How to improve your financial wellbeing
Working parents are always on the lookout to improve their financial wellbeing and to make their money go further. In fact a recent financial-based survey₂. found the most significant stress for workers in Britain is money₁. During 2019, British workers spent at least 3 hours a week and one sick day a year tackling pressing financial concerns₁. Those dealing with financial stress were 4.1 times more likely to experience anxiety, and 4.6 times more likely to suffer from depression₂.
Financial stress is hurting workers’ health, productivity and engagement, indicating a lack of financial wellbeing among adults in the UK.
Financial wellbeing is described as, ‘a sense of security; feeling you have enough money to meet your needs, are in control of your finances, and the freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy your life’ ₃.
Do you have financial wellbeing? As a working parent in the UK, it’s likely that you don’t. What with a lack of flexible work positions, insufficient financial and emotional childcare support, and increasing living and childcare costs.
We’re on your side; we’ve compiled a checklist to improve your financial wellbeing, for you and your children’s futures.
Get up close and personal with your finances. When money is a source of stress, we can quickly bury our heads in the sand. This only exacerbates the problem as we lose sight of incoming and outgoing, and debt can climb out of control.
Learn exactly where your money goes by sifting through statements and use a something like the Catapillr Income & Expense tool which can help you manage your monthly incoming and outgoings.
It’s a difficult task, but it’s the only way to ensure you account for every penny. Once you’ve reacquainted yourself with your household figures, highlight the areas you overspend, and take note of areas that could do with a boost.
Set yourself a budget for all your household expenses and stick to it. If childcare and the money you spend on your kids’ activities is of concern to you, then check out the catapillr childcare and children’s activities cost calculator. It’s simple and free to use you can email yourself a copy of the results.
2. Deal With Debt
It’s not easy to gather debt information and look at it honestly. But without tackling it head-on, you’re always going to be playing catch up.
Gather your statements and add up your debt, so you know your exact position, then seek financial assistance. There are many great charities and support organisations who can give you advice about your next steps. You may need to arrange a different payment plan with your creditors or ask for a temporary halt on interest. Most creditors have to follow guidelines regarding the duty of care as a lender; once you’ve notified them of your situation, they’re required to act accordingly.
3. Save As Much As You Can
Once you’ve conquered your budget and tackled your debt, you’ll be in a better position to improving your financial wellbeing and knowing how much you can save.
Research the best savings accounts available and suitable to you. Every savings account has terms and conditions regarding the amount you can save, whether you can withdraw, and how much; find the best one for you. Online comparison sites can be an excellent tool for your research. A savings account for your child(ren) is a great idea too if you haven’t already set one up. Again, the conditions vary, so read the small print before confirming your choice.
4. Check Benefits
Are you sure you receive all available benefits?
Check with your employer about possible childcare schemes you may be unaware of.
Take a look at gov.uk for information about Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits/Universal Credit, Tax-Free Childcare and Marriage Tax Allowance.
Online calculators can usually tell you within a few minutes whether you’re eligible for assistance.
5. Spend Smarter
Once you’ve organised your finances, you need to use what you have wisely. Your budget will dictate how much you can spend in different areas, and every family will prioritise differently.
● Use price comparison sites to find the best deals for your utilities and insurances. Hundreds of pounds can be saved, and you can switch within minutes at the touch of a few buttons.
● Consider changing where you shop for groceries and household essentials.
The big supermarkets are constantly competing for your custom, so browse a few to find the best fit for your family.
● Buy second-hand where possible; it saves you money and helps environmental costs.
Great quality furniture, toys and clothes can be sourced from charity shops and online marketplaces.
● Consider a ‘no-spend month’. Focus on free activities to enjoy together such as, walks in the forest, movie nights and back garden campfires. No spend doesn’t have to mean any fun.