Are You Saving Enough For Your Child’s Future?

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Saving money for my children has always been a big thing for me – and for other members of my family. Jack was very lucky when he was born to be gifted quite a bit of money from family and friends and always gets some across birthdays and Christmas. Olivia, being the second child, didn’t get gifted quite as much but still receives some each birthday and Christmas too – although she is of the age that people tend to buy her clothes and toys!

They both have their very own savings accounts where they are saving their money for whatever they want it for in the future. We chose the bank they are using specifically for the benefits they get and can’t wait to see their final figure when they reach 18. But what I wanted to ask today is are you saving enough for your child’s future?

This infographic from Shepherds Friendly reveals some data they’ve collated – what are your thoughts?

Are You Saving Enough?Are you saving enough?

Survey results from 2,000 parents showed that only 43% of parents said they would consider opening a savings plan for a child – something I found very shocking!, 65% said they would only pay in between £10-£50 a month (not shocked by this, everyone has different budgets) and 32.8% are saving towards a housing deposit for their child.

We aren’t saving for anything specifically with our two children – we put money into their accounts, they put birthday and Christmas money in if they wish to save it and other family members put money into their accounts too – but what they do with it when they are older is completely up to them. Of course, we will encourage them to use it on something sensible such as a house deposit or a car but at the end of the day, it will be their money to do what they want with.

We are currently happy with the level of savings they have and what we are contributing however we do take a regular look at it to see if we can add more. Once we are completely debt free and our own savings accounts are looking a little more healthy, we hope to be able to contribute more but we are currently satisfied with what both the children have.

Are you saving enough for your child’s future? Do you believe in saving for your children or letting them save? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Getting Out of Debt While You’re on a Low Income

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If you’ve amassed a large amount of debt and you feel like you’ll never be free of it because you’re on a low income, then don’t worry because you can reduce it and even pay it off without getting a promotion or an amazing new job.

The trick is to work with what you have and to budget cleverly so that every penny is working towards freeing you. Visit the Creditfix website for tips and ideas, as well as advice on where you stand with creditors and the law; then, put your money to work.

Take a deep breath and look at the numbers

This is the painful part. If you’ve been burying your head in the sand then the amount you owe might come as a shock. It could also come as a (vaguely) pleasant surprise if it’s not as bad as you thought. Whichever way it swings, you need that information if you’re going to make a plan.

Prioritise the debt with the highest interest

If you’ve been making minimum payments all along then you’re essentially holding yourself back. With minimum payments, you’ll pretty much never pay your debts off, so identify the biggest debt, or the one with the most interest, and plough as much money into it as possible. Even if you can only afford an extra fiver a month over the minimum, you’re chipping away at the amount that keeps throwing interest at you each month.

Michael Longmire
Sell some possessions

This could be old sports equipment, old clothes, books, your juicer or even your car. If you can make some cash then you can pay down your priority debt and so reduce your subsequent monthly payments. If your car is an old beater then you might be better off selling it and using public transport for a year because you may find you’re spending loads on taxing, insuring and repairing it. Do the maths – you might be surprised.

Find a source of extra income

You don’t need to become a hard-nosed entrepreneur here. You could find a dog to walk in the evenings, or some cleaning work at the weekends. If you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine, you could make some Japanese knot bags and sell them at a craft fair. Alternatively, you could spend a few evenings filling out paid online surveys instead of worrying about your debts. Even if these survey sites only reward you with a £50 M&S voucher every couple of months, that’s something, right?

See if you can reduce your utility bills

Spend some time calling up your utility providers to see if they can knock off a couple of quid from your electricity, gas, mobile phone and insurance. If you manage to shave £10 off your monthly bills, that money can make a dent in your priority debt.

Whenever you get some extra money, use it on a debt

If you look at your receipt in the supermarket and you find you’ve saved £3 because of a BOGOF offer, transfer that £3 to a debt. If you get a bonus at work, or a refund, plough it right into your overdraft.

