My daughters made me money-savvy

Fellow parents, children are expensive. I know this, so do you and it's an undeniable and indisputable fact.

Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 6:00 am

From the start parents have to acquire a whole new raft of baby equipment such as buggies, car seats and baby feeding bottles.

Then, of course, there are the ongoing costs of being in charge of a small human life that you brought into the world. Nappies, wipes, clothes, etc.

These days with my daughters at five and six years old, it seems I’m often diving into my wallet for money to pay for a school trip, new shoes or even two pounds to pay for non-school uniform day. Then, as they get older, there are many things they need, or should I say want, such as electronics and toys at Christmas and birthdays.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But since becoming a dad I’ve become savvier when it comes to money. You have to. And I’ve realised two things. It is so easy to throw away money yet it is so easy to save it too.

I often give myself a money makeover and look at all my outgoings to see if it’s possible to get what I’m paying for for less.

What has surprised me is how easy this is to do and how much money there is to be saved.

For example I looked at my mobile phone bill to see how much of my allowances I’m actually using.

Did I really need unlimited minutes and texts and so much data? It became clear pretty quickly the answer was no, so I reduced my allowances and reduced my monthly cost at the same time.

I also looked at my utility bills. Switching energy suppliers saved me a few hundred pounds per year and getting rid of the television channels I don’t watch gave me the same result. Along with not going to the nearest petrol station but finding the cheapest instead, and unplugging devices when they are not being used. There is so much money to be saved.

When it comes to the children I can use that money saved for a family day out.

There are plenty of attractions in the Portsmouth area that give great value for money. But then, the money-savvy side of me will check online to see if there are any money-off vouchers available or even if it is cheaper to book online.

But I could do do even better and take them to a place that won’t cost me a penny – the local park. I’m not yet a money-saving expert, just a money-saving dad.

We’ve run out of room for toys

Through Christmases and birthdays both my daughters have accumulated a lot of toys.

At just five and six years they have, quite frankly, too many toys.

In fact, we’re running out of space to store them all.

The toy boxes are full, the shelves are full and we are running out of room under the beds.

It’s about time we had a sort-out and some of the broken toys make their way to the bin and some of the working unused toys given to charity.

I also question sometimes if the time and money spent by Father Christmas, family and friends on these toys was really worth it.

This happened recently when a delivery arrived for me in a large box. Once the contents were removed both my daughters proceeded to use this box as a toy.

It became a hiding place, a doll’s bed and a mode of transport around the living room. The cardboard box literally brought hours of fun.

But eventually it had to go in the bin. There was just no room for it.