ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE IN ASSOCIATION WITH VAUXHALL

INSPIRED IDEAS: Fiona Harrold, LIFE COACH

Planning for the future

My wife and I have been married for three years now and we've both decided that we're ready (mentally not financially) to start a family. My wife will not return to work after having children as she's always wanted to be a full-time mum and I fully support her decision. Our main concern is that we will lose her salary and we have no substantial savings to fall back on. We've become quite accustomed to living on a fairly decent joint salary and while we know we can't maintain the lifestyle we've been used to, I'm concerned that in the future, I alone will have to feed more than two mouths. Can you suggest any lifestyle changes, or clever budgeting ideas that may help? Matt, 38

Hi Matt, congratulations on your forward thinking. It's really quite unusual to see someone planning for such a life-changing event as having a baby. So, you're way ahead from the start. It's worth bearing in mind that, plan as you might, there's no guarantee that your wife will want to be a stay-athome mum just because it feels right now. But it's great to plan to have that choice rather than feel forced back to work. I think it's far more exciting to think about ways of making money rather than ways to make do with less. It brings out our creative side. Let's think about that first off:

1. Assess your worth. Your most valuable asset, in terms of cash flow, is your “earning ability.” You could lose everything you own – your house, your car – but as long as you still had your earning ability, you could make it all back and more. Take stock of your unique talents and abilities. Your job is to identify your special areas of uniqueness and then to commit yourself to becoming an expert in those areas.

2. Money-making opportunities are everywhere. Now is the time to get thinking about turning some of you and your wife's combined wisdom and “earning ability” into a money-making idea, in addition to your salaried jobs. This can be a joint project that you research and begin now in your spare time that can be managed and monitored without too much hands-on involvement, that gives you both the flexibility to do as little or as much as you want, and that generates extra income. This could be anything from a cleaning company, dog-walking agency, book-keeping service... whatever you can set up easily, imaginatively and can be run from home and in the evenings.

3. Plan for two pay rises! Now that you're aware of your stock and its value, figure out how you can offer additional benefits to your company in order to get not one, but two promotions and pay rises in as short a time as possible. Think about adding to their bottom line so that your increase is entirely justified. This is the time to get ambitious and move up that ladder two rungs at a time.

4. Where does your money go? Calculate EXACTLY what your monthly expenditure is. List EVERYTHING. Overestimate if you are not sure. Knowing what you spend and how you spend per month is one of the most useful pieces of information you can have. Decide where you can cut costs painlessly, leaving less of a shortfall for you to make up without your wife's salary.

5. Curb your consumerism. The culture of earning more to spend more just doesn't add up. And buying more stuff to store, tidy and take care of adds to the chores. A simpler, pared-down life is much more refined and desirable. Think before you buy. Do you really need it or really want it or are you being persuaded that you do? Watch your motivation. Buy less and buy better. A connoisseur doesn't surround himself with masses of cheap tat from thirdworld sweatshops, but carefully chosen objects that he cherishes and passes on to the next generation.

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Sport
football
News
i100
Life and Style
Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

    £120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

    Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

    £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness