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i This applies across the UK.

Saving money and increasing income

How do I save money while raising a family?

Raising children is a big responsibility.

Doing it while in debt or on a low income makes it even harder.

Here are our tips to save money during this time.

We know that this can be a lot harder for some than others. If you are:


  • Review your family budget
  • Save on household bills
  • Prepare early for celebrations
  • Save money on clothes
  • Find free or cheap ways to entertain your kids

Have you claimed Child Benefit?

Child Benefit can be claimed by parents or guardians with a child:

  • Under 16 in their household or
  • Under 20 if they stay in approved education or training

You can get:

  • £1,331 per year for a first child
  • £881 for any other child

These rates are as of April 2024.

You can now claim fully online. The money should arrive within three days.

Asking for help can be hard.

Are debts causing you stress? Do you feel you never have the time?

Whatever the barrier, let’s deal with it together.

Find out more here.

Review your family budget on a regular basis

Understanding your budget can be a huge help when raising a family.

Keep track of your:

  • Priority bills
  • Living expenses
  • Income
  • Debts

This can help you plan for future expenses like:

  • School uniforms
  • Birthdays
  • Holidays
  • Emergencies

Keep it realistic

You may be tempted to make cutbacks, but doing this can make life harder.

Whatever your financial situation, your budget should always:

  • Put your family’s needs first
  • Cover all essentials

Our guide can help you to put your budget together.

Save money as a family on household bills

Is there a way you could reduce the cost of your bills?

Think about things like:

  • Your phone bill
  • Utility provider
  • Broadband package
  • There are social tariffs for broadband if you get certain benefits

Are you paying more than you need to? Is there a cheaper service?

  • Review your contract once a year
  • Use a comparison website to check for better deals

You might be surprised how much money you can save.

Save money on water bills

Many people save money with a water meter.

  • Do not use estimates
  • Make sure you only pay for what you use

Save money on your energy bills

Changing your energy use can save money and help the environment.

Ask your family to:

  • Unplug items when not using them
  • Keep doors and windows closed
  • Take shorter showers
  • Run clothes on a cold wash and hang dry

Are you struggling with the cost of living?

Save money on food by planning ahead and batch cooking

Planning weekly meals saves time, energy and money.

Involving your kids teaches them:

  • How to make a plan
  • How to stick to a budget
  • How to prepare healthy meals

Write a list before going food shopping.

  • Build your list around the meal plan
  • Try to add ingredients that can be used in different meals
  • Write your list in order of the layout of the shop

These tips will help you buy only what you need.

Batch cooking is when you make enough food for multiple meals .

  • It is a great way to save time and money
  • If you have a freezer, fill it with pre-made meals for busy days

Budgeting tip:

  • Make a note of what you expect your shop to be
  • Keep your receipts
  • Compare them to what you estimated
  • Use this to budget for future shops

For more tips, read our guide on how to save money on meals and your food shopping.

Emergency help exists if you are struggling to feed your family.

Prepare early for celebrations

Birthdays and Christmas are fun but expensive.

Planning ahead can make a big difference. Here are our top tips:

  • Keep your gift list small
    • You do not need to buy presents for everyone you know
    • Ask friends and family how they feel about exchanging gifts. They may want to reduce costs too
  • Set a spending limit per person and stick to it
  • Ask family members to pool for a big gift, rather than buying small or cheap gifts
  • Start saving three months in advance
    • Even loose change in a jar adds up over time
  • Use a Christmas savings scheme
    • There are websites that help you save for Christmas
    • Some offer vouchers for Christmas presents
  • Keep an eye out for discounts and deals
  • Look out for pre-loved games, books and music
    • Online and offline shops have big markets in second-hand items
    • There are big savings over new items
  • Look out for travel discounts
    • You can buy cheap, advance train tickets from 12 weeks before Christmas
  • Use cashback websites and voucher codes when you buy online
    • This can add up throughout the year
    • You may find you have extra money to use for Christmas
  • Buy Christmas cards and wrapping in the January sales

Our free budgeting template has a section for sundries and emergencies.

