The budget can be a nightmare at the best of times. After having a bubba and going from two full time incomes down to only one and having the extra little person sure has challenged our household.
The best thing you can do is a budget. Map out all your incoming and outgoing money and see exactly where everything is going. You will soon see that we often are flushing hard earned money that we don’t really have down the loo.
After doing our budget we discovered that we were living outside our means. We needed to take some drastic measures to get back on track.
Here are my tips for getting your finances back on track.
10 Tips To Shrink Your Budget
MEAL PLAN –
Meal plan for a fortnight. Plan to use leftovers. Do your shopping list from this. It will stop you buying unnecessary food and can prevent wastage in the home. Check catalogues to see what supermarkets have on sale and use these to your advantage.
PLAN YOUR GROCERY SHOP –
Do not go shopping hungry. If you are lucky enough to have several supermarkets close by use all of them. Learn your prices and buy items that are cheaper or on sale. Compare prices per kg, per ltr, per item etc as this will give you a better comparison. Bulk is often cheaper in the long run but only if you need it. Don’t be afraid to try generic home brands or brands you have never heard of.
AVOID BUYING LUNCH –
A packed lunch is often half if not a quarter the price of take away/ fast food. Left overs, sandwiches, homemade pies/ quiches/ sausage rolls, pizza, toasted sandwiches, salads. These are all much cheaper and often tastier options.
BAKE YOUR OWN SNACKS/ TREATS –
Bake your own biscuits, muffins, savory scrolls, tarts, fruit pastries, etc. They will last longer than packet/ processed goodies and are tastier.
TURN ELECTRICALS OFF –
Switch lights off when not being used. Turn appliances off at the wall. A lot of electrical appliances use electricity when in stand by mode. Turning things like microwaves, kettles, computers, televisions, stereos off at the wall can save you quite a bit on your electricity.
ASSESS YOUR ELECTRICALS –
Have a good look around your house and see if there is anything you can stop using like a second fridge. Make sure all your light bulbs are energy savers/ low watts. If you have old appliances consider upgrading as some older appliances use a lot of electricity.
Consider becoming a one car family. Two cars mean two registrations, two insurances, double the upkeep. You can save a lot by selling one car.
COMPARE COMPANIES –
Shop around for all your insurances. Car, home, contents, health, life, pet. Premiums can vary so do your research and be sure to read the fine print, There are some great sites now that help with getting comparisons so don’t be afraid to use them. Do the same with your utilities, phone, internet etc. There is always a better deal out there and often if the company you are with knows you are changing they will offer you a better deal.
LIMIT WATER USAGE –
Conserve water. Keep shower times to a minimum and not only will you save on water but you will save on heating the water as well. Wash clothes in cold water and on a fast/ economical cycle. Catch rain water to water plants. You do not need a water tank a bucket or buckets will suffice. Don’t leave tap running when brushing teeth.
USE FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE –
Often cash strapped or frugal people will sell products cheap. Left over nappies when bubba goes up a size, kids clothes, kids toys, furniture, plants. You name it you can find it. Be sure to check goods thoroughly before buying as it is buyer beware. There is always a bargain to be had. Marketplace is also a great place for you to sell your unused goods and earn some extra cash.
Every cent counts
There are so many ways you can bring your budget into line. Most of the time it comes to common sense. Use the internet and shop around for everything. Reduce your utility bills. Reduce wastage of any variety. Always ask yourself if you really need something. Every cent does count.
If you are in financial stress there are options. Most banks, utility, phone companies have contingencies for financial hardship. Apply for these before you get behind. Often neighbourhood centers or community centers will have free financial and legal advice. It is not shameful to ask for help.