Your Family And Finances: The Rules

When it comes to your family and finances, you need to make sure that you’re handling them the right way. Many people don’t realize that the way they handle their finances and talk about their finances teaches their kids everything they believe about money before they’ve even grown up and had a chance to experience it for themselves. Take a look at your family and finances: the rules…

Your Family And Finances: The Rules title on faded background image of pennies

Always Use Positive Language When Discussing Money

When talking about money, especially in front of your kids, always use positive language. If you talk about money in a negative way, they’ll have a bad relationship with money right from the start. You don’t want that!

Have Regular Meetings

Having regular family meetings where you discuss money, amongst other things, can make it less of a taboo topic of discussion for your family.

Give Your Kids Pocket Money

There’s nothing wrong with buying kids things that they want, but giving your kids pocket money is usually a better way of going about it. This way, your kids get to decide how to use their money early on. Do they want to save it up for a bigger purchase, or spend it on something small? You can use this as an opportunity to get them into their own saving habits, too.

Get Into Good Saving Habits

Make sure you’re in good saving habits. This will be evident to your kids and they will learn from watching you – it’ll also make your family less stressed out when an emergency payment or something of importance pops up! Take a look at the superhero saving habits below for help:

credit to Sunny

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Easy Ways To Save For Your Family Adventures

Family adventures are great, but unlike the ones you read about in books, they cost money. Whether you like to plan for big trips or days out, it’s nice to have a little rainy day fund to help you pay for your adventures. A family has a lot of expenses, making it hard to put money away, but thanks to these clever savings ideas you can help your family save easily for your next adventure…

Easy Ways To Save For Your Family Adventures title. Sunset beach image with family on pier.

Don’t Buy Anything Without Checking For A Voucher First

In the age of internet shopping, it is possible to find discount codes for almost anything – including days out. It only takes a few minutes to do a quick search, but you could save a lot of money on things you were planning to buy anyway.

Vouchers from supermarkets, clothes shops and other places could help you save a few extra pennies to put towards your family adventures. Sites like Groupon are great for family dinners, and it’s worth signing up to VoucherCloud and other discount code websites too. Always do a price search and see if you could save yourself some money.

Sell Your Unwanted Items

Each Christmas or birthday helps you realise just how little space there is in your home, and how much stuff doesn’t get used. Instead of just letting unwanted items clutter up your home, sell them. If you’ve got streaming subscriptions, you can easily save yourself some money by selling off your old DVDs and Blu-Rays, while unwanted clothes and toys are perfect for eBay. If you want an easy way of posting your items, is a great service to make shipping your items a breeze. Having a regular clear out not only helps you to make a bit of money but will keep your house in order too.

Keep A Forfeit Jar

Many families have swear jars, but if your family tends to be good on the bad language front, you might want to consider a different kind of forfeit jar instead. You could have one for anytime someone forgets a household rule, or whenever someone leaves a light on in the house. Keep it up and at the very least, you’ll stop some bad habits, while the best you can expect is a nice healthy sum for your savings pot.

Cut Your Bills

It’s becoming more common for people to switch providers for everything, including your utilities and banking. It’s worth ringing other providers for a quote and seeing if your current provider can match it. There are some great ways to haggle with service providers that can at least get you a temporary saving. Put the difference into savings and watch them grow month after month.

Saving money can be a fun and rewarding challenge for all the family, helping you to afford those little extras. Looking for some more great money saving tips? Check out this useful article on how to what to do when you need money fast. Enjoy finding ways of saving money with your family so that you can look forward to creating many more happy memories together.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

What To Do When You Need Money Fast

If you’re in a bind and need some quick cash it can be a very frustrating and emotionally distressing position to be in. Nobody likes to be backed into a corner, but if unfortunate circumstances prevail then what you really need are some options – and you need them fast. So here is some inspiration as to how to get a prompt cash injection to help you through difficult times…

Title 'What To Do When You Need Money Fast' with background image of clock and piles on coins


You might be surprised by just how much some of your stuff is worth, particularly if you happen to have any collectibles lying around. Even if you don’t have single items of value, decluttering and selling what you no longer need can quickly add up. You can list them on ebay or local selling sites on social media. Or even have a carboot sale!

