Jack Monroe bestselling author of Cooking on a Bootstrap
The Money Charity estimates that it costs an average of £24.44 per day for a couple to raise a child from birth to the age of 18 – which rises to £29.50 for a single parent family. Compared to two-parent households, many single parents face the double challenge of higher costs and a lower income. Here Layla Johnson, Regional Manager at Creditfix give some pertinent advice.
Know your options
It’s vital that you speak to a debt professional who’ll explain what options you have – just speaking to someone feels like a weight off your mind. They’ll help you to prioritise which bills to manage first. Even if you are meeting the monthly repayments on your credit card or loan, a debt solution is still a good option because it means you’ll no longer be paying the high interest.
Plan your meals
A seven-day meal plan can help you reduce waste and avoid last-minute purchases. Keep a check of what’s in your cupboards and freezer and use up what you have already to keep costs down.
You’ll find plenty of easy budget family recipes online – such as Jack Monroe’s Cooking on a Bootstrap. The food poverty campaigner uses widely available ingredients, and always includes the portion prices. If you’re really struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to a food bank – that’s what they’re there for.”
Check your benefits
Always check you are claiming all the benefits you’re eligible for, plus any grants linked to them. Vulnerable households may, for instance, be able to get support for making their homes warmer and more energy efficient. Check out the Ofgem website for further details.
Be creative when it comes to family activities. One of our clients told us that she and her family enjoy a ‘fakeaway night’ every Friday with board games and food bought from the supermarket. It brings everyone together and is a good distraction from buying takeaway food.
Lower cost childcare
Private nurseries are expensive – but there are cheaper options such as council-run playgroups and play schemes. Low-income households should be able to claim support for childcare costs but try to expand your friendship groups too. You’ll often find many parents in a similar situation to you, and who might be willing to share school drop-offs and pick-ups.