Let’s face it, parenthood is expensive. You’ve got unexpected medical bills, child care costs and household bills to worry about, not to mention the cost of entertaining the kids during the school holidays. So how can you juggle the costs associated with raising a family, while also finding money saving opportunities along the way?
Whether it’s taking advantage of your health insurance policy, keeping your eyes peeled for credit card reward perks, travelling smart or being more energy efficient around the house, it all comes down to research, planning and perseverance.
1) Opt for a health insurance policy that rewards gym junkies
A lot of people don’t realise that some health funds will cover the cost of your gym membership. You don’t actually have to be a “gym junkie” to take advantage of this, but if you hit the gym a few times per week for a little down time anyway, then why not get rewarded for it?
Depending on the provider, and the type of extras cover you’ve chosen, you could be claiming back around $200 of your gym membership costs. Some funds will also offer you discounted rates, like HCF, which offers customers 10% off when they sign up with Fitness First.
So if you’re thinking about taking out extras cover for your family, consider signing up with a provider that rewards you every time you break a sweat.
2) Earn reward points at the movies
Heading to the cinema can be expensive, especially when you’ve got the kids in tow, so having a few money-saving hacks up your sleeve can go a long way.
If you buy an Event Cinemas or HOYTS movie voucher online or in store, you can earn points for every dollar you spend. For instance, Woolworths Rewards members can earn 1 point per dollar spent on Event Cinemas and HOYTS e-gift cards.
Also, if you sign up to the the HOYTS Rewards program, you’ll be eligible for discounted tickets and Candy Bar promotions (why not treat the kids if they’re on holidays?). You can also join the HOYTS Silver program for $13 p.a. to receive 10% back on eligible purchases.
3) Don’t exchange money at the airport or your hotel
If you’re heading on a family trip, don’t exchange your money at the airport or at your hotel. These are convenient locations so many travellers won’t make the effort to go any further. Because of this, most exchange counters at major airports and hotel chains will offer very poor exchange rates, which means you could get ripped off and end up with less money in your pocket.
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Instead, plan ahead and think about which travel money options will suit your family. Whether it’s locking in a favourable exchange rate and grabbing your foreign cash early or opting for a travel money credit card, do some research to see which options will support your spending needs.
4) Use your plastic responsibly
This means saying “no” to impulse spending, increasing your credit card limits and having multiple credit cards. Being smart with your credit card debt could also mean taking out a balance transfer card to reduce your overall interest charges and to get out of debt sooner. A balance transfer allows you to move your outstanding balance(s) onto a new card that usually has a low or 0% interest rate for a specified period of time, which gives you the chance to repay your debt during the interest-free period.
5) As it warms up, shrink your energy costs
With winter behind us, start thinking about how you can be more efficient with your household energy usage. Whether it’s using energy-efficient light bulbs, using a clothesline instead of a dryer or reducing your air conditioning usage, there are many ways you can reduce your energy bill this summer.
You can even save by being smart with your fridge. For example, if you’re thinking of buying a new fridge, consider the size you need. A larger fridge will require more energy to keep it cool, so make sure you select a fridge that’s the right size for your family. Also, check the energy star rating to get an appliance that’s as efficient as possible.
Being a parent can involve many ups and downs, as well as a lot of financial pressure. Simple actions such as being savvy with your rewards credit card or reducing your household energy usage can go a long way in helping you grow your savings. It’s a little bit of effort for a lot of peace of mind.
Bessie Hassan is the Head of PR and a Money Expert for finder.com.au.