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Four money experts share their top tips for saving for the future

POSTED: 9th February 2015
IN: Personal Guides
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As rewarding as parenting can be, it’s also not without its challenges. With an abundance of sleepless nights, household chores and school paperwork, there’s so much to be getting on with that the last thing anyone wants is to be worrying about money.

However, the cost of parenting is on the rise. A recent study by LV= revealed that the average cost of raising a child from birth up until the age of 21 has reached £229,251.

Thankfully, there are ways to cut back and save for both your own and your children’s futures. We’ve gathered together some of the best money-saving tips from some of the UK’s most savvy parents and finance experts.

Cutting the cost of being a parent

According to the ‘Cost of a Child’ report, clothing a child and paying for their hobbies, toys and leisure activities adds up to a staggering £27,805 from birth up until the age of 21. But journalist, Hattie Garlick, who blogs at Free Our Kids, argues that it’s possible to raise a child for much less.

After losing her job when her son Johnny was two-years-old, Hattie and her husband decided to try to raise their child for a year without spending any money on kids’ products.

Hattie says: “When did we become so dependent on all this spending to raise our kids? And isn’t lots of it, really, getting in the way of the real job: just… you know… interacting with them ourselves?

“What does it all teach them, after all? Do we want them to learn that maxing out credit cards and keeping up with trends is the meaning of life?”

“We realised Johnny didn’t ‘need’ yet another tractor, or a scooter, or a toddler iPad. What he needed was the space and help to use and develop his imagination. And to do that, he didn’t require this season’s Baby Gap. He required, basically, to be warm and dry in hand-me-downs to explore the world around him.”

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Hattie is setting a great example to her children that if you’re looking to save for the future, it’s often best to cut down on the amount of money that you spend on impulse buys. By reducing the number of unnecessary purchases, many of which may only be used for a very short period of time, you can maximise the amount of money that you have for bigger goals.  The money saved could eventually go towards your child’s university fund, a car, a wedding or their first home.

Small changes make big differences

With a family in tow, and plenty of financial responsibilities such as rent and bills, it can be quite difficult to make large changes to your spending. Thankfully, small tweaks can make a big difference over time, freeing up more cash to be deposited into a savings account.

Planning ahead as early as possible and setting out a budget can be the first step to setting aside some savings.

Cass, who shares regular family money saving tips on her blog, Frugal Family, calculates her income and outgoings each month with the help of her own budget template. By looking closely at all the things that she spends her money on, Cass finds it much easier to save for the future and minimise the risk of running out of money.

By doing this, it’s easier for parents to see exactly where their money is being spent and to cut back where possible.

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Mother and financial expert, Kalpana Fitzpatrick has plenty of tips for having a baby on a budget on her website Mummy Money Matters, and like Hattie, believes a lot of the ‘necessities’ associated with raising a child can be bought cheaply to save money for the future.

She says: “Speak to any friends or relatives who have recently had children to find out what they found most useful in the early days, and spend some time reading online reviews of various products to ensure you get the best value for money on the items you really can’t live without.

“Many parents will want their little one to be kitted out in new clothes from head to toe. The thing about babies though, is that they grow – sometimes at an alarming rate – and the adorable newborn outfit you spent £40 on won’t fit for more than a few weeks.”

While many essentials can be picked up second hand for a much cheaper price, as every parent knows, there are certain costs that cannot be avoided.

Kalpana adds: “For health and safety reasons you should always buy car seats and mattresses new.”

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Cass has a great way of squirreling money away for the future. She writes about a savings challenge that involves putting a little away each week. She says: “In theory it’s a great idea – in week 1 you save £1, in week 2 you save £2, week 3 would be £3 and so on until you reach week 52 where you would save £52.

“The idea is that because you’re building up gradually then you don’t miss the money and by the end of the year you’ll have around £1300 saved which would be amazing wouldn’t it?”

This ‘little and often’ approach is a brilliant way of committing to long-term savings, and by setting up an automatic standing order from your current account into a savings account, you can focus on other things as your fund grows.

Maximise your money

Once you’ve started to put money aside for the future, you can give you funds a beneficial boost by maximising your savings. By putting your money away in a savings account that boasts higher interest rates than you’re currently getting, you can make the money that you save work harder.

Sarah Pennells, who created her website, SavvyWoman to help women with their finances, says: “There’s more than £160 billion in savings accounts paying less than 0.5%. Savers are often put off from switching because they think it will be a hassle.”

But, Sarah adds, money in older savings accounts often earn less than money in newer accounts, and for this reason it’s best to regularly review your financial plans to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your money.

She says: “The idea of a financial review is quite simple: you make a list of all the policies you’ve signed up to – such as your life insurance or investments, such as ISAs or your pension – and make sure that all the choices you made at the time till fit in with your plans.”

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There is a wealth of savings accounts to choose from and it’s simply a matter of finding one that suits your plans for the future. If you have a lump sum of money already, and know that you don’t need it for a particular period of time, a fixed rate account may be ideal to gain some of the best rates on the market. If however you want to save while still having access to your money when you need it, you may be better suited to an easy access account.

ISA accounts are also worth considering, as you won’t pay tax on the interest that you earn. In theory, this should leave you with more interest than you’d get with your money in a regular savings account, but make sure you check interest rates first to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Saving for the future

Saving for the future can be particularly difficult when running a family.  With so many responsibilities, there can be little left over at the end of the month for luxuries and treats. But by going through your spending with a fine tooth comb and assessing where cutbacks can be made, you can gradually build a healthy savings pot.

To find out more about ways to save money towards your future, and to discover the best savings account for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Aldermore.

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