Married with kids? Follow these savings tips.
Getting married is expensive. Being married is expensive. Kids are even more expensive.
We all see the pattern here.
Life is expensive, and you want to save money where you can.
Once you have kids, skipping out on certain expenses can seem appealing—why pay for more car insurance when that can go towards a babysitter?—but it doesn’t always make sense. It’s just about finding areas where you can save, especially in the long run.
In this article, we’ll break down how to save on those expenses you can’t avoid.
Where Did My Money Go?
If you find yourself asking that question at the end of every month, you’re not alone. From coast to coast, the average Canadian debt sits around $23,800, not including mortgages.
And it’s not to shame anybody! Managing money is hard (if it was easy, there would be no debt!) and it’s something to continually work at. And when kids become a part of the mix, it gets even trickier. After all, who doesn’t want to spoil their little ones?
But as a way to offset this debt, it’s important to check in on your spending and to see where you can cut back, even on things you have to buy.
If you’re starting to sweat your insurance expenses, here’s what you need to know to start saving immediately.
Tip #1: Look at the Future Today
Believe it or not, life happens whether you’re thinking about tomorrow or ignoring it.
When you take the time to plan ahead, you’ll actually be able to save more money without the typical stress tied to it.
Think of it this way. You’re celebrating your daughter’s sweet sixteen when you realize that means college or university is just around the corner. You’re proud, of course, but the price tag probably crossed your mind.
You knew this day would come. But not this fast. And along the way, more pressing expenses came up. Now you have to start saving a lot quickly, and that might throw your current budget completely out of whack.
This mentality of planning ahead can be applied to a lot of big purchases around children, including:
- Education: We touched on this above, but you want to start saving right away. Small and steady payments throughout your child’s life will be less stressful than scrambling to save a lot in a shorter amount of time.
- Housing: You may want to contribute to your child’s future home, whether that’s through first and last month’s rent or support on a down payment.
- Car: Whether they’re inheriting one of your old cars or getting a used or new one, this can be expensive. If you know you’ll want your child to be able to have their own wheels (or inherit yours and you get new wheels) put aside a little whenever you can, versus buying all at once
- Activities: Do you have the next Serena Williams, Picasso, or Albert Einstein on your hands? Chances are, your child will have some hobbies they want to try out.
And these are some of the extras! Keep in mind that you’ll still have day to day expenses around your children, like childcare, food, and clothes, that you’ll want to regularly consider.
While nobody wants to consider this part of the future, you’ll also want to look at a future where you aren’t around to take care of your child. You may be in perfect health, but life insurance is a purchase you make because you’re looking at the future. You get to do something today that protects your kids tomorrow.
Remember, the future happens whether you’re prepared or not. So you’ll want to really sit down and prepare for it—it’s better to face it than be caught off guard (or even worse, your child be forced to face it because you didn’t).
Tip #2: Compare Prices on Necessities
There’s a reason you check the price tag, compare prices at stores, and look for deals online – you don’t want to pay more than you have to on things you need.
Whether it’s a big thing, like home insurance or a new car, or something smaller, like clothes or toys, you’ll want to see where you can find the best deals.
Think of it this way. How often do you book the first hotel or flight you find? Probably never, because you know you need to compare prices.
And more times than not, you or your broker end up finding a better deal than your original quote.
You don’t want to get locked into a bad deal that ends up costing you.
Tip #2.5: Keep Your Record Clean
Okay, this may be more like “additional context” to the above tip, but it’s important to call this out.
When it’s within your control, do what you can to keep the price of necessities down.
When you were young, how many times did your parents remind you to “drive safely, because an accident will impact your insurance?” Enough times that you probably don’t want to hear it again, but they were right!
Let’s look at car insurance. You’ve found the best price, but a year or two later you end up in an accident. You aren’t badly hurt (the most important thing!) but you might be at fault. In most cases, there will be repercussions regarding your car insurance—hello higher premiums! Making the extra effort to drive safely can save you literally thousands of dollars.
Some insurers even offer rewards that improve your rates after a certain amount of time with a clean record! It pays to be safe.
The same logic can be applied to life insurance, which is hugely important to invest in once you have kids. If you smoke, or if skydiving is your biggest hobby, your premiums would be higher each month
Keeping your record clean is two-fold in this sense. Not only does it help save money, but it also keeps you safe and healthy for your kids.
And being around for them? Arguably the most important thing you can do.
Tip #3: Avoid Purchases You Don’t Need
A big way to save on having kids? Make sure you’re avoiding purchases you don’t actually need for them.
And this isn’t to say you shouldn’t buy them fun things every once in a while. If it’s within your budget, you absolutely should
However, it’s easy to get caught up in buying everything your child may ever want. Who doesn’t want what seems the best for their child? But, realistically, what is best for your child? Saving money to take care of their long-term needs, or granting them every small purchase?
And a lot of the purchases you may feel that you need to make for your child, you really don’t.
For example, a lot of people feel they need to buy life insurance for their children, in the absolute worst case scenario something happens to them. It seems like a no brainer!
However, a life insurance policy for your child is really just spending money on something you absolutely do not need. Life insurance should really only be purchased for somebody who has people depending on them financially, like a child or elderly parent. At this point, you child does not have that. You wouldn’t be left with expenses or debt if something happened.
Don’t saddle yourself with expenses that truly aren’t necessary.
Tip #4: Regularly Revisit Your Expenses
The things that cost you money are going to change as your child grows. For example, you won’t be worrying about the cost of daycare once they get to public school, and you probably won’t be losing sleep over the cost of diapers while your child walks the stage at eighth grade graduation!
Regularly checking your budgeting and expenses is a huge part of financial responsibility normally, but it becomes even more important at a stage of life where things seem to change overnight.
You’ll also want to revisit to see where you’re overspending on insurance products. For example, 36% of Canadians are overpaying on life insurance every month. That’s money that you should still have in your account. Regularly check in with your insurance providers that you’re getting the best price on your insurance products.
The same price concern happens with car insurance and home insurance. Make sure you’re checking averages for your hometown so you aren’t paying above what you should—and keep in mind there is some variety between towns! If you move, for example, you’ll want to revisit your rates.
There’s no denying it: your overall expenses will go up when you have a child, but with some careful planning (and consideration of what expenses actually are important), you’ll be able to rake in the insurance savings!
PolicyMe is a rapidly growing insurtech startup making life insurance simpler and more affordable for everyone who needs it. PolicyMe's online platform provides a digital experience for customers to navigate the entire insurance buying process, helping Canadians get personalized advice, compare quotes and apply for life insurance in just a few clicks.
The company was founded by Andrew Ostro, Laura McKay and Jeff McKay in 2018, and is based in Toronto, Canada.
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