With the rising cost of living, it is understandable that managing your finances may have never felt more difficult. It may seem that your outgoings are becoming more and more, and with that can come a feeling of despair. There are ways to manage your finances and there is help out there if you are struggling to cope.
Sometimes it can feel overwhelming seeing the price of food go up with everything else that you have to pay for each month. There are ways to ensure that you are getting the most for your money. Meal planning is a popular way to work out what you need to buy before you go to the shops and by sticking to this you know that you are not wasting any money. Make a shopping list before you leave home, or if you feel that you get easily tempted whilst you’re in the supermarket, give online food shopping a go and that way it is easier to stick to buying what you need.
Some supermarkets and shops also have loyalty cards that can be helpful, make sure to keep these in mind when shopping and do a price comparison online to see what shops offer the best value for money. If you feel your finances are not enough to cover food, it may be helpful to see if there is a local food bank or community pantry that may be able to help.
Before you spend, whether this is on new clothes, toys, or household items, keep in mind that things can often by bought second hand for a lot cheaper. You might find these online or in a charity shop, and you will be saving yourself money.
Finding extra cash
If you want to make a bit of extra money, why not have a clear out at home and see if you have any things that you could sell? There are various websites, social media marketplaces and selling apps that can be used for selling all sorts of things such as clothing, games, furniture or household items just to name a few.
If you have children and they have outgrown clothes and toys, these can be popular to sell on, either online or at a local event. Some people prefer to use a boot sale to sell what they no longer need, have a look in your local area to see if there are any running. Even if it doesn’t feel like you are selling for much, every little bit adds up.
Making sure that you are receiving anything that you are entitled to can really help with your finances. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it is important to find out what you may be entitled to and find out how to claim it. There are a variety of benefits that can be claimed for different circumstances. Citizens Advice have lots of helpful information on their website. You could use the benefits calculator from Turn2Us to find out what you may be entitled to. From the end of 2024, most benefits will be through Universal Credit and the Government website has lots of helpful information on this.
Cost of Living payment
If you claim certain benefits or tax credits, you may be eligible for an extra payment to help with the cost of living. If you’re eligible, payments will be made automatically.
Having a family and going on days out can seem very expensive, especially if you are trying to look after your finances. Remember that days out don’t always have to mean spending a lot of money. Sometimes investing in annual passes for places for children can work out a lot cheaper, or by visiting places that don’t have a high cost of entering like a country park or day at the beach. If possible, taking your own food and drink can also help bring the cost down on days out. Our advice on keeping children occupied on a budget has some really helpful tips.
Your mental health and finances
It is understandable that worrying about money and making ends meet can have a huge impact on your mental health. You may be avoiding sorting out bills or debts due to anxiety around them and this is can be really stressful. It may be that you are struggling to cope and feel overwhelmed, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. By taking the first step in reaching out for help, will help your situation. Whether this is making contact with the company, reaching out to a charity that specialises in finances or by contacting us for emotional support. StepChange can provide you reassurance and practical support if you are worried about debts. The Money Saving Expert website has a wealth of advice on all aspects of finances and money worries. MIND has some guidance to help with your mental health and financial concerns.
Our top tips
Try to make a clear plan of all your income and expenditure and make sure to stop or reduce any that you feel you no longer need. There are free templates that you can use or you can make a list of all your bills and what income including any benefits coming in as this can help you budget more effectively. Read our guidance on family budgeting for help on this.
If you see something in the sale, ask yourself would you have bought that item at full price? It is only a bargain if you were going to buy it in the first place
Be mindful on the buy one get one free deals as sometimes you could be buying something that you don't need or want. Read our guidance on five things to do before you make a big purchase.
When you are food shopping, try to keep to your shopping list so you don't overspend and go over your budget
It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us online via our live chat service, email us at email@example.com or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker.