Let's face it - having kids is expensive, and you need to stretch your money as far as possible if you still want to save for your retirement and their future. Fortunately, we have some pointers to kickstart your efforts:
You need a credit record to qualify for a loan for a car or a house, but you should strive to keep your debt to a minimum. Debt is costly and will hinder your ability to save for long term goals like your child's education. If you have a significant amount of debt, do all you can to reduce it as quickly as you can. Look for ways you can save a little extra every month to put towards your debt.
Don't wait until the start of summer or winter to buy clothes for that season (for you or your children). Anticipate what you'll need well ahead of time and buy clothes for next winter at the end of this one. With a little shopping around, you can fill a bag with half price items. For winter clothing sales, start looking around in August, and for summer sales start hunting around in March.
You don't have to blow R500 on Ratanga Junction tickets to entertain the kids. Certain attractions offer memberships that can make family outings both educational and cost effective. An annual pass to the Two Oceans Aquarium or World of Birds will pay for itself in just three visits, and you can still go as many more times as you want. Other cheap options include trips to a beach or the kind of farms where you can pick your own fruit
Your rent or mortgage is your largest and most fixed expense, but there are many other expenses on which you can save:
It's possible to save big on your shopping by following a few simple principles: buy several weeks worth of on-sale items at a time, compare the prices of your most-used groceries across different stores, and sign up for loyalty programs wherever you shop.
If you and your family can get into certain good habits (such as turning off the lights when leaving a room or having quick showers), you'll be surprised by how much extra you'll have at the end of the month.
With the exception of clothes (and even hand-me-downs are an option) most things can be bought used. Gumtree is a great resource for people who want an extra deep freeze or child's bicycle but don't want to fork out lots of money for something straight off the shelf.
As with most things in life, it's best to teach your children about money and how to manage and save it early on. As soon as your children are able to count, play number and money related games with them. And then, as they grow older, introduce them to the concept of budgeting and saving by using their allowance as a learning tool. At this age they should pay for all non-essentials.
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