I’ve always been terrible with money – I stupidly overspent in my early twenties and as a result I’ve ended up with loans and monthly payments to keep up.
We’ve taken a huge look at our monthly spending recently and have tried to find ways to not overspend and to keep our bills as low as possible. As a family of two adults, a child and two pets it’s not cheap to live and we are massively living outside our means.
We rent our house for £725 a month which is cheap for our area but it’s still £725 a month we pay for something that isn’t our own. The main reason we want to budget better and spend is less is so eventually we can buy our own house, that is our end goal.
We’ve looked at a few options such as Help to Buy, which is definitely an option for us in time. We’ve also looked at price comparison websites for mortgage and financial advice and to get a sense of how much money we would need to buy our own house. There are lots of websites for quick property finance; it all depends on your preferences as to which you go for.
We currently have a joint account that our rent and bills come out of; plus our own personal current accounts – we’ve decided to open another simple bank account with two debit cards solely for essentials such as food, petrol and anything else we spend weekly. The reason? We currently have a standing order set to transfer £100 to me each Monday; to cover essentials as I’m the stay-at-home parent predominantly. The issue with this? I often ask my husband to pop to the shop on the way home and grab a few bits which soon adds up – a separate account would prevent this issue and hopefully reduce our spends.
Let’s be honest – to get the best possible price on food shopping you’d need to shop in every supermarket which isn’t possible. Our local supermarket is Lidl and I used to be a huge fan of shopping once a week; which led to lots of food waste and ultimately wasted pennies. I now shop every two to three days; only buying what we need and this has made a huge difference waste wise. I also buy single items(such as fruit and vegetables) as opposed to big packs for maybe three times the price. Farm shops are another good place to go – fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat can work out cheaper and often better quality.
Using our legs
We have one car; which I use daily for work, school runs and just about everything else and it’s not cheap to run. With fuel costing around £1.32(June 2018) per litre it can be expensive and hard to factor into a weekly budget. We try to make adventures out of walks and bus journeys, reducing the car journeys and the cost of running the car by doing just that.
Be food savvy
I’ve spoken about food shopping – I’m a vegetarian and my husband and son eat meat; so meals can work out pricey when trying to feed a family and cater for everyone’s tastes. I try to plan meals that work for all of us – such as I make pasta and rice dishes with mainly vegetable bases and add the meat in later for the boys. Things like dried pasta, rice, passata, chopped tomatoes, baked beans – I could write a whole post about store cupboard staples that are cheap and filling.
During the war
I recently came across a couple of my Nan’s cookbooks from the forties and it’s amazing what you can make with, well, not a lot! Rationing was still very much a thing until the fifties and so housewives had to be thrifty and make the best of what little they had. I’m not saying go and make tongue sandwiches(gag) and rent a plot at the allotment(not a bad idea though), just think about simple meals and try to make as much out of as little as possible.
We have a dog and a cat, who are both very much part of our family but also have to be factored in to our monthly budget. Both animals are insured against accidents and illness plus we have a pet plan with our local vet that means we get 20% off the dog’s food(she has the vet food, long story) and flea and worm treatments plus yearly vaccinations are covered. The price of paying out for everything versus paying for the plan is almost double so is well worth doing. Pet insurance can greatly vary in price, it’s well worth looking around for the best deals.
We have lots to be thinking about moving forward – it may not seem like a lot but every penny we save is a penny closer to our homeowner dreams!
**This is a collaborative post**