Make sure you stay on good terms with your creditors

If you’re scared of your creditors and you feel sick every time you have to speak to them, then you’re less likely to ask them for help or advice if you’re in trouble. By calling up to talk about your account every so often, you’ll realise that they’re only human.

The reality of being a modern day single parent

The chances are we all know someone who is a single parent and often hear of the struggles that come with the responsibility. Unfortunately families being split by divorce and other issues are becoming more heard of and often leave single parents in financial difficulty; with research suggesting that 1 in 4 of families in the UK are single parent families. Although being a single parent can be demanding both financially and physically, there are ways to work around it and people you can talk to for useful help and advice.

After looking at research conducted by debt advisors, PayPlan, it’s easy to see why so many single parent families feel a financial strain, with 1 in 10 families using a payday lender or foodbank to help make day to day life more comfortable and help to relieve the stress factor. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why so many families are in debt and why being a single parent can be so difficult. With the schools currently off for Easter and the long summer holidays just around the corner; it’s around these times that being a parent can be more costly, as we try our best to entertain the little ones.

You’d automatically think that day’s out for single parents would be considerably cheaper, with less adults attending, but I was shocked to discover this isn’t the case. Looking at the figures on the infographic below, it seems most attractions and travel operators favour a family of 2 adults and 2 children, over a family of 1 adult and 2 children. Looking at the research collated, you can see that for instance, the cost for 1 adult in a family of 4 containing 2 adults, for the Warner Brothers studio tour is £70 per adult; whereas for 1 adult visiting with 2 children, it would be £112, totalling a difference of £43.

Holidays abroad are expensive for any family, let alone a single parent. It’s hard to believe the difference in price for 2 paying adults with 2 children, compared to 1 paying adult with 2 children. Using the example below, a Mediterranean cruise from specific travel operators will cost just under £2,500 per paying adult for a family of 4, compared to just over £4,500 for 1 paying adult in a family of 3; meaning an astonishing difference of around £2,200.

This research really does put into perspective how hard it is for single parents and the financial burden it carries in everyday life. It really does show you how companies create offers for specific families and not those led by single parents. With this in mind it’s understandable why so many single parents turn to payday lenders and bank loans for help, but in the long run, this can just make the situation worse.

If you yourself or anybody you know is a single parent and struggle with the financial costs then there are people you can talk to help you out of any debt you may be in or just for some professional advice. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this subject or any advice you might have, by using #CostOfSingleParenting on social.

How Businesses Could Help Families Avoid Debts

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According to the TUC, the average British household debt has reached a record high with almost £15,400 owned to credit card firms, lenders and banks. At the brink of uncertainty – which can be primarily blamed on the Brexit process for now – and a localised economic crisis, it’s fair to say that Britons are at risk of aggregating even more debts within the next few years. As of today, over 6 million Britons think that they will never be debt-free. What is surprising about it is that most of these people have a career and a regular income. Perhaps it is time for companies to consider how they could support their employees through a difficult debt situation.

Debts are stressful

First of all, it’s crucial for businesses to understand that debts are not to be taken lightly. It’s an extremely stressful situation for employees and their families. Even though many are willing to clear their debts as quickly as possible, there are only so much one can do to manage the household budget. Unfortunate decisions and the inability to cut back on spending – which is often the result of a lack of understanding as well as a personal crisis – stand in the way of healthy finances. More importantly, the stress accumulated in the process can also affect the employee’s productivity and attention at work. In other words, it’s in the company’s interests to provide financial guidance and support.

A L L E F . V I N I C I U S Δ

As a business, you have a responsibility to protect your employees

When you hire an applicant, you agree to offer the employee a safe and enriching workplace while they bring their skills into the company. Admittedly, for most businesses, the idea of providing a secure platform for employee development is often limited to health and safety audit and compliance. https://www.qcompliance.co.uk/services/health-safety/ However, you need to think outside the box and consider all the factors that can affect the performance. Financial worries are one of these, especially when they can’t be prevented. Consequently, it’s a good idea for businesses to offer dedicated health protection and even relevant life policy cover – you can find out further information about what relevant life policy means and why it matters for your workforce – to provide the necessary support. An employee who is unsure how to provide for their family in an unexpected situation may feel as if the company has given up on them.