Sell Your Old Phone

How many of us still have our old phone laying around? It is easy to shove it in a drawer and then promptly forget all about it! But, as I already mentioned above, selling on unwanted or discarded items that are just laying around unused can really help when you are at a pinch. And old phones often have a decent value, especially if it is still in good condition and working order, which is often the case if you upgrade regularly. You can expect even more if you had one of the latest models at the time and it hasn’t been sat around too long! So this item in particular is one to note when looking for items to sell. Of course, the same goes for tablets too.

Find Your Creative Flair

Another thing you can do is to look in the free adverts section, or check out freecycle, then upcycle the items to create something worth selling. Again, you can promote these items on eBay or, with a little creative flair, you could even create an Etsy store.  Try to think outside the box in terms of what are the growing trends and you can make a fortune.

If you are a good photographer, or even artist, why not try selling some of your own work? Either as digital downloads on one of the many stock image sites, on a canvas or as small prints.

If you have a craft skill you could also make handmade items to sell.

Sell Gift Cards

Exchange gift cards for cash. Do you have any gift cards that you haven’t yet spent? Assuming you can’t spend them on essentials, try selling them on local selling groups, or sites such as Zeek.

Market Research Participation

There are tons of market research companies, both online and offline, that require you to simply provide your opinion on a variety of products and services.  The work itself doesn’t pay much, but it can be practically instant and requires no track record, skills, experience, or protracted interview and onboarding process.  The work itself is limited mostly to filling in a few questionnaires and offering verbal feedback.

Odd Jobs

Take a step out of the thirsty teenager’s book; where they’ll knock on doors or leaflet drop offering their services – mowing laws, cleaning windows, walking dogs, chopping down trees, doing ironing; whatever it is, they’ll be open to doing it.

There are plenty of things people will pay money for, particularly the time starved, that you can offer to help them with. It might sound a little embarrassing but you will be amazed by how open some people can be to paying cash for odd jobs they need doing but can’t find the time.

Temporary Work

You could also ask to take on extra shifts at work, or enquire about any potential overtime opportunities. If this is not an option, you could try temp agencies. There are often temporary assignments available, particularly if you don’t mind unskilled manual work and are happy to work shifts. Remember it is only temporary!

Casual Work

If you are more of an office based computer type person, there are online sites like fiverr. Or you could also look into casual work at local bars and restaurants too. Mystery shopper is another popular choice.

Get a Loan

In today’s global economic crisis and this prolonged credit crunch we have been experiencing, getting a standard loan from a bank is proving to be more and more challenging. Banks have an increased sensitivity to risk and are reluctance to lend to people. Not only that, but the interest on the loan is often a lot higher than it would have been ten years ago. Therefore, for many people, the option to get a standard loan from a high street bank isn’t all that viable,

If it is a real emergency, then there are a number of same day loan providers such as New Horizon that subject to approval can pay up to £2,500 within less than 15 months. Whilst this is convenient in an emergency, it is a very expensive way to borrow money so is best used as a short-term stop-gap solution rather than as a long-term financial strategy.

Renting Out Space

If you have a spare room in your home you may wish to consider taking in a lodger. Another popular idea, particularly if you live close to a commuter line station, is to rent out your parking space. Lastly you could even rent out your garage, if you have one. (Although beware of any insurance implications when doing so!)

Switch Your Bank

Sometimes when you switch to a new back they give you an incentive, such as £250 cashback. If you shop around for such a deal you might find you are able to take advantage of one of these offers when you truly need it the most.

Ask! (Or at least talk to someone)

Consider if you have any family or friends you can open up to, and explain the situation. Even if they can’t help in a practical sense, you will probably feel much better having talked it through with someone. And they might well help you out if they possibly can in one way or another. Just like you would hopefully do for them!

