Managing Your Large Family’s budget, is quite a tricky skill, especially as the kids become adults.
A recent study has shown that boomerang kids are good for family relationships and parents are keen to welcome them back home and help them find their feet. However, this can be tricky when you are also juggling the needs of a large family and the increasing costs involved as the rest of your children begin to hit adulthood. Whether your older kids are looking at prospective universities, taking a year out or coming back home to take stock after graduating, your family’s budget will need to evolve to keep up with their different needs.
Involve the whole family
Although the majority of parents think it is their responsibility to teach their children about money, one in six still doesn’t feel confident about it. One of the best ways to manage your family’s money effectively is to get the whole family involved. Don’t be afraid of explaining how the household budget works, chatting about making cutbacks and discussing the price of everyday items. As well as helping you all to save money, pointing out the cost of leaving the lights on, taking them food shopping with you and cooking economical meals together are all great preparation for the first time your kids are handling their own finances once they leave college.
Encourage financial independence
The teenage years are full of landmark events such as the first school trip away from home, preparing for Prom and learning to drive, all of which require extra money. Saving early for these events will help ease the financial burden and you can encourage your kids to do the same. Most banks offer bonds, ISAs and regular savings accounts with attractive interest rates for under 18’s, so helping your children open accounts with their pocket money, birthday gifts or earnings from a part-time job is an efficient way for them to save and potentially make a significant amount of interest.
Benefits and bursaries
Even with savings, finances can sometimes be tight. Make sure you are receiving child benefit and apply for child tax credit if you think you are eligible. These benefits can continue up to the age of 19 for students who stay in education or training and can be a real help if you are struggling to cover the cost of all your children’s needs. If you are on a larger income you will probably be expected to contribute to your child’s higher education but, as well as applying for student loans, it’s still worth encouraging your kids to look into bursaries, grants, and scholarships, some income-dependent but others based on merit, that may be available for the courses they wish to take.
Bringing up a big family is great fun and presents a steady stream of milestones over many years. Being prepared for all these exciting transitions will help make them less financially challenging and more enjoyable for all the family.