June is Family Finance Month on our frugal planner…
We are finishing off our look at insurances, and as I start writing the next batch of ideas about how to balance the books at home (cleaning – ugh), I was saddened to learn of a family at our school that have a poorly little one, I gave our best wishes etc – and it struck me that our little family is in no way financially covered for needing to be off work if the kids have a long term illness or hospital stay… Critical illness cover usually means that if the person earning is too ill to work a payment will be made – but what if the person earning is ok, but needs to stay in hospital with their child?
I’ve been speaking to the lovely, helpful and well-informed Louise at AJProtect about what parents may need to think about when discussing the insurance needs of the whole family. It was an eye-opening conversation!
- Families need to have some Life Insurance so that if one parent dies, there is enough money for the surviving person to care for the children, pay the bills and keep the house running. This means that even non-earning parents need cover – as without them so many tasks would have to be paid for!
- Critical Illness cover CAN include your children up to age 17. Any payout will depend on what’s wrong – but the main ‘core’ illnesses are usually covered. For example, in the Vitality Life plan, a payout of between £5000-£25000 would be included.
- There is also something called Income Protection, when you are signed off from work you can claim 60% of your gross pay as a monthly income until you are fit to return to work. As the illness of a child means you may well be signed off with stress – this cover is also worth considering for parents. It would also be an important one to consider should a parent become ill as the bills still need to be paid…
Looking carefully at your family finances isn’t always a very comfortable conversation – but is certainly one of the most important ones you can have as a family. We have tried to share our experiences and research in the Finances section – we haven’t completed all the work ourselves yet, and working out how to much we can pay for monthly insurances is our next task. When you are responsible for children it suddenly seems so much more important to have a backup plan.
I’ve been talking to Louise as I’ve found her to be on my wave-length, it’s a good option to discuss things with a professional when you’re ready. You can find someone via your bank or building society, via your employer or look online. If you are in the UK and want to talk to Louise you can contact her at AJ Protect 01473 35 15 85 or tweet her @ajprotectltd.
It’s been a much calmer week all round, and so ‘we’ have started to consider what we are buying for Christmas and lists have been created – presents, food, cards etc. One strategy we use is to stick to one supermarket and use their points scheme, this means we have a nice sum to use for our Christmas Treat Foods.
A new strategy is to use TopCashBack for items we buy online (we also order things via this for family and friends). I am totally amazed by how much we have saved over the year by using TopCashBack and when I was checking how to actually get the money out I realised that you can get an extra 6% more money FOR FREE by having your money on a shop card instead of straight to your bank. This could be used as a gift card for someone, or in a shop we are likely to be getting presents from anyway – with four kids every penny counts.
One great way to support local business people is to shop locally, particularly in the run up to Christmas. I will be doing a post about that in more detail next week, but here I wanted to focus on the great power of holding a ‘party’ at home and inviting one or more local sellers to come along.
These are usually very informal gatherings that are useful on lots of levels
- your friends get to meet up for a day/night out,
- they get to shop easily without queues and carrying heavy bags,
- they also get more unusual gifts or discounts,
- The benefit of being the host is that you will either get a ‘thank you’ gift, or a heavy discount on your own purchases, as well as the loveliness of having friends over for a catch up.
We have done this to support local businesses with lots of mutual benefits, those people have become lasting contacts and it’s a really nice way to shop. There are loads of different parties you can host, from cosmetics, kitchen wares, books and clothes. Our favourites are Phoenix Trading and Arbonne both offer a very personal service, have great products and people really enjoy seeing and buying them.
Just to prove I’m not the only person banging on about reusing mugs, or using recycled products, here is The Guardian showcasing the argument for coffee shops (you know who I mean…) being more green. However, we can all make an individual difference too, but recycling our cups or taking our own – and yes, this is going to be another photo of my own re-using mug as I love it sooooo much.
Another great recycling project, this time with old but loved t-shirts. Sometimes you just can’t throw them away, and here are some fun ideas of how to give them a second life. This is particularly nice with kids clothes that they have grown out of, or loved items that have been worn until holes appeared…
Show me your makes!
Whether you ‘do’ Halloween or not, this is a fun project to recycle some good ol’ toilet rolls – as you may have noticed, we keep all of ours to use all year round – we love bats and have a bat box on the house so you don’t have to link it to the end of October if you don’t want to…
I’m aware that the exhaustion of parenting has somewhat changed my creative habits, I rarely do creative works for myself nowadays, although I’m often up to my neck in PVA and tissue paper for the kids. I miss the part of me that used to upcycle and recycle more, so I was particularly inspired by this…
This is a brilliant example of reusing and recycling to meet a real need. Jess used some old shoes boxes, cereal packs and the jolly old loo roll tubes to make a truly unique and practical pen holder. Covered in wrapping paper and some stickers it is a bespoke item – costing nothing but saving a fortune. It took me back to my childhood Blue Peter projects, many of which I made and some of which I think are still in my parents loft!
Jess is creative on many more levels, so if you want to pay her a visit and
feel inspired by beautiful things, give her a ‘hello’ from here x
The school holidays are upon us, and we now have four kids eating us out of house and home… quick fixes are lots of home baking (double whammy of cheap AND entertainment) and Approved Foods, who sell off near to and out of date foods. We have just ordered enough food for snacks etc to last the whole of the holidays, all in date until the end of August for less than one lunch out for us all!
I’ve been pondering how very many things I WANT – don’t need, just want.
While I think it’s important that life if full of beautiful unnecessary things to be enriched, I can see the practical side of leaving some things in the shop to be enjoyed by someone else (great positive re-framing there!). Not only is this good for my impulse control practice, but is also a great money saving technique.
I’m working on trying to consider what I will do with an item, what other things I could use that money for, what I will feel if I leave it for someone else… it’s a bit mindfulness and a bit frugal. It feels more of a choice than a strict budget imposed from someone mean – I’ll let you know how it goes…
Just squeaking this in with 20 minutes to spare!
We have Movie Night every Friday, so to save spending money on new DVD’s (we’ve already seen what the library has to offer), we now do swaps with friends. We have movies they haven’t seen and vice versa, it’s really nice if you add a little star rating and a few notes, or wrap it up so its a complete surprise.
Now to find one for tomorrow!