Everyone knows that being a parent is expensive. Nappies, nursery furniture, food bills, utility bills, school uniforms, days out, birthdays – it all adds up, so we spoke to Emily Leary, parenting and family blogger about tips and tricks that shave a little off the cost of living….

Five ways to trim to the family monthly bills:

Make soup, not waste.

In most family’s fridges lurk vegetables that have seen better days and are headed for the trash. Stop! Wash, peel and chop, simmer in stock over a medium heat until soft, attack with the stick blender, add a few dollops of cream, yoghurt or crème fraiche and season to taste. Voila! A family meal from something you were going to throw away.

Plan your meals.

Sitting down and planning what dinners you’ll eat as a family for the week can result in huge savings as you only buy what you need from the supermarket and you use it all before it goes off. It’s also a great way to ensure you all eat healthily every day of the week.

Haggle ’til you save.

Some people think that haggling is a thing of the past or something reserved for market stalls and antique shops. It isn’t. You can save money on everything from electrical items to broadband bills by simply asking for a better deal. Try it – you might just be surprised.

Picnics aren’t just for park visits.

On days out, take a packed lunch with you, even if you’re heading to the cinema, museum or swimming pool. That way, you can sit down after your adventure (on a bench, on the grass, in the car, on the train home) and enjoy lunch together, without spending a fortune in the overpriced cafe.

Always have a free Plan B.

Research a list of free and low cost venues and activities and have them handy in your bag all the time. That way, if you decide on an impromptu treat after a trip to the dentist or between school pickups, you can go ahead without making too big a dent in your bank balance.

Well-known writer and presenter, Emily is fronting the first ever dedicated parenting channel from a money-saving website.  The series of parenting and lifestyle videos, hosted on a dedicated YouTube channel include areas such as upcycling, cutting the cost of utility bills, affordable healthy eating and how to entertain children during school holidays on a budget.

For more tips and advice visit Emily on her blog A Mummy Too