give me £5 to go searching for the ingredients for dinner or we would go to a car boot sale and search out a bargain on a budget. I truly believe these early interactions, set me up to succeed and survive in later life and are fundamental skills I hope to teach my own children.


When I went onto Maternity Leave and subsequently had to pay for childcare, money became very tight! However, I wasn’t ready to give up on the plans I had made for my family, so I started to get creative in ways we could save money but still give our children the life we had dreamed for them. I got to work, setting strong family budgets and saving for the dreams we had.


This article will cover loads of different ways that you can navigate Motherhood on a budget, without compromising on all those magical moments that you had planned to create for your family.


Free fun


We live in such a busy world and its easy to think that we always need to be 'doing' something with the kids. How often do we spend weekends, running from soft play to farms, trying desperately to fill our children's days with as many magical memories as we can.


I want to challenge you to something.

Sit and ask your child what their favourite memory is that they have of you.


I asked my 4 year old Son and his answer shocked me. He said his favourite thing to do with me was painting the lounge and cooking dinner together.


You don't need to spend any money at all to make memories with your children.


In fact I bet some of you best memories together will come when you allow for free time together to let the day take you. Whether you end up collecting shells on the beach, going for a walk to the park or a bike ride in the rain.


All your children want is YOU and you are enough for them, there is no price tag on fun and don't let social media tell you any differently.


Here are our families favourite ideas for a no spend day:


  • Teddy bear picnic in the garden

  • Put on a puppet show with hand made paper puppets

  • Scooter/bike ride to the park

  • Scavenger hunt walk - I print out a list of objects for them to spot on a walk

  • Rock painting in the woods - take some water colour paints and collect rocks to paint

  • Visit to the local library to pick some new books

  • At home spa day


Kids birthdays on a budget


The world has gone mad when it comes to kids birthday parties, so I just want to tell you its OK if you don't go OTT for your kids birthday. They will have an equally brilliant birthday if you spend £500 or if you spend £50.


There are lots of ways you can save money on kids birthdays so lets jump into some of my favourites!


Firstly, you don't have to have an ordinary party, which will cost you £100's, especially if you end up inviting the entire class. Sure you still want to throw your kids a party to celebrate their big day, you just don't want to burn through too much money in the process.


Budget friendly birthday party ideas

  • If you're considering organising a bowling or soft play party - rather than opting for the party package, just pay for the kids to attend instead. This will work out way cheaper for you and you can provide your own food after the activity has finished.

  • Picnic party - if you have a summer birthday this is an absolute winner. Lay out some blankets and get all their friends together for the ultimate birthday party picnic in the park.

  • Sleepover party. If you're brave enough, allow them to have a slumber party! These were my favourite kind of parties as child. We got a takeaway pizza, had a foot spa (bubble bath in a bucket!) with some cucumber on our eyes and painted our nails. Core childhood memories.

  • Village hall messy play party - village hall hire is often pretty cheap, then you can set up some messy play activities for the children to enjoy. We did this for my son's second birthday and did a digger theme!


Next up, party bags! When we were kids, you got a bag of Haribo's and a slice of cake at the end of a party and you were buzzing. Nowadays, kids are leaving parties with £25 worth of 'bits', that lets face it, is usually a load of plastic rubbish that will eventually end up in the bin.


How to save money on party bags:


  • Give each child a book instead - you can either pick some up for a local charity shop or The Works have a great deal where you can get 10 books for £10

  • Give each child a packet of seeds to take home with them, so they can grow something for their garden

  • Instead of party bags, you could do an activity with the children as part of the party, so each child takes home something they've made instead

  • If you are doing party bags, you could print off some free colouring from Google and buy a large packet of crayons which you can divide into the bags, rather than buying individual smaller packets

  • DIY sweet cones


Finally presents! One tradition which I love to do for the kids birthdays to not only control the budget but also to teach them about the value of things is to buy gifts to fit into Want, Need, Wear, Read categories. This means that you can set clear expectations for your children about what gifting will look like on their birthday, which can make birthdays and Christmas gifting more manageable for parents. It also helps to cut down on getting things for the sake of it and them being wasted.


Saving money on family holidays


When we became a family, I didn't want us to work hard all year long to be able to enjoy just one week abroad. I wanted to experience the world with our children as frequently as we can. Unfortunately this can be difficult because of money, especially when school holiday prices sky rocket. Here are some of the things you could do to get away without breaking the bank.


One thing which we love to do as a cheap family holiday, is get the Ferry across to France, taking as much as we can with us and stay in a Eurocamp. This is usually much cheaper than flying and means you can get abroad for a cheap family holiday. There is LOADS to do in France for families and the Eurocamps which we stay at have lots of on site entertainment. You can read lots more about Eurocamp holidays on my blog.


You could save even more money by investing in a tent to take with you! Although you will have an initial large outlay for the equipment you'd need, camping holidays can be a really fun way to have lots of holidays as a family and the more that you go, the sooner you will see a return on your investment. As a child I LOVED going camping, across the UK and in the Isle of White and have enjoyed many camping holidays with my own family.


Another top tip for travelling to France, you can often get a really good deal on holidays in France during the May half term. This is because they do not have a May holiday in France, so the prices are really competitive compared to other times of the year.


Saving money as a family


Since becoming a parent, I have really found the power in saving little and often. This means that large amounts of money that I want to save become more manageable and easier to achieve. This is particularly true of events like birthdays and Christmas. If you start saving £50 a month from January towards Christmas, by December you will have £600! I set these up as sinking funds in my Monzo account, so that they money is set aside and builds up over the year for different events.


I also spend an hour with my husband the week of pay day every single month, to comb over out budget and see what money we have going out that month. We'll check the calendar to see what we've got coming up over the next for weeks and prioritise our spending by making a plan together. This has been fundamentally important for us to become better at managing our finances and having those open lines of communication around money has been really beneficial to our relationship too.


There is nothing worse than constantly arguing about money!


You are doing a wonderful job


I hope you've found something useful here, but the main thing I want you to take away from this, is that you are enough for your children and creating a magical childhood is priceless. Let me know in the comments your favourite way to save money as a family.


*New research from the baby products manufacturer, Graco reveals that 90% of Mums worry more about money once they are expecting or have a newborn and over half describe their feelings as anxious, and worried.


Nearly two thirds are concerned that finances are affecting their mental health. The research compelled the team at Graco to help with the support campaign, Family Matters and I was thrilled to be invited to contribute.


From 17th-23rd June, head to @Graco_uk for guidance on a range of subjects from feeding your family to managing family finances. If you are struggling, please know you are not alone and there is a lot of advice and support available to you if you need it.


If you're looking for more support and information head over to @Graco_uk on Instagram.


This blog post is sponsored by Graco

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Jun 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you!

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Jun 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you as always amazing tips

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Jun 17
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great read

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