Getting our family finances back into control

Thursday, 4 October 2018
Sometimes, it is hard to keep an eye on the family finances, especially when life is at full speed and you just don’t get a minute to check. No matter how much we try to keep on top of ours, occasionally there is a curveball of an unexpected expense or a slip in expense that wasn’t necessarily needed but was had.

In May this year, our incomings were mixed up I started a new job and took a pay cut due to the pay scales, then in June Ashley swapped his great paid job to start a career in what he had dreamed of. Within a month our yearly incomes had decreased by almost £10,000, we had to seriously readdress our finances and suddenly it seemed everything was just a little bit tighter. We made a few changes to our routine and budgets and whilst it's been tough, and still is it’s made us reassess our finances and what we could have always saved on.


Meal Planning
We have meal planned for a while, even before our finances decreased, however, we have been a little more strict and even planned lunches since. Knowing what we will be eating each day and only buying the products we need has made shopping easier and cheaper. We opted to do online shopping because then we would only put in the basket what was on our list and planned for that week rather than spotting a product that was on offer and placing that into the basket. Also, whilst we could have gone to a budget shop we would find they didn’t always have everything and we would still end up in a supermarket too. We also planned leftovers from our meals into everything, sometimes I’m home for lunch so I could have leftovers the following day.

Budget Setting
We sat down and wrote down every single incoming and outgoing expense, we wrote all our renewal dates down along the way too. We sat and worked out the expenses set in place from bills, what was left over and what that realistically needed to cover such as fuel and food. From this, we worked out roughly how much it costs to fill up and how often we seem to do this and budget that in giving us our remaining floating budget. I’m thankful Ashley is really really good with money and budgeting, unfortunately, it’s me that’s not but I’m learning to get better.

Renewing Suppliers
Whilst doing our budget we wrote down all of our renewal dates for insurances and energy along with the internet and phone. As each date has come up for renewal we have shopped around for a better deal. Currently, we are struggling with our internet suppliers as we only seem to be able to get one supplier. We have found each time we have swapped we have managed to save hundreds by not stopping with the same supplier, they seem to charge you more for sticking with them it seems.

Bring In Additional Cash
When I changed my job back in May, we knew we wouldn’t be able to cope on my new income, I was going down to minimum wage and whilst the hours were better for us, financially it wasn’t so I kept my other job and just dropped one day a week meaning we still had half of my original income still coming regularly. Throughout the summer months whilst I was off from my primary job I picked up extra hours at my ‘weekend job’. However, this is easier said than done for some and this isn’t possible. You could look into decluttering your home, getting rid of things you no longer need or use either by selling them on local selling sites which can be found around or by using eBay. It’s a great way to get a small cash boost, and whilst it's not long term it can provide a little help. It is also worth looking into seeing if you could get anything from an increase in the price of your home. We have only lived in ours for 3 years but I checked out this calculator and the price of ours has increased by around £18,500 in that short space of time.

Between us, we always joke about our life before, before we had the children before we were homeowners when all of our money was carefree and we could do with it as we pleased. I then think back to my childhood and whilst I thought things were cheaper in comparison to now, everything was still as hard back then for my parents.  With increasing prices, it can be hard to save up for things I know we are really struggling.

How do you arrange your family finances? Do you have any additional tips?



Please Note: This is a collaborative Post. 

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