Use it to set aside money for Christmas and birthdays.

Explore ways to save money on clothes

Children go through a lot of clothes as they grow.

Here are our tips dress on a budget.

Save a bit of money each month for new school uniforms.

Your budget already includes these costs if you are on a long-term debt solution.

Give second-hand shops a chance

Most charity shops only take good-quality clothes.

You can often find clothes that are brand new.

Buy pre-loved clothes in job lots

People often sell their children’s clothes in bulk online.

This can give your child several outfits for one low price.

Find out if you are eligible for help

Some schools help families with uniform costs.

Ask your school if they do this.

Looking to save money on clothes for the whole family? Our guide can help.

Find free or cheap ways to keep the kids entertained

Many parents worry about days out and activities.

Some cinemas offer free screenings for parents of babies and toddlers to films with a U, PG or 12 rating

To try to save money:

  • Make use of your local library.
    • Libraries get free reading to your children
    • They get kids away from their screens
    • They are an adventure too – kids love exploring the books
    • It can give you a bit of peace and quiet!
  • Look on your council website
    • Many local councils put on free family events during school breaks
    • Do research a couple of weeks before the school break is due to start
    • See if you can fill the calendar with fun and free activities
  • Visit a SureStart centre
  • Talk to other parents
    • Other parents want to save money over the school break too
    • Find out what they are doing and if your children can get involved
    • Plan things together to share costs
  • Talk to your child’s school
    • There may be extra activities for children over the school break
    • They may know something else the kids can take part in
  • Look out for promotional offers
    • Newspapers and popular food and drinks brands will run discounts
    • You may find special offers on theme park tickets, camping breaks and more

I have a newborn/toddler. How can I save money?

The arrival of your baby can be tough on a budget.

Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Claim your free ‘baby box’
    • All parents in England and Scotland are entitled to the box
    • Inside are clothes, bathing items and more
    • Sign up online or speak to your midwife
  • Register with baby clothes stores
    • Many will discount your first purchase if you sign up
    • Some discount future purchases if you sign up
  • Be clear on what your baby needs
    • The NHS Choices site has a list of basics like nappies and a car seat
    • You may not need something right away if it is not on the list
  • Ask if your council has a free nappy scheme
    • Many give free nappies to new parents
  • Get free dental care
    • All mums in the UK can get free dental care until Baby is 12 months old
    • You may also be able to get free eye tests and prescriptions
    • Talk to your GP or midwife for more information
  • Apply for help with childcare costs
  • Find out what benefits you are entitled to
  • Make sure you get the right pay on maternity leave
  • Your employer must pay you while you’re on leave if:

    • You have worked at the same company for longer than six months
    • Your earnings were at least the lower earnings limit for the tax year, and
    • You take time off work when your baby is born
    • The Government pages on maternity pay and leave or adoption pay and leave have more information
  • Get help when you need it
    • Your health visitor should help with any questions you have
    • There are other specialist numbers you can call for information and support too
    • Find out more on the NHS website

I’m in debt and raising a family. What can I do?

We offer free, nonjudgmental advice.

Use our free online debt advice tool or speak to an advisor on the phone.

You can also talk to the people you owe if you are only making minimum payments on:

  • Credit cards
  • Overdrafts
  • Catalogue accounts

When you only make minimum payments for 18 months, it is called ‘persistent debt’.

  • Your creditor may ask you to increase your monthly payments
  • They may decide to remove your access to that credit

Read our guide on paying off a persistent debt.

Other great ways to save money as a family

  • Switch to packed lunches
    • An easy way to save on lunch bills
    • Often a healthy option too
  • Look out for free wi-fi wherever you take your kids
    • Save money on mobile phone bills
  • Borrow items instead of buying them
    • Great examples include power tools, lawnmowers, hedge trimmers and power washers
  • Consider National Trust membership
    • It costs £120 a year but can be paid in instalments
    • It gives you free access and parking to a huge range of locations and attractions that provide a great day out for the kids
    • Make sure you are committed to using it before you buy

Money worries?

Find out how we can help you.

Get help now