Gosh kids are expensive! And I say that in love of course, but seriously!!! I'm aware many readers will have more than three kids but even you mummas with one, I'm sure you are getting me right now. I actually avoid taking all three of mine to the shops now because they either beg for a snack or treat or I need to use the good old donut or and/or milkshake as a bribe to be good. Goodbye $20 in my purse waiting for me to spend it with some quality 'me time' ... as if that happens.
What happened to getting 50c off your mum and going to the deli or corner store and picking a white paper bag of mixed lollies. I loved how they were 1 cent each and you could choose the ones you liked. Why aren't they around any more? six cents of milk bottles please!
Why am I suddenly paying $30 for a school excursion when my mum used to put $2 in an envelope for a school day out. Yep I get it, it's inflation, but these annoying expenses are burning holes in my pockets.
Anyway rant over and back to saving money. Cam and I recently sat down a created a budget. We split our monthly savings into payments I need to make and ones he does so we can be accountable to each other. So when I decide to splash out on a new jacket, there is no hiding it in the back of the wardrobe and bringing it out a few days later claiming this old thing ...No one else ever does that?
This new budget has literally turned me into a hunter for anything and everything that is a bargain and is saving me cash for renovations, holidays and shopping. I am no financial expert but there are couple of little tricks I have picked up and thought it would be wrong to keep them from you (unless you are way ahead of me) so any pennies you can save, can go towards a greatly deserved treat.
1. Sell your crap - old ugly presents, things that are stored away, clothes good enough to sell, old toys. Things that you never use that others spend hours searching for, sell it for a few dollars and watch your house declutter as you get paid to do it. Cha Ching!!!
2. Make a food plan - if you are chucking out too much food each week think about how much that is costing you. I know it takes a bit more time but if you flick through the supermarket catalogues to find what is on special and then write down what you are making each day for breaky, lunch and dinner, you will reduce your waste by loads. Stay tuned for a detailed blog on this coming up!
3. Take snacks to the shops so you aren't stuck buying them and if you aren't worried too much on healthy stuff as in, if you will end up buying donuts anyway, pack fun treats. Otherwise stop through Maccas drive through on the way home for a 50c ice cream instead of paying $4 each at an ice cream shop.
4. Each month put some money into different funds e.g. holiday, presents, Christmas, renovations. That way when it comes to paying for it, you aren't struggling with a large lump sum and you can also plan your holidays etc to what you have saved.
5. Buy the Bargains - Last week I walked past a toy shop and checked out the clearance shelves. I bought this awesome Mike the Knight Castle with figurines that is such great quality as well. It was $69.95 and I paid $19.95 for it, WHAT!!!! I am now giving a little boy or girl a present worth $70 that I didn't have to break the bank for. I grabbed some other barbie's and things that were going for $5 that I will save for upcoming birthdays and Christmas presents.
6. Plan to treat yourself - I hardly ever buy myself clothes or do anything for myself much because I am always getting the kids clothes and shoes etc I also like buying stuff for Cam. However I have started taking out some money each week and putting it in my purse that I will use to treat myself. Whether its just coffees out all week or a nice lunch, I feel like I'm not missing out because of trying to save for other more important things. If I see something I really want to buy then I will hold back on the coffees and lunch and use that to get it.
7. Free finds - School holidays are ridiculous for us until I started making a plan for it. We make a list of all the activities we want to do, we go through all the free ones first and then the kids can pick a special one like the movies at the end. We also, like I have said before, go to the cheap shops and pick out some crafty activities to do at home. Look up your local library and community pages and see what things they have on for kids. Shopping centres put on great shows and activities as well. If you don't have kids in school yet, take advantage of these events as well.
8. Social Gatherings - share the load when it comes to hosting a dinner party or BBQ. In our friendship group we each contribute a course so everyone spends around the same or the hosts buys it all and we split the bill. Sometimes you can spend $100 just on nibbles and haven't even got your main meal yet. Cheese platters can cost up to $50 if you are doing a selection and adding crackers and dips so go halves with someone else. I feel like going out for dinner sometimes really ends up being cheaper if you are the person that has to buy everything for the dinner party or adding a few extras to a meal during the week. Mind you, I love hosting and almost always put my hand up :)
9. Take out and Restaurants - there is nothing nicer than having someone else cook your meal for the day/night, especially when it tastes better than what you can make. But when it costs a limb sometimes it is just depressing to eat knowing that $40 takeaway could have gone towards something else. Especially if it's your second or third for the week! Budget for a once a week or once a fortnight take out or have take away once a month and then another night or day in the month go to a restaurant to eat. There's no cleaning up either!
10. Cooking for a family - yeah I am seeing a food pattern too but if you are like us, a lot of our social gatherings and budgeting involves food. I started to really focus on the meals I was cooking and found I could save so much money a week if I tweaked it a bit. I love the 30 minute Jamie Oliver meals but wasn't a fan of the expensive ingredients to then have them sit and rot in my cardboard because I don't usually cook with them. Again it would have been cheaper going out for dinner! Even things like fish can be really expensive and I even worked out that our fish shop where we have grilled fish, chips and a greek salad is $20 for our family of five and most of the time I spend that just on the fish, which I usually overcook in being paranoid it's undercooked and ruin it. I make two meals a week that I spread over two nights, whether I freeze one or we eat it the following night. These are usually from the slow cooker like a casserole or something like risotto, lasagne or shepherds pie. They aren't expensive to make either. One night we do burgers or hot dogs with nicer meat and then if I find roast meat or steaks, I will grab them for a meal. Eggs on toast generally makes it into our weekly or weekend meal or a mixed plate of veggies, fruit and sandwiches so we can go out for dinner or treat ourselves to Thai.
There are so many things you can do to cut down and you could probably google lists if you want to research more into cutting down on bills as well, but these 10 are some easy things that you can do that will make a big difference in your budget.
© The Realistic Mum
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