Offer financial perks

Managing money matters can be challenging for people who are not trained in finance and accounting. But facilitating financial information and decisions can not only make it easier for employees to manage risks and profits, but it also ensures the employee engagement. Indeed, someone who feels that the company is contributing to their debt management by making financial advisors available on-site is more likely to stay with the business. Additionally, by reducing the risk of poor decisions and lack of knowledge, companies can actively help the British public to remain debt-free.

British households are facing a grave economic crisis. But, for many, with over £15,000 debt, there is no way employees can handle the uncertainty of their financial future. It is a business priority to consider how to help employees with finance management and health crisis in an effort to reduce the collective debt.

Clearing Debt As Quickly As Possible

I’ve talked about my experiences with debt before and whilst I am still in some debt (aiming to get rid of it asap), I have managed to clear some. I’m here today to talk about how you too can clear your debt quickly and start living the lifestyle you truly want to lead. I’m not quite there yet but hopefully, following my own tips as I have already been doing, I’ll get there very soon.

Set A Budget

It sounds so simple but setting a budget really does help you to locate where you are going wrong. I know that I could definitely put a little more towards debt if I set a proper budget so that is what I am aiming to do every month – know exactly where every single penny is going. Focus on making sure your four walls are paid for – rent or mortgage and council tax. Then work out the rest of your bills, food, travel/transport and then any expenses that you incur each month but aren’t actually required. We have both Virgin and Netflix – we will be keeping Netflix but cutting Virgin down as much as we can so our budget will be designed to reflect this.

Look Into Other Options

If you’ve already given some of the basic debt free ideas a go and are still struggling, then it might be time to consider other options. Debt can be so crippling and we all aim for financial freedom so there are often other things you can do. I know of people who’ve sold their properties to pay off debt and then bought something new with the remaining funds that is better suited to their budget.

Some people have done this to stop house repossession – their debts were too high to maintain on income alone and they faced losing their home, selling it was their only remaining option. There are companies who will buy houses for cash – the main benefit is that it is a quick sale that reduces estate agency fees. Whilst this option isn’t for everyone, it is useful to know there are other options for those with fairly high debts apart from the usual bankruptcy or IVA options.

Artem Bali
Cut Back On Unnecessary Spending

Further to my point above about setting a budget, it is important to cut back on unnecessary spending. I’ve already mentioned that while we will be keeping Netflix (we use it a lot!), we will be cutting back on our Virgin package as much as we can.

We are also quite far into our phone contracts with Three and have noticed that we are using nowhere near the amount of data – we are going to speak to them to see if we can reduce our package slightly and in turn reduce our bill.

The only other ‘unnecessary’ spending we have is Steve’s golf and darts and going out to eat. We are already reducing the amount we go out to eat and Steve is changing the golf club he is a member at, saving £££ every month.

Increase Your Income

Something I have been trying to do in recent months is increase my income and this has been working well for me. I’ve almost paid all my bills for the month and then have no more bills until the 8th of next month so any payments made to me from today onwards until the 2nd of next month (when all my monthly invoices tend to get paid by) will be getting thrown towards debt.

I have been doing this by offering extras to my existing clients, taking on new clients thanks to word of mouth from my existing clients (my clients are the best), taking on higher paid work on the blog, pitching more on the freelance side of things and generally pushing myself a little more. It is working in my favour and I am starting to see those numbers go down and down.

 

Have you ever been in debt? How did you clear it? Or are you still in debt and aiming to clear it as soon as possible? I’d love to hear your tips about clearing debt as quickly as possible.

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