The school summer holidays are a tough time financially for families.
There’s maybe been a summer holiday somewhere if there’s been cash saved, but then there are long weeks left to fill.
If you work, how do you find the money to pay for extra childcare?
If you don’t, then disposable income is at even more of a premium, and money all too quickly disappears as you look for ways to entertain the kids.
Running a household budget is hard, but in the school holidays it can be even tougher.
Yet there are always people who seem to be able to manage it, who are always totally on top of their finances and know where every penny goes.
Perhaps you’re one of them? Or are you like the vast majority of people who would rather stick their heads in the sand and ignore their finances than really get to grips with them?
It’s a hard fact of life, but being financially organised - no matter how much or how little money you have - can ultimately save you cash. So where to start?
Here are six tips to get you going:
* Gather together the paperwork you’ll need such as bank statements, credit card bills, household bills and details of your savings and pension contributions.
* Jot down your regular earnings (after tax, student loan payments, pension contributions etc have been deducted).
* Calculate your essential spending - mortgages, bills, childcare, repayments and so on and see how much of your monthly earnings are spent covering it all - and how much you have left for “non-essential spending”.
* Note how you’ve spent this “disposable income” in the previous three months and whether you can put it to better use.
* Now draw up a monthly budget you can stick to - but remember to add in any oneoff payments you know are on the way, such as covering the school holidays.
* And revisit your budget each month. This way, if you overspend you’ll notice quickly and can do something about it.
Like a diet, budgeting is hard to stick to, but it’s ultimately worthwhile and can keep you out of the red. And perhaps make the long school holidays easier to deal with.
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