This week I am talking about how managing our family budget has helped with my mental health as well as talking about what we’ve eaten this week. I have maintained by weightloss but haven’t lost any more, probably because of large meal portions and not enough exercise. I’ve had a few treats but nothing really stands out so. I’ve been using My Fitness Pal to track my calories and I’ve pretty much stuck to them or been under however I think the fat content in some of the food was too high. Here’s my weekly vlog and health update. It includes a shake recipe using vanilla protein powder, talking about Simply Cook meals and mental health wellbeing.
In an effort to save money this year I am trying to cut back on our outgoings. You can take a look at a few of my tips to manage a family budget. So far I’ve cancelled my gym membership as I didn’t use it enough and have opted for walking and following home workouts on YouTube and DVDs that I already own. We’ve also cut out our Now TV entertainment package and Amazon Instant Video/Prime because the selection is rubbish. I’ve also decided to put a stop on my Audible subscription for a little while because there aren’t any new books I really fancy listening to just now and I already have loads of new books I want to read. One of our commitments finished last month too and by doing this we have clawed back £152 a month from our outgoings.
However, last year we were spending a really silly amount on food shopping, takeaways and other leisure activities that to be really honest we just couldn’t afford. This year we would love another family holiday and some weekend city breaks away enjoying other parts of the country and the only way we can do that is with a proper family budget. Cutting down on our spend and takeaways will also contribute to us all having a healthier diet and lifestyle. This month we had a really lovely day out in Salisbury and I think we will enjoy our treats and days out even more now we’ve limiting them.
Our outgoings at the moment are around £1,075 and with both our guaranteed earnings taken into consideration, we should have about £410 disposable income after all the bills. This is what we have left to spend on food, leisure and savings each month. Previously we would do one big monthly shop of around £160 and then be heading out every single week spending around £50 on a top up shop. Add on a takeaway at an average £20 a time and we were spending way over what we could afford. This basically lead to debt, as it so often does for low income families. I am determined to jump out of this hole and actually see ourselves with less debt, more savings, no benefits, healthier and less food wastage. I am challenging myself to spend £35 a week or less on groceries.
I’m attempting to do this by shopping at discounted supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi, accurate meal planning and using up leftovers. Each month we will either have one takeaway or one trip to the cinema instead of both. I think this will really help us to enjoy our leisure time. Instead we will be using our family time on walks, reading, visiting family and trips to the park. If there are any products we want then I will be making the most of Swagbucks to ensure we get them. I am aiming for £100 worth of vouchers a month which we will store up on Amazon and use for birthday presents, things we want and a debt free Christmas.
Last week we spent around £50 for our weekly shop however there were a few circumstantial purchases such as vapour rub and painkillers as I’ve been suffering with a chest infection. This week we did better but we are way above our target. Our total spend was £44.04 and that was shopping at Sainsburys, Lidl and Asda. I think we spent more because we saw a few things we fancied, rather than needed for my meal plan and because we forgot our shopping list! I’ll be putting all the receipts through Reciept Hog though which will grab me a few extra points there.
Next week I will be doing the whole week food shop at Aldi, and I am determined to keep it under £35. I think it will be a bit easier to do because I will be making our meals stretch as far as I can this week.
Do you live on a budget? Have any top tips?