Budgeting is essential in helping keep on top of the bills and avoiding the tireless stress that financial worries can bring to our lives.
Every single family has to find a way to manage their finances.
Perhaps you are on maternity leave while your partner works. Perhaps you are a single parent working part-time. Or perhaps you both work full-time or are both unemployed. Every single family has to find a way to manage their finances. I believe that budgeting is essential in helping keep on top of the bills and avoiding the tireless stress that financial worries can bring to your lives.
My partner works full time while I work three days per week. Within that set-up we have to slot in childcare, a weekly food shop and make sure rent and all bills are paid efficiently. Somewhere in the midst of this we really want to have a bit of a life too. Even the smallest amount of disposable income can add a significant element of joy to your week. All work and no play is a very draining experience. So where is your money going? Sometimes it’s important to really take a look.
Here are some of the budgeting tips that have helped me along the way.
Everyone has different standards but once the rent is paid, food is on the table, the house is warm and we can afford a take away once a week I am a happy lady. A yearly family holiday is then made possible when these budgeting tips are followed. That is totally worth it in my book.
Make a food shopping list. This is such a simple task and yet so many people arrive at the supermarket and simply browse and drop items in to the trolley. Take five minutes to look in your freezer and in the presses. It might as simple as just adding pasta or rice some days. You would be surprised at how much this will affect the cost of your weekly food shop bill. I also recommend shopping in LIDL or ALDI and taking advantage of the vouchers and promotions that are always circulating.
Meal Planning. Much like above, this will make a huge difference to the price of your food shopping. If you make a meal plan for the week you are less likely to find yourself stuck some day and succumbing to an impulsive unremarkable take-away. Wouldn’t you rather plan for and really enjoy your take away on a certain day? I know I do.
Join Groupon, Dealrush and any other discount website. Use it to your advantage. You can get birthday presents, restaurant vouchers and day-trips and activities for a fraction of their usual cost. These vouchers have given us many family days out.
Need a new baby item or a piece of equipment? Check out DoneDeal and Adverts.ie. Someone’s trash could be your treasure. A lot of these items are in perfect condition despite being pre-loved. Some are even brand new.
Shop around for gas, electricity and TV/internet providers. Perseverance and research will get you the best offer. There are discounts and price-plans that you may not even be aware of. Every little helps.
Having a baby? Don’t be afraid to ask for vouchers for their birthdays/Christmas etc. A Mothercare voucher once lasted me three different store visits when I needed random unexpected baby items such as vests, soothers and bottle-teats. I was never out of pocket as a result. It also gave me a little “shopping fix” which we all crave from time to time.
Bring your lunch to work. This is probably the most important thing. You might only be spending €5 per day on a sandwich and a drink. With some careful planning (and maybe some extra bread and cheese in the weekly food shop) you could save €25 a week. That is €100 per month. In three or months that could have paid for your entire summer holiday. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Disclaimer. I realise that everyone’s housing situation is different and some people are more fortunate than others. This post is in no way insensitive or presumptuous. I genuinely hope some of the tips will help some of you.