Are you back to work part-time after having kids? If so, you might not be used to living on a lower salary and trying to make your money stretch further each month.
No one likes to be into their overdraft at the end of every month, but when you’ve been used to living on a certain amount of money it can be hard to adjust your way of living and spend less.
I wrote a post on money saving tips for mums a while ago but if you’re after more ways to make your money stretch further, I’ve put together the following budgeting tips you can try over the next month to see if your money lasts a little bit longer…
Put money aside as soon as you get paid
If you’re like us, then if you have money left in your account at the end of the month you’ll think ‘we can go out for lunch’ or ‘I can buy that new top after all’. But if it’s not there, you can’t spend it.
Try moving £100 or £200 into another account as soon as you get paid. If you find that you need it at the end of the month you can always move it back, but chances are you’ll forget about it and can build up some savings for a rainy day or have a fund ready for the next home or car emergency.
Make a note of what you spend each month
Do you actually know where all of your money goes? It might shock you!
Go through your last bank statement and write down everywhere you spent money last month. I was amazed at how much we spent in the supermarket aside from the big weekly food shop, a few pounds here and there can add up to a lot more than you think.
Check your direct debits
Are you 100% sure that you’ve cancelled direct debits you no longer need? What about your old mobile phone that’s no longer in contract?
Go through the list of Direct Debits and Standing Orders in your account and double check you’re not paying for things you no longer need.
Get an interest free overdraft
At some point we all end up in our overdraft but you don’t want to get charged for it. If you pay interest on yours try switching to a bank account that offers and interest free overdraft. It will save you a bit of money each month and a lot of stress.
Cancel that gym membership
If you have a membership to the local gym that you never use then you definitely need to cancel it now! If you do use your membership – do you really need it? Could you do some workouts at home instead, or invest in some gym equipment?
Check out my post Busy Mum’s Guide To Exercising for some home workout inspiration that won’t cost you any money.
Do your grocery shop online
I can’t say this enough but if you don’t already do your grocery shop online then you need to start now! I save an absolute fortune on my weekly food shop by not going to the supermarket.
When you shop online you check prices more than in store and if the total is too high at the end you can just delete items from your basket.
It’s also much easier to meal plan and think ahead when you’re not dragging kids around the supermarket.
Use discount stores for the boring stuff
I really begrudge paying lots of money for toiletries and cleaning products. If you visit a discount store like Home Bargains, B&M or Poundland you can get the same products for a lot less. It’s definitely worth the extra trip.
Take lunch to work
Make some time in your nightly schedule to make your lunch for the following day.
If you buy lunch every day you could spend around £80 a month. And if you have a Starbucks or two a week you could add on another £20 a month. Taking lunch to work will save you money and be better for your waistline. Plus if you don’t have to pop into town for a sandwich you’ll avoid the temptation to do a bit of lunch break shopping too.
Switch your utilities or see if there’s a cheaper tariff
When was the last time you switched your gas & electric supplier? If it’s been a while it’s worth a look as they’re always undercutting each other. If you don’t want to switch, you could give your current supplier a call and see if there’s a better tariff you could be on. Even if you can only save £2 a month by opting for paperless billing it’s worth the call.
Don’t impulse buy
If you have a habit for impulse buying, try thinking things over instead for 24 hours before parting with your hard-earned cash. You will probably think twice about the majority of your big purchases after sleeping on it.
Turn off 4G on your phone
Do you use all your data halfway through the month and then end up paying a fortune for going over your allowance? Try turning off data and just using Wifi for internet browsing to avoid going over the limit.
Or if you can’t get by on wifi you can set your allowance limit on your phone so that the data automatically switches off when you’ve used a certain amount.
Take advantage of free activities
We all want to get out and about and make the most of the weekends, but you don’t have to spend money to have fun. Have at least 2 weekends a month doing free activities such as visiting the park or the beach, having a movie day at home if it rains, or doing crafts.
If you need some inspiration, check out my post 52 free things to do outdoors with kids.
Use the car less
It’s not always possible if you work far from home or have to do the school run before or after work, but where possible try and car share with a colleague or take the bus. Even if you only do it once or twice a week it will help you cut down on petrol and parking costs.
Do you think some of these budgeting tips will help to make your money stretch further next month? I’d love to hear how you get on!