If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll probably know that my Filofax is like my second child. I love it; I’m a self-confessed geek when it comes to organisation and diary management (and that term alone has surely proved my nerdiness!) I like to know where I am; not that I’ve ever wandered the streets aimlessly or ended up at the other end of the country, because I haven’t written it my diary… but you just never know!
So it probably won’t surprise you that I have a spreadsheet for all of our expenses. Oh yes. It’s something I started long before I moved out of my parents house and it became even more important once we had our own rent & bills, a wedding to pay for and a baby to feed & clothe! The idea of credit cards, overdrafts, balance transfers and buying things on finance, fills me with dread. I find it all too complicated and like to keep things as simple as possible, so we plan for absolutely everything— from our weekly food shop, to home insurance, to our rent. Life ‘on a budget’ doesn’t have to be boring— it just means everything that’s left is then ours to spend freely (or save!) Even the nitty gritty such as web-hosting and petrol are covered, so there’s never any nasty surprises!
My philosophy with money is simple; don’t have it, don’t spend it.
It’s always been that way. Until Byron came along, I wasn’t too great at restricting myself when it came to dining out with friends or buying new clothes— I’d binge in Primark, just because I wanted to and I could— but I’d never use my overdraft to do it. I don’t really consider ourselves to be living on a ‘budget’— we’re just organised! We have made a few small, simple changes to our lives though and here are some of my favs:
Bring your own lunch to work with you, instead of buying in the staff canteen; it’s cheaper, not to mention healthier!
Sign up for loyalty cards to build up points to spend and get free vouchers— although only use them for things you truly need!
Turn off your appliances by the plug when you’re not using them. Simple.
A lot of children’s toys can be bought from charity shops for a fraction of the price and in ‘nearly new’ condition.
Children also aren’t as expensive as everyone thinks— for me, the worst bit is the fact my income isn’t what it used to be; so as a family, we’ve made small, simple changes within our lifestyle, to save some money here and there. With a baby who’s not yet toddling but needs constant entertainment, it can be hard to find things to do without spending too much, but I’ve discovered so many places to go for a walk, a coffee, lunch, soft play and even baby cinema— there’s a whole new world out there that I didn’t know existed! I surprise myself constantly, by how I can live on half the money I used to and still have everything I need or want, without feeling guilty or restricted.