It doesn’t seem like five minutes since the kids were going back to school, and now Christmas is behind us. Having the children at home can be a costly endeavor, which is why we want to help you take control of your finances this school holiday.

Set a spending budget

It’s really easy to blow the budget when you’re trying to keep the young ones entertained, especially if the weather is bad. However, you can avoid this by giving yourself a spending allowance for the holiday – and sticking to it.

If you’re worried about running out of money early on, do some research into fun, free activities you can do at home. Going on a nature walk is just as much fun as visiting a children’s farm, while organising and arts and crafts morning can be a cheap alternative to the local soft play centre.

Find discount vouchers and coupons

One easy way to make school holidays cheaper is to look around for discount vouchers, either online or in local newspapers and magazines. Often tourist attractions will launch special promotions to coincide with the break between Christmas and New Year, so you can enjoy the same entertainment that you were always planning to attend, but for a cheaper price.

Many attractions offer family tickets, and if you’re going out on your own with one child, consider teaming up with a fellow mum to benefit from the family discount.

Teach your children to save – and follow your own example

Financial education is extremely important, so now could be a great time to start instilling the savings message within your own children’s Christmas money. Give them a piggy bank that they have to smash to open, or start a savings account in their name. Then make contributing to that savings pot a weekly routine.

At the same time as your kids are paying into their savings account, make your own contribution. This way, you are leading by example.

Look at where you can boost your disposable income

If you’re taking a few days off to spend with the family, this downtime is also a perfect opportunity to look at where you can streamline your finances to free up more fun money.

For example, when was the last time you switched energy providers? When it comes to utilities, loyalty doesn’t always pay, so shop around to find the best tariff. The same switching message also goes for mobile phone providers.

Another way to save money is to review your insurance policies. They may not be coming up for renewal immediately, but adding reminders to your diary can ensure you have time to shop around and find the best deal.

You can even free up money by changing bank, as some current account providers will offer you a cash bonus for joining, as well as a more competitive interest rate.

Set yourself a financial goal for 2017

Christmas is an important financial landmark, because it marks the last big spend of the year, and of course, the most expensive time of the year.

If you sometimes find it hard to fund the festive period, use the New Year as a start point for saving for next Christmas financial goals.

These could be putting some money away each week to pay for the festive food bill. Alternatively, they could be broader financial goals to help you get into better shape by the end of the year, such as paying off your credit card, or doubling the amount of money you save each month.

At this time of the year more than ever, having a financial plan in place can make the difference between ending the year wracked with financial stress, or feeling happier that you are in a much better place financially than the same time last year.

If this article resonated with you, here’s a simple step you can take this week to get your finances under control. Click here to read our recent blog, What is life cover really for?

If you’re unsure about how to create a financial plan, contact us today.

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