It’s the last week of the month, and as the summer officially winds down, so does the family budget. Especially considering the holiday month, you’ve probably made a few extra ‘spontaneous’ purchases; that parasailing trip in the Bahamas that your son somehow convinced you was a good idea to spend his entire August allowance on, even though he’s terrified of heights; the seven ice-creams you ordered for your daughter and all her friends on that day trip to Brighton; the mandatory countless visits to the sweet shop just because..
At this point in the month, you’re probably seeing a slightly thinner wallet or purse and no doubt your children may have struggled to keep their spending as restrained as during other months. Fear not, as we’ve put together our month-end budget-squeezing top five tips to help you and your children make the most of what’s left in their wallets.
1. Bring the party indoors
Whether it’s Friday night spending time with friends or a family movie outing, your child may need to make some sacrifices this week. The good news is there are ways to make both of these ‘outings’ accessible, by bringing them inside. Why not encourage your children to invite their friends over for Friday board games and a film night. Or you could substitute a trip to the cinema by catching up with the latest films on Netflix as a family. Having an entertaining weekend at home still means you and your children can still have fun without overspending.
2. Shop without the children
Many children love going to shopping centres and local shops with their parents. While it can be a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about money and shopping within a budget, it can also become a danger zone once they start piling up the trolley with their favourite treats, or beg for an ‘indefinite loanC’ on a new pair of trousers! If it comes to month-end and you know your children don’t have the budget to afford their own purchases, perhaps it’s best to stay away from temptation and chose another place to visit rather than the shopping centre, such as parks, museums or a gallery.
3. Take advantage of your local library
It’s amazing to see how far the power of a library card can take you these days- rent everything from books, CDs, to audio tapes and movies- you can even order eBooks at a number of libraries- all for free. Have your child look into websites like Good Reads or W Lists for the latest recommendations. You can find a full list of UK public libraries here.
4. Host a garage sale
That pile of ‘stuff’ that’s been sitting in your child’s wardrobe for the past year? It’s likely to be worth something and is looking for a new home. Garage sales are also a great way to clear clutter and get the whole family involved. Have everyone in the family contribute those unnecessary items they’ve been clinging onto, so you can clear the house and they can earn some extra money. Think of it as a great first lesson for your kids in running a business. Print flyers and post them around the neighbourhood several days in advance, and also serve up some sweets and lemonade to entice potential buyers!
5. Begin next month’s budget now
Remember…prevention is always better than cure. Help your child create a review of this past month’s total expenses to have them see where they over (or under) spent, and help them to manage next month’s budget from there. Make sure they set realistic spending goals, and encourage them to stick to them.
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