*This is a collaborative post.

Home Education on a Shoestring 

This post discusses how you can save money on home educating and still provide plenty of home ed opportunities. It is a common misconception that home educating is expensive and unaffordable to most. However, many home educators successfully home educate on a tight budget and there are lots of ways to make home educating affordable. The truth is, home education can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Plus with the money you would spend on uniform, trips and lunch money, school is not necessarily a cheaper option either!

It is a common misconception that home educating is expensive and unaffordable to many. However, there are actually various ways to cut the costs, and many home educators successfully home educate on a tight budget. Here are my top tips…

Trips and Activities

Join your local home ed facebook group

In many areas, home educators organise trips and activities together as a community, in order to access cheaper group entry charges or school rates. This often also includes educational workshops that wouldn’t otherwise be available to individuals.

Look out for discounts/ offers to local attractions

Find your local community magazine, join an online group that shares local information or sign up to attraction newsletters direct; whichever way suits you personally to stay up-to-date with the latest offers and discounts for local attractions. Some places also do free open days etc… that it is worth taking advantage of too. If you make a point of seeking them out, you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually save!

Research free places to visit

Following on from the previous point, there are lots of free places to visit, and events throughout the year, that offer great educational opportunities. From museums to sporting events, there is plenty to choose from without getting your wallet out.

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Form a co-op, or arrange your own groups/ activities

If you can find a free (or cheap) venue, many home educators lead groups and activities themselves, or with other members of the local community. You can play on each others’ strengths and expertise, plus pool together resources, which can be far more cost effective than paying for classes etc…

Resources at Home

Find freebies

There are lots of free good quality resources on the internet. Also check out freecycle for useful items that someone else no longer needs. Occasionally there is even old equipment from local schools up for grabs, if you know the right people!


You can also borrow and swap with other home educators, which makes far more sense than investing in something that is only needed for a short term topic or limited age- range for example. And of course, there are libraries too!

Buy secondhand

There are dedicated home ed selling groups on facebook to find cheap secondhand resources. Charity shops are another place to hunt for bargains; there are some great finds to be had.

Sell the resources you no longer use

Obviously, as well as buying secondhand, it is also useful to sell your resources on if you no longer use them! Or hand them down to someone else who needs them, in a pay it forward type philosophy.

Make the most of subscription discounts

Some educational apps and websites charge an annual subscription fee. However, many offer a discount for home educators so be sure to find out before you sign up.

home education, homeschooling, home ed, freedom to learn, budget, finance, money saving, educational resources
Twinkl is great for educational resources

What About Income Though?

It is true that the loss of earnings can be a challenge. It is all very well finding ways to save money on the cost of home educating, but it doesn’t help if you don’t have any money coming in to begin with! (Note: Home educators are not entitled to any additional extra benefits simply because they home educate, and there is no funding specifically for home educators).

However, many home educators do also work. Firstly, it is important to remember that home education does not need to observe school hours and term times so there is flexibility as to how and when a full time education is provided. Secondly, there are various jobs that you can do flexibly working from home, or ways you can juggle home educating with working outside of the home. Here are some ideas…

Home Working

Just a few examples of jobs people do at home while home educating are; tutoring, childminding, workshops/ classes, blogging, making and selling crafts (e.g. etsy store) or other small businesses.

Working While Home Educating

Parents often share responsibility for home educating with each other, other family members or friends. Some use a childminder for part of the week, then focus on home education outside of those hours. Others take advantage of educational groups or childcare schemes that they can send their child to whilst they work. It is also possible to find evening or weekend work too. Bottom line is, there are various options available, much like you would choose at pre-school age.

Do you have any tips on how to finance home education? Or how to home educate on a budget? I would love to hear them!

The Pocket Money Debate: How Much, How Often and What For? 

We have recently been discussing pocket money and debating whether it should be earned or given? If it is to be earned, what should it be for? And how much is reasonable?

