I never personally feel as a family of six that we are especially ‘large’ in size, but certainly when I get asked how many children I have and I tell people four, they normally take a sharp intake of breath, followed by “four…really?” It does seem to be the perception of others that we have a large family and I guess we are larger than average.
Having four children does of course mean you do things differently to having one, and naturally the costs increase, but there are some simple things you can do to save money and still do lots of things that families with less children can do.
This goes for planning meals, to holidays, to birthdays and Christmas gifts. It certainly pays to plan ahead. Meal planning saves both time and money with a large family. Making a few meals in one go makes things easier in the week when things are busy and planning what those meals are going to be allows you to be much more focused on what you need to buy when and to only buy the essentials.
Holiday planning can save money too. Years ago you used to be able to save money on those last minute deals but now I think more and more booking in advance is the way to go. You can get lots of discounts for booking things early and benefit from things like the kids go free deals on offer.
With regards to birthdays and Christmas, make sure you look out for the deals all year round. If something has £20 off in February but you don’t need it until August buy it because you’ll save in the long run. Keep your eyes out on things like the 3 for 2 Argos deals throughout the year, stock up and hide things away until you need them.
Use vouchers and rewards
I’m certainly no voucher queen. I could probably do much better at this, as I always see things about people who save hundreds of pounds using vouchers for all sorts of things.
However, if you are trying to save up for things, rather than getting Quick Loans you could try to save a range of vouchers to help to pay for the things you want. Credit card companies offer vouchers as rewards for example, so you could save Argos or Amazon vouchers up for Christmas gifts. Perhaps you could join a shopping panel like Shop and Scan and again save up you rewards for purchase gifts for the family.
Depending on which supermarket you shop at you might want to be part of their rewards or stamp saving system. Even if it doesn’t seem like much at the time, come Christmas you’ll be grateful when that big food shop costs less than normal.
Save the 2 for 1 vouchers for days out. Whether it’s cereal boxes or giant chocolate buttons, there are always offers on something for family days out, and it really pays to save them up when you have a big family because it can easily halve the cost of a day out somewhere.
Think before you buy
When you only have one child you tend to be a bit more frivolous, but much beyond that it becomes necessary for the average family to curb their spending a bit. We all buy things that are unnecessary and I think as you have more children you probably get better at being more ‘sensible’ and prioritising your spending. You begin to realise more and more that for a large part of the time children actually need very little to be happy. Ours for example are perfectly content with lots of love, large spaces to run and get muddy, playing games they make up together and a good movie night. Really, happiness is just being healthy and being together.
Are you a larger than average family? How do you save money?