We have always had to be frugal with our money. Mainly because we both chose careers that we enjoyed, rather than those that paid well. Of course it was a lot easier before we were parents. Two salaries and no dependants meant we could spend money on extra things. However, we knew that if we ever wanted to buy a house we needed to save for a deposit. And so started our frugal lifestyle.
Saving for a house deposit included cutting back on our food shopping and making most meals from scratch. It took longer, but the raw ingredients were cheaper and I enjoyed experimenting.
I made or upcycled clothing for myself with my beloved sewing machine. When I found out I was pregnant I started sewing cloth nappies and clothes for my baby. He had so many things made for him!
We would change our electricity supplier fairly frequently to find a good deal. If I wanted extra nice things then I would enter 100’s of competitions a day and get very excited when I won something.
When our first son was born we then had to live on one salary as I decided to be a stay at home mum. This meant being extra frugal. We sold my car and moved into the town so I could still get to baby groups, but we wouldn’t need the cost of the second car. Everything was cut right back, from clothes to holidays.
And then I started blogging…
When The Money Rolls In
Ok, maybe not exactly rolls in! But when I started earning money with my blog we had a little extra to pay for diesel for our day trips. Then I started earning more and I seem to be earning a good wage most months this year.
With all that ‘extra’ money coming in I haven’t got round to deciding exactly what to do with it. Some has gone into the savings account, but we definitely appear to be spending more than usual too.
Scottish Friendly asked me if I would like to take part in a money saving diary challenge and I thought this would be the perfect excuse to organise our current finances better.
Money Saving Diary Challenge
Over the last three weeks I have kept a diary to work out how much we were spending and where. There were the normal spends with our mortgage, electricity bills and council tax amongst them. What surprised me was our weekly food spend. We have always spent fairly little for our weekly shop, but we are now going back to the shop too often during the week. Spending money on more biscuits, chocolate, alcohol and kids snacks, rather than making the most of what we have already.
We don’t need to save for a deposit anymore as we were lucky enough to buy a house when our eldest was a year old. But we do want to save up for other things, such as a new car and holidays abroad. We also want to invest for our future as we are unlikely to get much of a state pension, if any.
If we want these things we need to try and be more frugal again.
So my main aims for saving money as a parent will be:
- Getting back into the habit of changing service provider for electricity and insurances, rather than sticking with the same provider.
- Cutting back on the ‘extra’ food spend by making more things from scratch and getting the kids involved so there is less waste.
- Less of the extra biscuits, chocolate and alcohol, this may help with our waistlines too. Ha ha!
- Buy clothes in the sales, rather than paying full price for items. We always used to buy the boys clothes for the following year in the sales, it saves so much money.
- Look into where we can invest our cash.
What are your tips for saving money as a parent?
* This is a collaborative post with Scottish Friendly.