There is no doubt about it people – having kids is not a cheap affair! Yes it’s fun (mostly) but the older they get, the more they need and cost. And so, whilst they repeatedly eat us out of house and home, and grow a new shoe size each month (or so it seems), I am always experimenting with ways to spend less and get more out of our money. I am also conscious of the need to put something aside for their future and the big events in their lives; like furthering education, marriage, missions and maybe help with a future home. I often think it would be a real shame for a lack of money to get in their way of future opportunities and major life events.
And so with these financial thoughts whirling around my mind, I have been investigating ways to actively save for these special life events and the future of our kids, and here are some traditional (and some out of the box) ways to do that.
Stocks and shares ISAs
As we all know, the value of stocks and shares can go down as well as up. But, historically, over the long-term, they tend to end up higher than when you bought them. So, if things go well you could end up with a bigger pot of money than you would have had if you had just put it into a savings account. However, they are only a good idea if you can afford to wait for the market to be up before cashing out. So, if you are interested in investing in stocks and shares you will need to seek advice from a trained financial advisor, which I am not.
Cash ISAs on the other hand are pretty safe. When you open one with the right provider up to £85,000 of your capital will be protected by the government. So, if something went horribly wrong with the financial institution you are using, you would still get your capital back. But, right now, interest rates are not particularly high. However, the principles of compound interest mean that the money you have in the account will grow at a surprisingly fast rate. If you want to see the benefits for yourself, just spend a few minutes playing around compound interest calculator. There’s not doubt the results will put a smile on your face and encourage you to save.
Buying shares is something I recently have thought about as a potential way to make money for the future. Unlike the ISA this involves buying shares upfront as oppose to your savings being the investment.
These days many businesses offer you the opportunity to invest so if you think they are going to do well, it may be worth taking the plunge! Whether you go for a big favourite and buy snapchat shares or invest in a more local business, shares could really help provide you with a healthy investment return in a few years time as buying and trading on the stock market can be a great way to make a nice return on your money (although nothing is guaranteed too).
As a rule of thumb, experts advise that you should watch out for scams and also invest for at least five years – as this allows enough time to ride out any bumps in the market that potentially could see you make a loss on your money.
The above ideas are traditional approaches to saving and have proven well for many generations. However, you should also think outside the box a bit on how you can get more cash to put aside for both yours and your kids futures.
Take a 2nd job
One example would be to take a 2nd Job (if it isn’t going to strain you too much). A 2nd job or even starting a new business can bring in a lot of extra cash and do so quickly. That is money you could immediately lock away for your child’s future.
Pay off any debt you have
If you are spending a lot of money servicing debt, then it’s probably time to look at ways to eliminate your debts. The Debt Snowball app can really help you with this. And, once you are debt–free, redirect some of the money you were spending on repayments into saving for your kid’s future. It will also alleviate stress in the present and increase lifestyle.
Upcycle and sell what you own
Instead of automatically throwing away what you already own when you buy something new, try to sell it on. We love marketplace for this or a carboot. You will be surprised by how much cash you will accrue over the course of several years having regular clear outs and sales, or selling old things when you update them.
Again, putting some of that extra cash into a savings account for your kids will soon add up over the years.
These are just a few simple ways to save for your children’s big life events. I have a few more, and would love to hear yours too. I hope you can use them, or seek out other ideas by speaking to friends and family. Either way, saving for the kids futures I think is so important.