Start Saving on Family Transport

start saving on family transport - family driving in car image

Image from Flickr

When you have a family, getting everyone around can be tricky. It’s especially hard when you have babies or toddlers, who require a lot of stuff. In the car, you need to have everyone in car seats, unless they’re tall enough or old enough not to have one. And when you use public transport, keeping track of everyone can be nerve-wracking. One of the trickiest parts of family transport is the cost. Running a car can be expensive, but relying on public transport often is too. And when you go abroad, it can get costly too. If you want to reduce the costs of family transport, there are a few tricks you can use.

Look Into Family Discounts on Public Transport

Many families use public transport for both long and short journeys. You might not own a car, or you don’t want to drive in congested areas. Having the kids in the car when you’re stuck in traffic isn’t fun. You can use buses and trains and in some places trams and underground trains too. The great thing is, kids usually go free up to a certain age. Children under five are often free, while those older (usually up to 16) are often half price. There are also offers you can use to save, such as a Family and Friends Railcard, which allows up to four adults and four children to travel together.

Reduce the Costs of Running Your Car

Having a car makes things a lot easier for many families. However, with the costs of tax, insurance, petrol, and maintenance, they can get expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the cost of your car. One of the major expenses is insurance, and you can often find a better deal than the one you’re currently paying for. It’s a good idea to use a comparison tool, like the one on Money Expert’s website. You can look at different providers side by side and find the one that will work best for you. You could also reduce the cost of your car by taking good care of it, helping to reduce maintenance costs.

Walk and Cycle More

Are you guilty of piling everyone into the car when you could walk or cycle somewhere instead? You might think it’s quicker to drive, but getting everyone in and out of the car could take a lot longer than walking to wherever you’re going. If it’s a short distance, a stroll could get you where you’re going in a few minutes. When it’s a bit longer, everyone could get their bike out. Little ones can go in bicycle seats or trailers attached to the back of adult bikes.


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Image from Wikimedia

Share Rides with Others

There are several opportunities you might have to share a car with friends, family or other parents. You don’t always need to take the whole family with you when you go somewhere, so taking your half-empty car can seem silly. Perhaps you’re taking one of the kids to a birthday party, and you can team up with a classmate’s parent. Sharing trips can be useful for the school run too, or perhaps you can carpool when you go to work. There’s no need to take the car all the time if it’s just you or you only have one passenger.

Condense Your Car Trips

Another thing that could be costing you more in petrol is taking lots of little car trips. Instead of popping to the shops for ten minutes every day, why not condense everything into one trip? You can often get away with only doing one shop every fortnight, perhaps with a top-up visit to more local shops in between. If you have something you need to do that doesn’t need to be done right away, you could wait until you have another errand to run. Then you can do both at the same time, instead of making two separate trips. You can also do things on the way to doing something else, like picking up the kids.

Skip the Shopping Trips

You can also try skipping the shopping trips altogether. Online shopping will get you just about anything these days, from milk to new clothes. Shopping with the kids isn’t much fun anyway, and it’s not always easy to find time to do it without them. You can often get free delivery when you shop online, and when you do have to pay, you can get it fairly cheap. For example, if you do your food shop online, it might only cost a pound to get it delivered during a quiet time.

You can save on your family’s transport costs with some clever tricks. It’s an important part of your budget, so seeing how you can cut the expenses is essential.

Setting A Good Example When It Comes To Finances

Taking care of your finances is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Being lackadaisical with the money that you have will only leave you in sticky situations, such as in debt or worse, bankrupt. Another crucial thing to think about, is how your family handle their finances. You can tell your kids all you like about how to save money or becoming financially smart, but at the end of the day, they are going to learn from what you do. Kids will always pay more attention to what you do, rather than what you say. You must set a good example when it comes to your finances. Here’s how to do it.

Start Early

Starting as early as possible ensures your kids develop the right attitude towards money is important. You can do this by making sure you use your money responsibly. It’s no use starting when they are teenagers, as they pick a lot of it up when they are very young.

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When You Do Talk About Money, Know How To Talk About It Properly

When you talk to your kids about money, make sure you know how to talk about it properly. You should be open with them about what you’re doing with your money, and give them advice on what to do with theirs when they have it. Speaking to them about it like adults is important. Try not to discuss money in a negative way, as many people do. Although money isn’t everything, a positive attitude towards money will help them later on in life.

Give Them Pocket Money And Encourage Them To Save/Spend Wisely

Give your kids a set amount of pocket money and encourage them to save and spend wisely. Make sure you encourage them to develop a savings habit early on. When they want to buy something, let them work out how much it will cost and whether it’s worth it.

Live Below Your Means

So many people spend more than they earn and end up in debt. It’s up to you to show your family how to manage their finances by living below your means. This means spending less than you actually earn, in short.

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Plan Your Purchases
Planning your purchases rather than buying on impulse sets a really good example to your family. You should know you’re going to buy something a few weeks in advance so you can adjust your finances accordingly. Never buy something without mulling it over properly first, as the novelty can quickly wear off and you end up being a consumer for the sake of it. Act like you have to wait for a check to cash. Although, you can get them taken care of pretty quickly these days. See this link for more references.

Try Not To Use Credit For Non Emergencies

Credit can be useful, but using it for non emergencies can be a bad idea. You could potentially end up in debt with a lot of interest to pay, and kids usually pick up their parent’s spending habits. Unless you have an emergency or it makes sense to use your credit for whatever reason, steer clear. Don’t spend money you haven’t got.

A Quarter Of Parents Say It’ll Be Easier For Their Kids To Get Into Debt

A third of parents believe their children will be less equipped to deal with their finances than they are

Despite the credit crunch and the focus on finances the nation’s parents admit they are still worried about whether the next generation will be able to manage their own money, a new study* by M&S Money reveals today.

The research shows that a quarter of mums and dads around the country say despite the more cautious financial environment we’re now in it will still be easier for their kids to get into debt than it was for them and a third think their children will be less able to manage their money than they are.

Almost one in five (19%) say their children will be ill equipped to understand and deal with their own finances as there is simply too much jargon to wade through and not enough practical guidance in schools. 

Despite this almost a third of parents believe that imparting their own experiences can help their children learn and improve their chances.  They are confident that by being more open, than their own parents were with them, and integrating finance into the school syllabus, their children are more likely to be able to cope with the challenges of their personal finances.  A fifth of today’s parents said that their mothers or fathers had the most influence over how they manage their own personal finances.

M&S Money works with the DebtCred financial literacy project, which was established as a charity in 2003.  The primary aim of DebtCred is to prepare school pupils for university life or employment by educating about the sensible use of credit, personal financial management and the hazards of overindebtedness.  Employee volunteers from M&S Money deliver financial literacy presentations to high school students in the Cheshire region. 

Colin Kersley, Chief Executive of M&S Money, said: “Having been through one of the most complicated couple of years for family finances the importance of getting things right for the future has never been more important.  Too many of today’s parents are not yet confident about the nation’s efforts to improve financial awareness and ability for the next generation. 

“Providing practical guidance in schools as well as offering simple and transparent products is really important. The goal that our children will be more able to handle their own finances is worthwhile and one that industry, consumers and Government must work on together.”