June 21, 2019 | 02:29 AM

Your Money

01.08.2018Managing money as a big family

Here are some top tips that those responsible for the money in a large family can use to save some cash.

As the old saying goes, money doesn’t buy happiness. But for those who have a large family to feed, house and clothe, it often seems like a little bit of extra cash would be an ideal way to help plug the gap when money is a bit thin on the ground. This is especially true in Australia, where the costs of raising a family can be very high. In fact, a recent study found that it costs $170 every single week to raise a child – with food, transport and housing all coming in as big drains on the budget. With this in mind, here are some top tips that those responsible for the money in a large family can use to save some cash.

Prioritise the mortgage

When it comes to raising a family, prioritising is key – and it’s important to have a strong understanding of which expenditures are vital and which ones can be de-emphasised while focusing on saving. Housing costs are perhaps the most important ones to meet, because stability is essential for kids – and it’s wise to avoid creating a situation where moving, or even home repossession, is in the cards.

For people with a mortgage, then, it is definitely wise to make sure it’s always covered. Those who find themselves paying a significantly high sum of cash on their mortgage each month should consider looking into re-mortgaging, as this can significantly cut down on monthly outgoings and allow the family budget to function a bit more effectively. If, ultimately, moving looks like the only option, parents may have to make some tough family decisions. Those who have two kids of a similar age, for example, can consider asking them to share a room in order to go for a smaller property.

Make groceries go further

In the study referred to above, researchers also found that the cost of food was particularly significant. The research, carried out by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, said that a couple with just one child needed to pay $123.60 each week to cover food costs – which means that there’s clearly an opportunity for some serious savings to be made.

Luckily, this is fairly easily done. Buying from the value range at the supermarket is one way to slash costs. Learning how to cook in bulk and make full use of any leftovers is a good move – and by investing in a freezer, parents can make several batches of meals at once so there’s always something available. Not only does this minimise waste, having enough food in the freezer will help mum and dad to avoid ordering in when they don’t have the time or energy to cook for the whole family.

Teach good habits

When there are lots of kids at home and cash is scarce, it’s completely understandable that parents might not have many opportunities to give out pocket money to their children. But that doesn’t mean they can’t teach them good financial habits. Why not get them to help out with the household budget? Younger kids will love working on fun meal plans, while older children can derive a sense of responsibility if they’re given a task like organising a holiday – within a series of budget constraints, of course!

With a lot of kids to look after and a cost of living which rises with every passing year, it’s inevitable that household budgets will need to be cut down here and there. Luckily, there are lots of handy ways that this can be achieved. From ensuring that there are enough nutritious and cheap meals in the freezer to making certain that priority payments like mortgage outgoings are covered, there are plenty of money management techniques that can make a difference for families.

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