Yesterday the TV was telling me that it’s Black Friday. No not the one in November when everyone goes a bit loopy trying to grab a cheap telly. Apparently there’s another one. This Black Friday is everyone being down in the dumps with debt and no money left to tide them over until the January pay day.
I don’t have any debt but I am a stay-at-home-mum, we have one income from my husbands job and we find ourselves running short by the end of the month. This wasn’t always the case and we should have plenty really. It’s just us not managing what we have as well as we should. So some money saving is in order, it’s time that I BEE a Money Saving Mummy. If your in a similar situation here’s my top tips to BEE one too (I don’t have a fascination with bumble bees, it’s my little acronym).
Firstly, all my top tips can be summed up by the following…
Save money by not spending it.
This is my money saving mantra. If I don’t spend it, I won’t run out of it! Though this needs breaking down into smaller steps to make it BEE achievable. Firstly…
Write down what comes in and what goes out. Go through bank statements and see where it all goes. Don’t forget the more occasional expenses. How much do you spend across the year on dentists? Opticians? Car repairs? School shoes? They don’t happen every month but they do happen. Don’t forget them. There’s free budget planner tools available online that can help with this.
Now you know your outgoings, you can prioritise. Look at the outgoings that you can’t live without (and no, I don’t mean wine and chocolate). You need to pay the rent/mortgage, you need electricity and gas, you need food. Now you’ve got the essentials listed, investigate cutting back. Is there a cheaper energy supplier? Do a comparison. Can you cut back on food. Write a meal plan and try the own brands and value ranges, they’re often just as good as big brands. Compare car insurance, home insurance…don’t just renew each year. Insurers always put the cost up each year, they’re counting on making extra money from your apathy. Don’t let them. Take each item on your list and see if there’s any way you can save money on it.
Now this is where I struggle. All the extra spends, it can be big things or lots of little things but they all add up. For me, it’s top up food shops that fritter away the cash. Tesco is my second home. Maybe you love to indulge in retail therapy or maybe it’s simply your daily takeaway coffee and newspaper dip into your money more than you’d like. Whatever it is, the key point in all of this is to look. Don’t bury your head in the sand, don’t worry or feel embarrassed. Get out the bank statements, sign into online banking and look at where the money goes. Take control.
So that’s my tips for assessing where you are. For me, I’ve got a budget, I’ve gone through and found cheapest prices for the essentials. I fall down on the extras. I’m always doing top up food shops, buying books, adding a cheeky bottle of wine to the trolley. They all add up and dig into our money far more than I’d like. To tackle this, I’ll be starting a spending diary. Keeping my receipts and writing down all expenditure really discourages me from wasting money and sticking to only buying what we need.