We are certainly not rich people and over the last year or so I have become a bit of a stickler for managing our home finances.
We have to watch what we spend, rarely splurge on treats but as a consequence I think we hugely appreciate what we are able to buy for our family. I thought I would share some of the things we do in order to keep track of our money. It might be useful in case any of you guys are worried about money.
First things first…Write all of your outgoings down (this is the scary bit)
Everything! Don’t cheat and leave out little treats here and there. You need to be honest with yourself or else this won’t work.
Next – Write down everything that comes in each month (the good bit!) This way, by deducting outgoings from income, you can tally up the money that’s left over to play with.
One thing I have found really useful is to use a comparison website to readjust all our household bills. Last time I did this about four months ago and managed to reduce our monthly outgoings by about £300. I changed our home and contents insurance, energy provider, car insurance and got rid of a load of TV channels that we rarely watch. It felt like a huge victory because at the time we needed every penny we could find! I used Money Supermarket but there are loads out there such as Money Saving Expert or Compare the Market. All pretty similar but they all offer unique tips and offers so keep an eye out for them.
Online banking – do you have an account you can check any time you like? I have an app on my phone so can see how my finances are doing whenever the panic kicks in. I find it easier to see where my money is going and can therefore monitor the waves and falls of each month! It’s like my little mental analysis system.
Food shopping – probably our biggest outgoing each month. With five people in our household (and two cats…actually three if you include the neighbours who comes in very day for dinner!) it’s easily to spend a fortune on groceries. However, I feel I have quite a close check on it now. I menu plan for the week and buy everything we need for the relevant recipes. I used to just buy “blind,” picking things randomly from the supermarket shelves just because they looked nice. I’d come home and realise I didn’t have anything dinner-y and would have to go buy a few more bits here and there. It cost a fortune!
I also now food shop online. No pretty shelves to distract me plus you get to see all the offers and deals for that week on one page. I use Tesco for much of my shopping but also Aldi and Morrisons
I don’t buy fancy branded items and always buy supermarket own brands for things such as cereal, baked beans and biscuits. They taste the same and I think it’s foolish to spend more on the same thing in a different looking box.
Mobile phones can be costly, it’s worth checking up with your provider that you are on the best tariff for your usage. I’m with 02 and find they are pretty good at reminding me when I may want to change it up a bit…nevertheless, it’s still worth keeping on top of it yourself.
Lastly – Be honest with yourself.
Don’t kid yourself about where your money goes, it’s only going to come back and bite you on the butt.
What tips do you have for managing your household finances? I’m always interested to hear what people do.
For more money saving tips, have a look at the CashLady website – it’s full of ideas such as how to do up your bathroom on a budget. Their blog has some helpful financial planning suggestions and lots of money related advice, even down to articles on buying your first home. They are a loan company offering short term loans, payday loans and offers for people with a poor credit rating. Whilst I would never recommend taking a loan out unless absolutely necessary, it’s important to know these services are available and that with careful planning, they can work for some people.
*This is a collaborative post