This is a collaborative post.
We are a family on a budget and this year we are really focusing on where our money is being spent, what we can cut back on and use on things we actually really enjoy. Our goal is to have two holidays every year and this year is no different, but we are having to budget more to be able to afford them. Here are some of my tips that I am using to manage my family budget.
- Cut off anything you don’t really need. For me it was the gym membership. I was paying £46 a month and only really used it for swimming every now and again. The price just wasn’t adding up. I am now focusing on working out at home through DVDs and YouTube videos, dancing around listening to my spotify playlist and of course walking the school run. A bill has recently ended for us and we decided to cut back our NowTV packages and ditch Amazon Instant Video. I have also stopped my Audible subscription for a time. What I love about this is I can still listen to all my audiobooks as once you get them you keep them. I am keeping my Kindle Unlimited payment because I do use that a lot.
- Get a budget planner. I find this so helpful, but you can do it on a spreadsheet if you prefer. I literally keep track of all our outgoings, every receipt, every cash withdrawal and every bit we have incoming. This helps with my accounts for my self employment too. Keeping track really opened our eyes to what we were spending money on and got us focused on budgeting properly.
- Save something. There are so many savings challenges out there like the penny a day, pound a week and so on. These are great for saving small amounts at a time. You could choose to save £2 coins in a money box, for example. We have a pot of joy which was a Christmas gift and I am going to use it towards our Caribbean Holiday next year for my 30th. I’m only going to put £5 notes in there. Anytime I get a £5 note I will place it in the pot and keep going until I can’t fit any more in. Then I’ll have to smash the pot to get them all out. It’s such a pretty pot that I’m hoping that will deter me from smashing it before it’s full.
- Make use of things like cashback websites and apps. These really do help your money go further. I use Swagbucks, Qmee, Top Cashback, Quidco and Receipt Hog. A lot of these pay out in vouchers but some also pay out in PayPal. Anytime I need to do any shopping online I always look at these sites to see if I can click through and earn cashback. Some of these reward you for doing surveys or taking a photo of your receipt too. This year, for anything I want, Christmas and Birthdays, I’ll be using the vouchers earned to cover the cost, which limits my spending on my card.
- With today being Blue Monday, you might be considering a quick loan. We all have emergencies which mean we need a big extra from time to time and sometimes this is the only option we have. My advice would be to ensure the company are fully regulated by the financial conduct authority and you are happy and able to stick to the payment terms. If the amount is small and you can pay it back the next time you get paid then you should do. When it comes to loans you should make the decision responsibly and do your research.
- Food Shopping. Why not set yourself a shopping challenge? I am attempting to get all our food shop for £35 a week or less and I’m doing this by using leftovers, meal planning and taking a shopping list every time. I’ve overspent both times this month but it’s getting less each time and I know I can make this work for us.
I hope you have found the above top tips helpful. Do you have anything else to share? How do you manage your budget?