The other night we watched our eldest son receive his official GCSEs certificate at a school presentation. Quite a milestone. It hit home that all of a sudden, the little lad who we walked to primary school only 5 minutes ago it seems, is now a young man, wearing a suit to 6th form and thinking about future studies/career options.
He was just 3 years old when we moved into our current house and since then, property prices have kept rising. I’ve been thinking about finances a lot recently; the cost of living, the cost of further education and whether my boys will ever be in a position to afford their own home. I’ll admit it is a little scary – not least the fact that they may never move out!
Seriously though, I wonder whether he (and our two younger boys) will ever be able to save enough for a deposit. He doesn’t yet know what he wants to do, but whatever it is many jobs these days do not allow people the chance to buy their own place – the gulf between earnings and property prices is so vast.
Hopefully we as parents may be able to help out financially in the future, if we downsize or move to a cheaper area. Checking something like this handy online calculator is a good way to keep a track of how property value has increased.
All I want is for my son to be prepared for the realities of life and to help him as much as possible with financial planning. These are some of the things I can share that may help him have a chance of branching out and buying a home of his own one day:
The Importance of Budgeting
I’ve learned from experience that without a budget, things go awry. It’s easy to end up living beyond your means and then it’s difficult to get back on track. Setting a budget ensures all the important priority bills get covered in the first place, then you can decide what to do with whatever is left.
Consider having a ‘Side Hustle’
Lots of people these days survive by doing a regular day job, but also having something on the side that earns them some extra income.
Being a barista in a coffee shop or doing bar work might be options for him while he is young. Or when he hopefully secures a career, setting up and running a small business on the side might be beneficial. If you have a hobby you enjoy doing, it’s a good idea to consider turning it into a profitable venture. In my son’s case, he enjoys playing tennis so if he set about getting a coaching qualification, he could teach classes in the evenings or at the weekend. If it’s something you enjoy doing anyway, it doesn’t really feel like work.
As a mum of boys, I know only too well how much of our budget can go on food! Lads are very hungry (pretty much all the time) and need filling up with hearty food. I want my son to be equipped with good basic meal prepping skills so he can rustle up dishes that don’t cost a lot to make and will satisfy his appetite. Chilli and rice, jacket potatoes, curries, one pot wonders etc. are all healthy and cheap. It also means he can shop more sensibly if he plans ahead so there should be less food waste, overspending and time spent! If he gets into the habit of making a packed lunch for work as well, rather than buying meal deals, he will save a lot over, say, six months or a year.
Cutting the cost of travel
A lot of budget can be swallowed up in travel expenses. Depending on where you work and live, sometimes it is unavoidable to use a car or public transport, but if there’s an option to cycle to work or walk – or lift share with someone – I would encourage him to look at that. Also to seek out travel discounts wherever possible, for example over the next few years he could benefit from having a student rail card.
If my eldest can become savvy in all these aspects and more, I won’t feel as worried for him and his financial future.