I am terrible with money. As soon as it hits my bank account I can think of a million things I don’t really need, and I’m worse now as a mum because I’m hit with the overwhelming urge to buy toys and clothes for the little man.
But I have managed to rein in my spending within the last year or so – I work two days a week and I have around £100 a week to feed us, clothe us and fuel the car. It sounds like a lot but it doesn’t go very far, especially when buying food and household products. Living is expensive!
So I’ve come up with five tips to rein in your spending and stick to a budget, and not lose out!
- Paid monthly? Break it down
My wages and all money in gets paid into a bank account I don’t hold a card for – in my case it’s our joint account. I then set up a standing order which transfers a set amount over to my personal account every Monday. So I have £100 a week and I can’t spend the rest of the months money.
2. Shop around
I try to shop as cheaply as possible and prices differ depending on where you shop. There is also nothing worse than buying fresh fruit and veg and it being rubbish quality. I tend to do a freezer shop once a month, a regular shop for essentials in Asda or Tesco every couple of weeks and my fresh stuff I buy weekly from my local Lidl or farm shop. Cheap doesn’t have to mean rubbish!
3. Points mean prizes
Most supermarkets offer a points system and as much as it’s a scheme to get you to spend and return it can work in your favour – I tend to save my vouchers for Christmas and special occasions such as birthdays.
4. Emergency credit cards
Having a credit card can be helpful – I’ve been caught out by credit cards and debt in the past and as much as they are much feared, as long as you control the use of them they are useful in an emergency. Car repairs is the main one for us – and we always discuss paying it off before we decide to go ahead, they can work well if used sensibly. I’d always recommend looking around for cards with the lowest APR and no hidden catches.
5. Fakeaways and cheat-treats
We love days out and we love takeaways but they are expensive and impossible on a tight budget. Takeaway wise, fake it – you can find lots of recipes online for ‘fakeaways’ and we go the whole hog and make it look like a takeaway too(food can look pretty as well as tasting good). Days out is always a tough one, so I always look at local attractions with reasonably priced yearly tickets. Previously we’ve held an annual ticket for a castle, this year it’s a local heritage farm. And once we are there we spend nothing – we take a packed lunch and a flask of tea.
What are your money-saving tips? Please share in the comments below!
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*This is a collaborative post. For more information please see my disclosure.**