Money can be tight at times for everyone, even without a baby, so I thought I would put together this post to share some of the things my family does in order to budget and save as much money as possible. It would be lovely to have some ‘spare’ money and to not have to worry about every single thing you buy, but when the time comes for you have actually NEED to pay for things, all that matters is getting by and doing our best to save.
Firstly, it’s important to know absolutely everything you have to pay for – whether it be weekly or monthly; whatever works for you. Chris and I have made a list of all our outgoings – such as rent, electricity, council tax, weekly shops, fuel, car insurance etc. We know roughly how much the variable costs will come up to, so round the figures off to make things easier.We then calculate how much our incoming money (wages, maternity pay and child benefit) comes to – monthly in our case – and subtract the outgoings from this. More often that not the costs will just be covered, but we also make sure to always have money in our savings account just in case. Both of us are paid weekly so will put a little bit of the money we get straight into savings if possible – and continue to add more as and when we can, just so we have that money either as back up if things get tight – or for bigger purchases.
A really handy idea for saving money is to plan your weekly meals. We started this a month or so back, and have noticed how much cheaper our weekly shops have become now that we aren’t just buying random items and then needing to pop back to the shop a few times during the week when we’ve decided what’s for dinner that day. Most of the time we have meals that can be made to last a couple of days and buy multipacks of things on offer or that can be used more than once. It’s also important to remember that you don’t always need the most expensive, branded foods – more often than not, you don’t notice a difference! There are of course a few things that you’ll just never change, but trying the cheaper options is a great idea because if all else fails – just go back to the one you like.
I also like to bulk buy baby items when I can. I get our Huggies baby wipes in large multipacks from Amazon, and save over £5 by getting 18 packs this way rather than buying them as and when I need them. I use Boots nappies for Archie (and actually prefer them to the more expensive Pampers ones!) and found that his formula is cheaper in the supermarket than it is from Boots, so never buy it from there any more.
I have a clear out of my things now and then, maybe every couple of months, and sell a few bits and pieces I don’t want/need any more. This doesn’t bring in much money – but it’s better than nothing and stops too much clutter building up! I also rarely eat out anymore which has also saved me a huge amount of money. If I do, it’s little things like drinking tap water instead of a fizzy juice that make a difference in saving you some money. Another little thing that makes a difference is to never put a load of washing on if there are only a few bits to be done – just wait until you have a full basket! Doing the dishes at the end of the day instead of all throughout will also save money spent on hot water, so as long as you can deal with a few plates and mugs piling up on the side it’s a great option.
Prioritising your money is 100% necessary when it comes to saving. I used to buy things I didn’t need ALL the time – clothes, makeup, homeware – but now know that I have obligations and things that must be paid before I even consider spending on other things. More often that not now if I have any spare money, it gets spent on Archie instead of me anyway! Of course, it is important to treat yourself now and again – I’m going on a girly weekend in a couple of weeks and fully intend on having a stress free, fun time – but will never spend more than I can afford. Experiences and memories are so much more important to keep than a new coat or pair of heels, so I’m more than happy to spend time with my favourite people without having to break the bank.