Personally, I feel that the concept of earning money is important. It helps to promote independence and a good work ethic. But I struggle on what it should be given for because I feel it has the potential to also encourage an expectation to be paid for things that I feel should be done for other reasons. 

After all, we should all help to keep our home clean and tidy because it is a shared space; we all live here, so we each have a responsibility toward it. And we should behave with kindness, respect and consideration toward others simply because it’s the right thing to do. It is intrinsic – at least I certainly feel it should be – is it not? What about for educational activities then? But does that then make them a chore, rather than doing it out of interest and curiosity and for the simple love of learning? I feel this way about sticker charts and the like, so surely money is no different. 

But, at the same time, I do also firmly believe that our main goal in life should be to find our passion. In an ideal world, people can do what they truly love and make money from it, but it doesn’t really feel like work or a ‘job’ because they would choose to do it anyway. In my eyes, that is the dream to aim for! So does paying pocket money for things the child would do anyway actually reinforce this mindset and therefore is a good thing?

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The fact is, I don’t actually have any answers! I think the best approach is probably different for each child, and family, depending on their priorities and personal set of values. And I also suspect the answer chances at different points throughout childhood too.

We have played around with a few different ideas over time, with varying levels of success, and certain pitfalls after a while too! One choice we are happy about though is setting up a goHenry account so she could have her own card and also be able to shop online with her own money. I think this is really good for independence and teaching essential life skills. You can set up a goHenry account online quickly and easily, and it gives options to write tasks and/ or transfer a set weekly amount so is quite versatile. We have found this works well for us! If you sign up through the referral links in this post, you get free custom goHenry card worth £4.99 plus 1-month free

I also asked some fellow bloggers on their opinions of pocket money and here are some of the responses I received:

Two Hearts One Roof ~ OK my little one is too young for pocket money, but I will be doing the same as my parents did for me. I had £5 a week in my money box and £5 in my savings towards holiday spending money, or if I really wanted to save for something big. Then I could earn extra doing chores or helping out my parents, neighbours or grandparents. I spent a lot of sunday mornings ironing as I could do that in front of the TV and I didn’t mind. Mum would price a whole basket depending on how difficult it would be and how many items. Our dude will have the same system when he is old enough. Plus any money from grandparents or for birthdays/ xmas – half goes in savings and half to keep on hand. We already do that and he is 1; half is in savings and half for something now.

Whimsical Mumblings ~ My little ones (2&3) have a ‘kindness’ reward chart and get a star everytime they do something kind. When the chart fills up I give them a pound or two to put in their piggy banks.

My Boys Club ~ We started our boys off in 50p for washing the car or making their beds each week etc. We pay for all their activities, clothes etc but trying to teach them the value of money from a young age.

Dark Tea ~ We started giving our daughter pocket money when she was 7 (she’s almost 9). She gets £2 and has to save half of it. She occasionally earns more by doing chores above the normal such as mopping floors and helping in the garden.

Champagne and Petals ~ We don’t really do a weekly pocket money. My 8 year old gets money for doing little jobs around the house. Feeding the cat, making his bed, opening his curtains. Or helping in the garden and washing the cars. No more than £5 a week. However as he gets older and is wanting to spend money on things then I’m sure it will increase, as will the jobs he has to do to earn the money.

Pack The PJs ~ My two get £5 each, weekly, paid direct to their GoHenry cards. All we ask in return is for them to take some responsibility of their stuff and their rooms. We have stopped it in the past when they’ve been a bit disrespectful of their belongings (or each other). It works well – it also means they have on average £50 to spend if we go out. When they spend their own money you notice that they stop and ask themselves if they really need it before committing!

Family Travel With Ellie ~ I have recently started a Go Henry account for my 10 year old son. He gets £2.50 per week and the gets an extra £2 if he cleans out the rabbits and and extra £2 if he mows the lawn/ cleans the car or similar. It’s a great adaptable account , he gets a debit card with it which gives him a sense of responsibility and independence.

