You aren’t going to shock anyone by saying that children are expensive. Dozens of different expenses start to accumulate; you will need new clothes, shoes, toys, and furniture. From birth until college (and sometimes after), your children can drain your savings account and put a halt on your long-term savings goals. Maybe you're a single parent running a household on one income and you feel like all your money just flies out of your bank account. Today, we are going to give you some advice by teaching you how to curb your spending, teach your children financial literacy, and make sure that your personal finance goals don't always come last.
Curb Your Spending and Start Saving
There are two main (and obvious) ways to save more money - you can either spend less or make more. If you do both, you double what you keep. However, not many people have the option to make more money when they want to. As such, spending less is the best option for most people on a variety of budgets.
If you have the option, take the train or public transportation more often than driving; you may stil pay for monthly fares, but in most locations it's cheaper than paying for gas multiple times a week. Other options include not eating out, shopping from thrift shops, and going to free events in town rather than paid ones. Force your budget downwards (in the more frivolous areas) until it feels painful to do so. Simply cutting off a tiny bit of spending in certain areas is not going to help you make sacrifices where you need it most. Better yet, every time you feel the urge to spend money on an unnecessary item, put that money you would have spent into your savings account instead. You're just paying yourself in the long-run, rather than paying a store!
Teach Your Children Financial Literacy
Passing on good habits is one of the best things you can give to your children. Teaching your children how to save money can be great for your financial health as well as for their own financial futures. Give them a piggy bank and help them to learn the importance of saving not just for what you want, but for emergencies that they might not expect.
If you have the means, give your child a small allowance each week for helping with different chores around the house. Tell them they have to put a portion of it in their savings jar, and the rest they can use for fun things. If they're old enough, have them keep track of how much money they put in each time, and record the total amount. This allows them to watch their money grow over the weeks, and by asking them to think of goals for their money, it will help them see saving as a fun activity that rewards them in the future.
If you teach children from a young age, they will be able to control their spending as they get older and set goals for their own lives.
Change Your Own Perspective On Saving & Set Your Goals
Saving money may seem like a very arbitrary thing to teach your child, and sometimes even yourself. When you hear all this talk about saving and curbing your spending, it may seem like you constantly have to think only about what you can't do when you have kids and other responsibilities. It's just as important to find your own perspective on saving and why you're doing it so you can make it aspirational and fun. Start to think of saving as more about what you CAN do!
You already know to put away money for an emergency fund. What about thinking of your savings as a means for you and your children to one day do activities together? Think about what the act of saving will allow you to do; it gives you the opportunity to create memories, pay for the occasional short trip, buy presents at Christmas and birthdays, whatever it may be. Saving does not have to only be about limiting yourself in the short-term by curbing your spending (although this is still important). Saving money is also about what you can do in just a few months. This will make it easier for you to convince yourself to set aside money each paycheck. Enforcing responsible habits with your money should be about making sure you have enough for yourself in the long-term future, but also ensuring you have the means to do what you want in a couple years.
After you've understood this perspective and how it can work for you rather than against your goals, establish a set amount to put aside each month. Think about how much spending money you have left over after you've paid for your child's expenses each month. You're going to put aside a hefty portion of this! It's best to start out with a large enough amount to make you cringe when you transfer it to your savings account; anything too meagre will just allow you to keep more on hand for frivolous purchases. You should be putting enough away (at least at first) that you don't still feel encouraged to make lots of extraneous purchases.
Look Into Applying for Federal and Provincial Benefits
Many parents may not be aware of the range of benefits available to them to help make things a little easier. Whether you need help with paying for childcare centers, your kid's medical devices, or need assistance with accessing prenatal vitamins, your provincial and federal government provide lots of different programs to help out struggling parents. There are tax incentives, federal government benefits, provincial government benefits, and various programs in place to help offset your financial burdens. Look on your province's government website and search for their departments related to childcare and parental benefits.
The Canadian federal government also has numerous programs for helping parents get certain tax credits, like with the Tax Form T1213. Additionally, there's a government program called the Family Supplement to Employment Insurance (EI) which helps individuals and families if their provider lost their job and requires supplementary income.
Do You Need Help Getting Past An Emergency?
Even the most diligent and frugal parents still experience financial hardships as a result of childcare expenses. Do you have an unexpected medication for your child? Do they need new winter coats and boots, but you can't yet dip into your savings account for the money? Maybe there's been an emergency and you haven't gotten your next paycheck. iCASH is a direct online payday lender that specializes in fast cash loans for all Canadians - especially overworked parents. We offer day-of approval and a simple process to make sure you can pay for the emergencies that life throws at you, with or without a huge saving account. With iCASH, you can get a loan of up to $1,500 in under an hour.