4 Tips for Freeing Up Your Finances

4 Tips for Freeing Up Your Finances

If you’ve been reading the blog you’ll know that in January I started a family Frugal Living challenge, aimed at cutting back waste, sorting our finances and putting more into our savings and pensions. It can be tricky to balance budgeting with raising a family. Financial security is important for everyone — especially those of us with children.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to manage costs as a parent. Here are four ideas that could help.

Plan Spending in Advance

To stay on top of your finances, why not plan all outgoings in advance? By doing this on a regular basis, you can avoid splashing out on products that you don’t need.

In turn, you could make massive savings. Store a simple cash flow document on your phone to make sure that you can view it anywhere. This way, you can instantly squash that desire to spend impulsively by seeing how it will affect you later in the month.

Instant mobile access is also useful if it feels like you rarely get five minutes to sit down at your laptop or tablet. Let’s face it, that description applies to most of us as parents. But you needn’t let your busy family life get in the way of managing your finances.

Work from Home

If you’re a stay-at-home parent and miss the thrill of work, don’t worry. You can easily transform a passion into a successful home-run business. In fact, self-employment has almost doubled over the past 18 years. As a result, there’s more support than ever available to people who want to make cash by doing what they love.

Do you want to free up your finances, get your teeth stuck into a long-term project, and be there to support the kids? If so, this could be the perfect money-making solution for you?  I’ve been a freelancer for nearly 13 years, 9 years full time which is something that I chose to do so that I could still earn and be flexible around my family’s needs.

Prepare for Rainy Days

Nobody knows what the future holds. Sometimes, darker periods can occur. And when they do, it’s useful to have a financial back-up in place. Should an event or issue affect your income, with savings you’re fully prepared to deal with it. With this contingency money, you and your family can remain financially secure whatever the circumstance.

In addition, putting aside small amounts for your retirement could help you to stay financially afloat well into the future. This is what we’re working hard on at the moment.

So long as you contribute regularly to your fund, there’s never been a better time to start saving than now.

Enjoy Free Activities and Days Out

I mentioned this briefly in my Frugal Living February Update blog post. Saving money doesn’t have to be boring and we don’t always need money to have a good time. Free days out can be fun for everyone.

What’s more, you won’t be paying to enter a popular destination – you’ll be doing whatever you’ve arranged solely as a family – so this is also likely to bring you all closer together.

Parenthood can be challenging enough without the stress of financial organisation. But when you know how, you can easily arrange your finances and attend to your family at the same time. Once you’ve dealt with the money side of things, you’ll be able to enjoy life to the full. And this will benefit everyone in the family.

 

Frugal Living 2019 – January Update #1

Frugal Living 2019 – January Update #1

Happy New Year! This is the beginning of a new series of blog posts on frugal living. We’ve always tried to avoid waste and save, and have to say, we’ve got pretty good at it. We could do better though. For us, the end result of our frugal living goal this year is to dump a lot more money in our savings and pensions and to enjoy a somewhat more simple life. Ditching plastic where we can is also on the cards, as is more recycling. We will be clearing the clutter and looking at ways to save and make more money to add to our various savings pots).

Here is my first proper 2019 frugal living update.

Grocery Spending

We spend too much money on food. I have some rather specific dietary needs however even including that, we overspend. This has been down mostly to a lack of planning on my part. Here’s what I’ve done/am doing to remedy this, and you can to if saving money on your grocery spending is a goal:
 
  • Move to a Cash Budget: Yes, if you withdraw your spending money in cash you are much more reluctant to part with it. I certainly am. I’ve stopped using the grocery account debit card wherever possible and withdraw only what I have budgeted for the week. Anything left over at the end of the week goes into savings.
  • Take Stock: Do you know what food you have in your house? I thought I did until I did a full inventory of my fridge, freezer and cupboards. I really do not need to buy any more pasta or chopped tomatoes! Using my stock list I created a weekly meal plan for this week.
  • Meal Plan: I’m using a fab diary my sister bought me for all things grocery related. I keep my stock lists in there, create my weekly meal plan from it, then write up a shopping list (which I plan to stick to!).
  • Shop Cheap: Aldi and Lidl are my friends. The local butcher can also save you a fortune. Some are put off using a butcher because prices are per weight and so on. If you say you want a pound and a half weight of mince, that’s fine. If you say you need three steaks but don’t want to spend more than £x, they can work with that too.
 

The Car

car, mechanic, frugal living

Our car has been fab for years but in the past 6-7 months or so we’ve come to realise that it is time to let her go and trade her in for a newer (smaller) model. Smaller for fuel efficiency (ours is a 2.0l engine) and smaller because we live in a Victorian terraced street which means parking outside requires excellent timing and a shoe horn.
 
Once we’ve had her **fixed (an engine light has come on and she doesn’t like accelerating  – such a diva) we’re off to the dealership with her. We’ve had a quote for her and plan to trade her in and buy something a little cheaper (save the difference) but we’ll see what’s what on the day.
**We use a local mobile mechanic who is excellent at what he does and has years of experience under his belt. If you are local (Thirsk and surrounding) and want a recommendation, just ask!
 

Something Broke

Last year (September) I bought a halogen cooker. This is a tabletop cooker which replaces your oven and is cheaper to run. My mum has used them for years. I don’t know why it took me so long to get one. They are fantastic! Sadly, just after cooking our New Year Day lunch, the halogen gave up on me. I’ve contacted the company I bought it from and they’ve agreed that is must be faulty and that I need to return it for a refund. I’ll order a new one once that refund hits. The pain of this (other than being without my halogen) is that I have to find suitable packaging and a courier! Any recommendations on a cheap and easy to use courier service?
 

Switching Energy Supplier to Bulb

I moved us over to Bulb Energy 16 months ago and can honestly say that I have been over the moon with the savings and the service. Their commitment to renewable energy also ticks a big box for me. I earned £50 into my Bulb account when I joined as I used someone else’s referral link. A friend later joined through me using mine and we both received £50. If you want a quote (and want to use my referral link) start here: http://bit.ly/nickibulbreferral
 
Bulb, Bulb energy, frugal living
 

Frugal Living 2019

That’s pretty much where we are frugal living and savings wise. It’s only the 2nd January though so we’ve made a good start. Keep reading for further updates as we commit ourselves to spending less, saving more and altogether enjoy a more simple and frugal life.
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