Neon Rainbow Blog ~ We also use Go Henry for our 11 year old, he gets a card which is contactless and an app to track his chores. I get an app too which I can load ‘tasks’ onto so each time he ticks off a task, the money goes from my parent account to his Go Henry account. He does things like tidying his bedroom, hoovering, dishwasher, plus we give him perks for things like homework, SATs results, good manners, selfless deeds.

Hello Cuppies ~ My son is 12 and he gets £35 a month and it transfers straight to his bank account which he then has to manage himself. It does come with conditions though; no discredits from school, no missed homework and all chores done. I think we’re quite generous but this does have to pay for quite a lot of little luxuries which do add up.

Frugal Family ~ My teenager gets £50 a month which she uses to buy anything that I consider non-essential. My son gets £5 a week as he’s younger and doesn’t go out as much with his friends yet. I don’t pay them for doing jobs around the house as I think that should be an automatic thing, seeing as they make more than their fair share of mess. But I do link pocket money to behaviour, so if they suddenly refused to do their jobs or had a bad attitude then they wouldn’t be paid.

* goHenry is an affilliate link which means I generate a small revenue from referrals. All thoughts and opinions about goHenry are my own. Thank you for the support. 

How To Tackle Cash Flow Issues

We have all been there; despite doing your best to stay on top of the finances, somehow the money doesn’t quite stretch to your next pay check. Maybe an unexpected expense has cropped up that really cannot wait until the end of the month. Or an unpaid invoice messes up your carefully planned budget. Or perhaps it is simply that an error has occured somewhere along the line. Whatever the reason, realising you have a cash flow problem can be very stressful. Here are some top tips on how to tackle it… 

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Nip Issues in the Bud 

First of all, start trying to address the issue as soon as you realise that your money won’t stretch. If you see a shortfall coming and react immediately, you will have more options and less of a problem than if you bury your head in the sand and wait for the inevitable. 

Immediately cut back on any unnecessary spending – and evaluate what you actually consider to be necessary to ensure it truly is absolutely essential. Even small budget cuts to groceries shopping for example, or walking whenever possible to save petrol money, could help to narrow that gap significantly. 

Also check you don’t have any non-essential direct debits coming out and cancel any you don’t actually need to pay; for example, subscriptions. Although do be aware of minimum notice periods for any cancellations, or potential charges as per contracts, when doing this – you don’t want to find yourself in a different type of financial difficulty instead!

Raise Some Cash – Fast

Next up, try to raise the shortfall money. There are several ways to potentially do this, depending on how fast you need to raise the cash how much you need. Here are some suggestions:

  • Have a clear-out. Sell any secondhand items in good condition that you no longer actually use or need. While sites such as ebay are the obvious first choice for many people, I have personally found that it is actually often quicker and easier to sell on local selling sites via facebook, if your area has one. 
  • Get some extra temporary work. I know this can be a very tough task, and it depends on how much time you have, but it is sometimes possible! Take on extra shifts at work, or enquire about overtime. If this is not an option, you could try temp agencies or online sites like fiverr. Or look into casual work, such as at local bars. You could also just generally ask around to find out if anyone needs an extra pair of (paid) hands for one-off jobs; you never know, you might be asking at just the right time for someone to offer an ideal opportunity! (Note: Make sure you disclose paid work of course!) 
  • Exchange gift cards for cash. Do you have any gift cards that you haven’t yet spent? Assuming you can’t spend them on essentials, try selling them on local selling groups, or sites such as Zeek.

And if all else fails… 

If you have tried and failed to resolve the issue using the advice above, and anything else you might have thought of, then you may feel that it is time to consider borrowing. One possibility might be to ask friends or family, whereas for others this may not be an option, or you might simply prefer not to go down this route. A payday loan, using a credit card if you have one, or extending your overdraft are other options to explore. If the cash flow crisis is due to an unexpected item replacement, buying it on finance may be another option. It is important to compare fees and rates if you do borrow, in order to find the solution that is right for you. And remember to pay the money back as quickly as possible, and most definitely on time, so that you don’t fall further into debt. 

