While you might have thought you had a grip on your finances before having children, often this becomes an entirely different matter when you’re a parent.
But for those looking to cut back on unnecessary expenses as a mum or dad, there are ways to cut costs and save thousands of dollars in the process.
Speaking on the Today Show on Monday, Australian financial advisor and expert, Canna Campbell, revealed the simple things you can do to boost your bank balance and save money on your family.
From cutting food costs to keeping the total amount of dollars you spend on their activities to a minimum, here FEMAIL takes a look at some of her take-home advice.
Australian financial advisor and expert, Canna Campbell (pictured), revealed the simple things you can do to boost your bank balance and save money on your family
Canna revealed you can save money on swimming lessons (stock image) by claiming back $100 per child per year from the Government’s Get Active program
Ask any parent with a child who loves sport how they deal with the mammoth costs, and many will say it’s a struggle.
But according to Canna, it needn’t be – provided you know a few simple tips and tricks up your sleeve.
‘At the beginning of this year, the Government launched a Get Active program for kids to combat obesity,’ Canna told the programme.
‘You can get up to $100 per child per year when you have your kids involved in things like swimming, gymnastics and athletics. You get it as a rebate and it’s really easy to do through the My Government service.’
She said that you can also claim back some money on private health insurance:
‘Some private health insurance, depending on your level of cover, will also give you another $100 towards swimming lessons.’
Add all of this together and you’ve got a fairly tidy saving year on year.
She also said you can save money on food by planning your meals ahead and shopping at the deli section, rather than buying pre-packaged meats and cheese (stock image)
While many of us start the week with good intentions to be thrifty about how we spend our money on food, by the time Wednesday rolls around it can be easy to fall off the wagon and order takeaway instead.
But Canna said the most important thing with food and money saving is to be prepared:
‘Always plan what you’re going to eat for the rest of the week, so you’ve got all the ingredients ready to go and you need to make those last-minute expensive convenience store trips,’ she said.
Elsewhere, the financial advisor also recommends you ‘carry snacks in your handbag’ and visit the deli section of the supermarket:
‘Don’t buy those pre-packaged hams and cheeses,’ she said.
‘Go to the deli and it’s so much cheaper – such better value for money.’
Canna also recommends taking your kids shopping to either Woolworths or Harris Farm, who both allow children free fruit provided their parents are shopping there.
Canna recommends you sign up for museum and gallery memberships, which allow you entry to all sorts of different exhibits throughout the year (stock image)
We all know how important it is that our children’s minds are nurtured.
But activities, exhibitions and trips to museums and galleries don’t often come cheap.
‘A lot of the local libraries have exhibitions which are free,’ Canna explained.
‘I’m also a big fan of getting those membership passes to your local zoo or the art gallery or aquarium. They are between $50 and $150 a year, but they give you unlimited access for a year.
‘And with so many of those libraries and museums, they are constantly changing it, so you can go to a spider museum, a dinosaur museum and all sorts of different educational exhibitions.’
Should you choose to invest in one of the passes, you will also get discounts to additional exhibitions you would normally have to pay for.
Canna (pictured) said that rather than getting a babysitter, you should share your children with your friends and look after your friends’ kids when you can
The old expression, it takes a village to raise a child, is particularly true of child-minding.
And Canna Campbell highly recommends you ‘share the load’:
‘I’ll often take my friends’ kids for a couple of hours, and my friend will take my son for a couple of hours,’ she said.
‘They absolutely love it. Instead of having to get a babysitter for three or four hours for $100, you end up having so much more fun doing this as well.’
BUY, SWAP AND SELL
Last but not least, rather than throwing away the items your child no longer fits or wants, Canna said you can instead share and share around:
‘Buy, Swap, Sell on Facebook [is great],’ she argued.
‘There are so many local and national communities where people have a whole range of kids’ shoes, clothes and toys.’
The financial advisor recommends you swap, trade and sell your old stuff, in order to stay on top of your finances.
‘It’s a fantastic place to make money,’ she concluded.
To read more from Canna Campbell, you can visit her website here.