Return to school piles financial pressure on parents as education costs on the increase School is back in session, but parents are still dealing with all of the financial pressure. With other costs proving just as problematic such as parental contributions and schoolbooks, digital equipment can add up fast too! And now there’s an additional expense for families: increased digital learning which comes at a time when many people struggle due to utility price hikes- some energy providers have even tripled their rates this year alone! Reducing the financial strain for the future A recent survey carried out by a leading insurance company found that one third of parents surveyed believe their financial situation has been negatively affected by COVID-19. New research on the cost in Ireland, shows most parents have had to take loans and borrow money from friends or family for school costs as there is no funding available at all which can be really stressful if you don’t know what else might happen next month with your paycheck because some people just never seem to get ahead! How Can Regular Savings Help Create a Brighter Future? Covid 19 has highlighted the increased financial strain many families are under since the outbreak of this crisis. However, it also shows there is opportunity for people to make some money saving habits sparked by pandemic stick around long term if they plan ahead and put in place good practices now! Top 10: tips to manage your money Find out where your money’s going If you’re like most people, your monthly expenses might be a mystery. Start by looking at all of the places where money goes in order to find out how much is being spent and on what things–and then do something about it! A good place for this kind information would include logging everything that comes out each month (whether cash or card) along with writing down any numbers related so see if they add up correctly after adding together every singe deposit/ withdrawal from checking account + transfers between savings accounts). 2. Don’t ignore small change. If you keep a money journal, remember it’ll only work if you write down everything – even the chocolate and coffee bought with your spare change! Recording all of our spending helps us see how easy those coins can accumulate over time into something big enough to make an impact in someone else’s life or just take up space on our shelves at home where they’re not needed anymore. 3. Go through your statements. Spend some time going through your statements and highlight any areas where you think is unnecessary. This could be large insurance premiums or a magazine subscription that has no purpose other than just taking up space on bookshelves! Doing something like this may not only help cut down costs, it can also make for better financial decisions moving forward as well because now I know what my weaknesses are so next paycheck if there happens to be one extra euro lying around somewhere at home – voila!, problem solved without even breaking out the calculator (or opening a banking app). 4. Cancel old subscriptions. It’s always a good idea to check your credit card and see what you’re spending on. We all have those subscriptions we don’t use, like gym memberships or TV streaming plans from Netflix or Amazon Prime that are wasting money in the background (literally)! Cancel these if they aren’t necessary for you anymore so as not waste any extra cash each month! 5. Give yourself a money makeover Cut your bills! You need a plan and the resources, so gather together all of those monthly utility expenses such as electricity, gas/oil bill for heating etc., broadband internet access (and maybe even mobile phone) then set yourself an entire week at it – cutting off any special deals during this period just in case they come back around again later on down the line when you’re ready to re-start them. Tackle a different bill by shopping around on comparison websites like Bonkers.ie to see if you could get a better deal. 6. Break any bad habits It’s easy to fall into bad money habits, but you can change that! Take a look at what your spending is like and see if there are any areas that could use some improvement. For instance, stopping by Starbucks every day might not be worth the cost in savings over time- so try cutting back on these types of treats or do without altogether for an even bigger difference each month. Remember: €2 saved today could save you over €700 a year. 7. Draw up a budget Budgets aren’t just for Chancellors. Drawing up a weekly or monthly budget will help you get your finances under control. There are plenty of templates online to get you started, for example the budget planner on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website www.ccpc.ie. 8. Use a money management app Your budgeting app of choice is the key to a more organized life. Choose between Spendee, Money Lover or Expensify and keep track on everything you spend! 9. Start a savings habit Once you’ve started managing your money and cut back on unnecessary outgoings, it is possible for a little bit of extra cash to be left over each month. The smallest amount will add up with time if saved properly! Just get into the habit of putting some funds aside regularly so that savings becomes second nature in no-time at all. 10. Find a good home for those savings Why not open a savings account for your children as soon they are born? Opening an Education Savings Account will allow you to prioritise education costs and be one step ahead in saving up. This way, when those big-kid bills start coming around again (or even before), there should still enough money left over from baby days! The Bottom Line Ireland has a rich and diverse educational system, but it still isn’t free. The costs of education are substantial here in Ireland so we’ve helped parents build up the funds necessary for their children’s future expenses by creating regular monthly savers (which you can do too!). Interested in saving money for the future? Get good advice on how to set your savings goals and plan a budget. Setting aside funds each month will help you when it’s time send their children off into college or university! 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