Last But Not Least

Once you have resolved the cash flow issue, try to reflect on what went wrong and take stock of your financial situation. Consider if and how you could try to avoid a cash flow problem happening again in the future. Review your budget and make sure you stick to it. Start a savings account if at all possible; try to put 10% of earnings into it if you can. The more prepared you are for any financial scenario, the less likely you are to get caught out again next time something crops up! (I do realise this is often easier said than done of course!)

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

The Growing Your Money Guide

One of the things I’m always very conscious of as a parent is our family’s finances. These are challenging times for the UK, and there seems to be growing conjecture that times are about to get even tougher. Whilst I try not to worry too much about the wider economic issues that are largely beyond our control, it is important to me to try to keep our own finances under control.

finances, general life, investment, money, saving

If at all possible, there are two simple things you can do to help secure, and safeguard, your family’s financial future. The first is to put aside as much as you can each month. Then, as a second step, it makes sense to ensure that these savings are working as hard as they can. In terms of the latter, it’s easier said than done given that interest rates have absolutely plummeted over the last decade. Nevertheless, there are still some ways in which you can get a bit more bang for your buck.

Best interest deals on savings

The Santander 123 account used to be a real winner with an interest rate of 3%, coupled with some cashback offers on bills. Unfortunately, this rate was cut in half at the end of last year, although 1.5% is still one of the better deals out there. Bear in mind though that this has a £20,000 limit, and there is a monthly fee of £5.

Further afield, Bank of Scotland’s Vantage account offers 3% interest on accounts with £3,000-£5,000 in them, while Tesco offers 3% interest on the first £3,000 savings. Effectively you can take advantage of this for savings up to £6,000, since you can open two accounts per person with Tesco. However, perhaps the stand out option is the Nationwide Flex account, whereby you earn a more impressive 5%, but only on a fixed amount of £2,500 for 12 months (be warned; it then drops down to 1% thereafter).

Another smart way to earn good interest is to use a Help-to-Buy ISA. This is an account for which prospective first-time homebuyers are eligible, and has a built-in 25% bonus scheme on contributions. Aside from the bonus, interest rates are also more competitive than most, with Barclays paying 2.27% for example.

Switching bank accounts

It may seem like a pain, but switching bank accounts is actually easier than you think. Thanks to legislation passed in 2012, the onus falls on the new bank to make all the necessary arrangements like switching direct debits etc… All that’s left for you to do is follow a few easy steps, and it should all be done within seven working days. 

And the good news is that there are some very good deals on offer to those willing to switch account providers. For example, you can earn £100+ from the likes of Co-op or First Direct. Halifax’s £75 is nothing to be sneezed at either. TSB offer a package deal too, whereby you can earn £10 a month by switching to the Classic Plus account, with 3% interest on top of that on the first £1,500 you put in.

finances, general life, investment, money, saving

Peer-to-peer lending

There is another option to growing your money, which, it must be pointed out, is not quite the same as savings accounts. Peer-to-peer lending offers returns of up to 5% to those willing to lend their money directly to consumers in need of a loan, via an online platform. It sounds risky, and it must be kept in mind that there is no cover offered on these loans by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, as there is with ordinary bank accounts.

However, platforms do go a long way to safeguarding the funds of lenders. Borrowers are strictly vetted for creditworthiness, so you aren’t lending to just anyone. They also set aside provision funds to cover any arrears and defaults on repayments. And some have even gone the extra mile by setting up an insurance to supplement this; one which pays out for typical borrower default reasons like accident, illness, unemployment; along with darker forces like fraud and cybercrime. It therefore isn’t risk free, but historically returns have been stable from FCA-regulated platforms. So if you are willing to look slightly further up the risk spectrum, it could be a good solution for you.

However you decide to go about things though, what’s important is to be open to, and aware of, all of the various options available out there. That way you can make the most educated decision possible on the best choice for you, in order to make your family’s savings go that much further.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.