Monday, 13 August 2012

Managing a Family on a Budget

When I was pregnant with my first child, I always knew I wanted my Husband and I to be the ones to teach him things and see him do things for the 1st time. Taking his first steps and hearing him say his first word were, without a doubt, things we wanted to teach him to do ourselves. That’s why when it came to thinking about going back to work I decided that seeing as I’d earn less than a days nursery fees, plus train fares it made sense to become a stay at home mum. Any parent will tell you that it’s the hardest job in the world but definitely the most rewarding.

Even though I am very fortunate to have a loyal husband with a secure job, juggling the family outgoings on one income isn’t easy. I've never been very good with money but thanks to Mr L, I am reigned in just enough not to go overdrawn in the bank every month and he has taught me the difference between needing something and wanting something! So, clearly I am no expert but here's a few little things we do (or my friends do) that you might find useful.

Raid Charity shops for decent clothes (for kids and yourself), books and toys.

Search the internet for vouchers for eating out (Vouch4that, Groupon etc)

Use Supermarket loyalty schemes to pay for days out (Tesco Clubcard vouchers)

Use FREE events/places to plan family days out. Local parks and Museams are usually free admission and are educational too. Take a picnic and hope the sun shines!

Organise a 4 weekly meal planner. Buy all your store cupboard ingredients in one shop and just make 1 weekly trip to the supermarket for fresh things and daily essentials like bread and milk. This isn’t something I do as my Husband works shifts but I know it works well for friends.

Buy groceries on offer and stock up. If you have the space buy in bulk as you might not need it right away but lots of stuff has a long use by date so will save you money in the long run.

Buy seasonal fruit and veg. Things like Strawberries in the winter will cost you twice as much than during the Summer.

Buy Supermarket discounted items rather than expensive brands. Some of the products are the same just in different packaging.

Have a little hobby to bring in extra pennies. I have an Avon round and although I don’t like going out in bad weather it’s worth it just to have money of my own so I don’t have to say no to coffee or for an emergency bus fare.

For those with babies, check out the best deal regarding nappies. A baby will on average need 9 nappies a day so look around for information on eco friendly ones as they often come out cheaper in the long run. Disposable nappies will cost about £50 per month.

Ebay is great for selling your unwanted items. Look out especially for ‘free listing’ weekends. It can also be a good way of getting a bargain (but don’t get stung on postage costs)!

Local Facebook sales pages are also great for selling your unwanted things. Most things are advertised for collection in your Local area and you can ask for things you need/want and if someone has it, you can arrange to buy it.

Use gift vouchers you get for your Birthday/Christmas etc to indulge yourself. You deserve to treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally buy. You’ll feel good having something you wouldn’t usually spend your own money on and it’s FREE!!

Regularly review your finances. As boring as it is, check incomings and outgoings on a regular basis and get rid of any unnecessary expenses.

We always make sure we have everything we need BEFORE we buy things we want. It’s easy to get carried away with a few luxurious purchases and forget that you’ve got a bill to be paid.

Ask yourself…Do you need it? Will you use it? Can I afford it?

 A brilliant website for helping you calculate costs is

Check out change4life ( for cheap and easy family recipe ideas. It also has extensive information regarding healthy easting and exercise to help you change your lifestyle for the better.

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