How to manage your family income

How to manage your family income

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Budgeting for a family is never easy as there are so many things you need to consider. This can be made even tougher if you don’t have a fixed income date or if you’re trying your best to save. However, by planning carefully, there are plenty of ways to make your budget work and save for the future.

How to budget family income

Start by working out your incomings and outgoings, and seeing whether you’re over or under budget. At this point, you might need to find areas where you can cut costs. Next, you can set targets for how much you want to save each month and what you want to save for.

How to budget family income

Start by working out your incomings and outgoings, and seeing whether you’re over or under budget. At this point, you might need to find areas where you can cut costs. Next, you can set targets for how much you want to save each month and what you want to save for.

Create a budget

First off, you’ll need to create a budget. Your family budget can run from week to week or plan for the month ahead, so decide which works best for you. Your budget doesn’t need to be overly complicated - just start off by tallying up all your monthly income against all of your outgoings.

You can get started on creating your budget right now by downloading our family budget planner spreadsheet, and you can check out our guide if you want more information on how to create a budget.

Save for a rainy day

You never know when you might have to stump up the cash for some unexpected expense, or when you might need some extra money due to changes at work. That’s why it’s really important to put money aside for a rainy day so that if something comes at you out of the blue, you’ll have the money to cover it and move forward without breaking stride.

You may even want to have two separate rainy day funds - one for small expenses like new school uniforms, and another for larger expenses like car or home repairs.

Share finances with your partner

Getting a joint bank account is a great way to budget your money, as you no longer have to worry about which of you is covering certain costs. With all of your money in the same account, it’s much easier to keep track of where your money is being spent, which in turn makes the whole budgeting process simpler.

Sometimes people are put off getting a joint bank account because one person’s credit score is worse and this could affect them getting loans or credit cards. However, when you sign up to a thinkmoney Joint Account, there are no credit checks at all, meaning you can get an account and start building a better financial future for your family.

Create savings goals for the future

After you’ve created a family budget and figured out what your financial situation is, it’s a really good idea to set some savings goals. Having a set amount you want to save each month will not only stop you from spending on stuff you don’t need, but it will also make you think more carefully about any existing expenses you might have.

Try to set up your savings goals with a particular target in mind rather than just saving for the sake of it. Your goal might be something like a new car or holiday, or it could be hitting a target ahead of Christmas or getting a deposit for a house. Whatever you’re aspiring towards, that’s what you should be thinking of when you set your goal. And in most cases, it’s much easier to save when you have a specific goal in mind.

If you’re thinking that you might fall short, don’t worry too much. Your goals should be flexible, so if you don’t quite reach them one month, that doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel. Treat your goals as a target, but not something that is the be-all and end-all when it comes to saving.

How to cut back costs

Reining in your spending is never easy, especially when the list of things you need to pay for keeps on piling up. Here we look at a few steps you can take to cut back costs and improve your budget.

1. Get help with costs for childcare

A lot of children aged between three and four are eligible for free childcare, which can be handy if you’re having trouble finding someone to look after them while you’re at work. The number of hours of free childcare per week varies depending on which part of the UK you live in:

  • England - 30 hours
  • Wales - At least 10 hours
  • Scotland - 50 hours
  • Northern Ireland - 12.5 hours

Take a look at the government’s website to see if you’re eligible.

Added to this, you can also get up to £2,000 a year from the government’s tax-free childcare scheme. Although you need to earn more than £125.28 per week to be eligible, if you don’t earn this much, you can apply for Universal Credit.

2. Get support if you’re a single parent

If you’re a single parent, it can be even harder to budget, so you should check what support is available for you. Single parents charity Gingerbread has loads of great advice for single parents, and they also have a benefits calculator which you can use to see what support you might be eligible for.

3. Search for better deals from your suppliers

We often take our bills at face value and don’t consider whether we could be getting a better deal elsewhere. There are loads of handy price comparison sites out there like Compare The Market which will show you if you could be paying less for stuff like your internet or electricity bills.

4. Plan for the future

There are a lot of costs that can sneak up on you, so your best bet is to get ahead of them by planning. For example, writing a will is something many of us put off, and this is partly because it can be an expensive process. However, you can get yours written for free or much cheaper by taking advantage of Free Wills Month.

You can start budgeting your family’s income today with a thinkmoney Current Account.