5 Saving Secrets to Keep Your Family on Budget

Saving can feel tough with a big family. The kids want the latest toys and tech, the food shop needs to cater for all (fussy) tastes and preferences and energy bills just don't seem to get any smaller.

That's where these five saving secrets can come in handy, to help create a buffer for life's emergencies or to save up for something special.

Good prep is the key to future saving

Okay, it's not the biggest secret, but the key to saving is ensuring all your income and expenses are accounted for and having a real budget - that you keep updated - in place. Then you can use what's leftover to build up your savings. That means tackling any small or expensive debts you have first - whether that's repayments on a short-term loan or clearing a credit card you may have used for a few purchases.

Once essential payments are out of the way, if you've got some excess left over transfer it straight to a savings account. Even a small amount should be saved if possible, every penny adds up over time. You should also look at where your money is going, accounting for every expense on your bank statement. Speak to your bank about stopping any unnecessary direct debits and subscriptions and pop that money into your savings account - you could even set up an automatic transfer so you don't have to remember.

Once your budget is in place, try out these tips to keep your family on track and moving towards that savings goal.

1. Physical cash feels harder to spend than using a card

Get the money you need each week out of an ATM and use this instead of your debit card. Handing over physical cash has more of an impact on how you spend, compared to using a card and particularly contactless. It may well make you think more about what you're buying and encourage you to either look for a cheaper option or not spend at all. Then, you'll be instantly saving some cash that you can pop into a moneybox at the end of the week.

2. Get the kids to help out

If your kids receive pocket money from a grandparent or other relative, encourage them to save this to use on treats for themselves. This can save you money when it comes to those little extra purchases and teach them the importance of budgeting at the same time. They can use this money to put towards those additional purchases that you refuse to buy for them - saving money (and tantrums) in the middle of the supermarket.

3. Meal prepping can save loads

Batch cooking or making lunches for the week ahead is one super simple way of shaving costs that can be put into savings or incorporated into other areas of your budget. A big vat of rice and chilli can feed the family for lunch all week - just swap out the snacks for something a little different to save them from getting bored with it. Look for deals on sandwich fillers that can make lunches for the week ahead or multi-packs of items that can be shared out for a lower cost.

4. Shop and swap

If you've been with the same broadband or energy provider for a few years, you may not be getting the best deal any more. Giving them a ring to have a haggle is a simple concept and one that we all know we should look into, it's just finding the time for the call! The first step is finding out when your contract is up and planning to give your providers a ring around this time - it's when they'll be more inclined to look into a better deal for you. When it comes to TV providers, do you need all the channels you subscribe to? If the kids don't watch the cartoons you pay for, or you prefer Netflix over the films your provider offers, then cancel them. These small but simple changes can save you a decent amount.

5. Get an app to do all the hard work for you

Having money set aside in a savings account can save the day should an emergency expense crop up such as the car needing repairs or a leak in the roof. But while transferring money into a savings account isn't hard to do, many of us simply don't do it enough. If an app can do it for you, though, then why not give it a go? A service such as Chip, monitors your income and outgoings, then takes spare change from your account and moves this into your savings as the month goes on. You won't notice a penny here and there being transferred but they will add up nicely over time.

Ready to give your savings a boost and keep your family on budget? Try out these tips and share them with friends to ensure you always have enough for a rainy day - and the occasional treat.

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