Over the last few years we've noticed that the cost of toys across many retail websites, and in shops, see a marked increase as Christmas approaches, and worse than that, stock availability is often poor during the festive season. Sometimes the price of individual items rises, in other instances, special offers that were available in earlier parts of the year disappear in the run-up to Christmas.
Our advice is to do your Christmas shopping early. Start looking for genuine bargains over the next few weeks and months. If you know some of the toys or other products that you want to buy then start monitoring their prices now and see if they come into a sale during the autumn.
Shopping early does mean that you could miss the number one Christmas toy, but if that's the only toy that you buy in the run up to Christmas, you can save yourself, quite literally, hundreds of pounds.
The New Year sales offer a great opportunity to stock up on birthday presents for the coming year. The only downside is that you need space to store everything until birthdays arrive, but if you have a cupboard out of the way, you can make dramatic savings.
It is estimated that the cohort of students starting university this autumn will leave with debts of £25,000 - whether you want your little ones to go to university or not, there are plenty of other expenses that you can start saving for as soon as they are born!
Bringing up children costs money; yes there are shortcuts that you can take, you don't have to go on the most glamorous foreign holidays or buy the most expensive clothes, but by planning for the future and putting a little money aside each month, you can build up a fund to help towards their future. You may want to save towards their first car, their wedding, university education or their first house.
Child Trust Funds were a good starting point to encourage parents to start saving for their children. Unfortunately these are being axed, but there's nothing to stop you opening a savings account and making a monthly contribution no matter how small. After a few years you will have a fund that anyone should be grateful for, or that you can use to cover some of the more significant costs that might come your way!