Family Finances: How To Save & Plan Ahead My Baba 20 September, 2017 Parenting It was announced in this year’s Spring Budget that the “big squeezes” on family finances have been prolonged until the 2020s. This declaration comes as a result of tax increases for the self employed; reductions in child tax credits; and increases in cost of living, all of which will have a significant impact on household finances over the next five years. In order to ensure your household is not hit hard by these changes, it is important to get your finances in order and make short-term sacrifices that will improve your future financial stability. To help you plan ahead, we’ve put together this handy guide with a few tips to help you save now so you can spend in the future. See Where you Can Save on Childcare Childcare is one of the biggest expenses for families, so it’s important to take advantage of savings if and when they become available. Free childcare for three and four year olds, working tax credits and childcare vouchers are just some of the tools you can use to save money on childcare. If you require more information, MoneySavingExpert.com have a handy article on how you can get help with childcare costs. Shop Around for the Best Deal This goes for TV subscriptions, utilities, car insurance, life insurance, groceries, banks; the lot. This is especially important if you’ve stuck with the same goods or service provider for a long period of time. Shopping around and seeing what else is on offer can often save you a lot of money in the long run. You can utilise introductory offers and bank switching rewards. For example: the co-op bank are currently offering £125 to those switching to their current account. Or alternatively, you can tell your current provider that you’re thinking of leaving and see if they’ll offer you a deal for your loyalty! Start a Side Hustle For those who haven’t heard of the phrase ‘side hustle’, this basically involves making money via a side project, as well as your full-time job. This is a great option for those who work part-time or have a few extra hours a week to earn a bit of extra cash. If you have a creative flair and enjoy making things, you could sell your creations on Etsy or Depop. Alternatively if writing is your thing, you can earn a bit of extra money by blogging or writing on a freelance basis. The Guardian have a great guide on how to become a freelance writer for those looking to get started. Always Think Long-Term It’s always a good idea to think about how your current spending and saving habits will impact your family in the future. This can involve: saving up for large expenditures rather than impulse-buying; building up your credit score over time or cancelling your unused TV subscription. Making smart choices early on can help you find your feet in times of financial difficulty. For example: You can improve your credit score with the Creditbuilder on an icount card; which can help you get better deals and save money when applying for credit. Alternatively, check out the Money Advice Service Budget Planner to help you analyse and manage your finances better. Sponsored content in collaboration with iCount.