Did you know that the average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 has risen to £230,000? Suffice to say that children are expensive things, and since having Max I’ve noticed that it’s increasingly difficult to save money – money is tighter than ever! And yet I wanted to start a savings fund for him for when he gets older – to possibly put towards university, a house deposit, a car – all things that my parents were able to help me out with and for which I’m so grateful.
So, here are a few ways that I’ve been trying to save money, in a way that you don’t even notice it’s happening!
Use Cashback websites
If you’re not using cashback websites when you’re shopping online, you’re missing a trick! I use Quidco, but there are many versions out there, and signing up means that you can earn a few pennies back on most things you buy online. Most retailers are now signed up to these schemes – whether it’s Boden or Boots, you’re likely to find the shop you’re after in the list. You can also often find voucher codes to use for money off as well. As soon as the cashback comes through, I pay it straight into the savings account – it’s amazing how quickly it builds up.
Sell your unused stuff
If there’s one thing no-one’s going to argue with, it’s that baby stuff is expensive! Anything that we’re not using anymore and wouldn’t be used for a second baby I sell through local Facebook selling groups . I highly recommend these and have had great experiences with them – you just list what you’re selling and you’re likely to have got rid of it by the next day with a few pounds to put into the savings.
I also love to sell unwanted clothes on eBay – I tend to do this in batches as you’re more likely to list things that you’re not confident of making a reasonable amount on, and you can limit the number of Post Office trips once everything is sold. I do sometimes find it baffling the things that I don’t think are worth listing end up selling for a fair amount, while the things I thought would be really popular don’t get much at all, so if you’re reluctant to sell something, do put a reserve on it to make sure you get the price you want!
Again, once the money comes through on PayPal, I just make a transfer into the savings account.
Collect spare change
Any time I find spare change lying around the house (and my husband will leave coins everywhere for some inexplicable reason!), I scoop it up and pop it in our change bowl. Once it’s reasonably full, we take it to the supermarket with us and use one of those Coinstar machines to chuck it all in and get a nice few notes in return. Yes, they take a bit of commission, but this way is just so much easier than going to the bank – just chuck it in and get your money! We normally get around £20 a time doing this.
Bank those payrises
One thing I’ve always tried to do whenever I get a payrise is to save the extra money each month – that way you never notice having the extra and the savings build up quickly. Obviously with me only working two days and having to pay for childcare, this is now much more difficult, but we have managed to set up a regular standing order of £50 into an Junior ISA for Max which I’m really proud of.
With just these small things, we’ve managed to build up a little savings account already, but the key is that because all of these things aren’t money we thought of ‘having’, it’s not money that we’ve missed. It feels like it’s building up without us even noticing!
Do you have any tips for saving money to share?