Be wage-smart to make the most of family life

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We all know what it’s like – your budget seems under constant pressure, and it’s hard to prevent that from having a negative impact on family life. After all, you’re likely to feel less able to treat everyone to a day out or holidays that allow you to really spend some quality time together. So, the question I’m asking today is, what can you do about it?

The good news is that with a little effort, there are ways to make your budget stretch further – though sometimes you do need to be prepared to put some time in to come up with solutions. As a result, you could uncover some extra cash to spend on quality time with your family – and you might find that the two things actually go hand in hand.

Understand the benefits your employer offers

I think one of the first steps to take is ensuring you understand what benefits are available to you from your employer – or other discounts your job might entitle you too. These days, plenty of companies offer attractive deals or money off certain services, which can really help ease the pressure on your budget.

Sometimes, these things are indirectly related to spending time with your family. For instance, they might offer you a cheap gym membership that will cut your monthly outgoings (provided you previously went to a more expensive sports centre, of course!). You can then put this money towards enhancing family life.

Alternatively, you could get discounts on things like days out or holidays (check out the examples at CSMA Club). The advantage of this is that you’re immediately saving money on spending time with the family, which ensures that it is your family life that directly benefits from your discounts.

Go discount-hunting

When you’ve got a clear picture of what you can expect from your employer, it’s time to start hunting for discounts – within both the (hopefully ample) selection offered by work and the public sphere. Taking the example of CSMA Club, which civil service members can sign up to, there are lots of possibilities for low-cost days out and even holidays.

I’ll talk more about that side of things in a moment, but it’s important to remember that even if those kinds of offers are not readily available to you, there are still ways to divert funds towards family time. Trying to find a cheaper mobile phone contract is often effective, for instance, as can be switching to another utilities provider.

Save on spending time together

To finish off, I’m going to give you a few examples of some of the best ways to save money on spending time together. For example, if as mentioned above you’re a member of the civil service and can join a members club, you can snap up some brilliant discounts on theme park entry.

Children of all ages love theme parks, but they are often an expensive outing. Take the sting out of a trip to somewhere like Alton Towers or Thorpe Park by nabbing up to 40 per cent off entry per person.

Alternatively, see what you can get in the way of holidays. You could save as much as ten per cent on breaks from big names like Virgin and Thomas Cook, while staycations in places such as the Forest of Dean and Devon are another good choice if you fancy having a memorable family holiday without forking out for overseas travel.