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Having children is expensive. There are new shoes, school uniforms, books, toys and food to buy. Every family hits a tight spot now and then, and many of us struggle to afford everything we need. Whether it’s for a holiday, birthday or to create a financial cushion, here are five ways to reduce spending, boost your income and free up money in the family budget.  

  1. Look closely at your budget

If you don’t have a family budget, now is the time to make one. You can create a budget easily by entering your income and outgoings into an Excel spreadsheet, or you can download a budgeting app to your phone or tablet. If you already have a budget, look at it closely. Are there any expenses you could cut, such as takeaway coffees, unnecessary toy purchases or old subscriptions you no longer use? Spend some time combing through your bank account and look for regular purchases you could cut or replace with cheaper alternatives.

  1. Get a side job

Many parents take on a part-time job or side hustle to give them extra cash for special events, even if it’s only temporary. These days, there are plenty of jobs you can do online, and you might evenbe able to earn money by blogging or tutoring from home. Alternatively, you can use Gumtree to find a job near you. It’s easy to search for vacancies in your location – all you need to do is select the “Jobs” category, set your area and enter your search term (for example, jobs in Glasgow).

  1. Become a childminder

One of the best ways to make moneyfrom the home when you have small children is to look after other people’s children. You’re already at home with your kids, so why not set up your own childminding business? Before you advertise your services, however, you will need to be sure you are legally qualified to workwith young children. In the UK, this involves getting a DBS check, a routine healthcare examination, registering with Ofsted and other inspections and processes.

  1. Sell old clothes and toys

As a parent, you probably have plenty of old toys and clothes lying around. So why not give your home a clear-out and make some money in the process? You could host a garage sale, rent a table at your local car boot sale or sell old items online. Again, you can use Gumtree to sell old items to online buyers. Churches, childcare centresandnurseries will also be grateful for donations.

  1. Offer services from home

These days, anyone can set up a small business online. If you don’t have experience in consulting, teaching or beauty, you could offer an ironing service or become a virtual assistant. What you decide to do from home will depend on your uniqueskillsetand the number of hours you have spare. The Internet provides a number of platforms where you canadvertise your services, such as Facebook, Twitter, job boards and email marketing.

Whether you’re trying to save money or you’d simply like to get a better picture of your spending, a family budget is essential. More often than not, freeing up spare cash in your budget is easier than you think, and you can always look for new and innovative ways to increase your income when the purse strings are tight.

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