Saving money after you have a baby can seem a lot harder than it used to be. With another person that depends on you, who needs feeding, clothing and stimulation, saving money can seem like an impossible task. However, it doesn’t have to be. With a little spare time and a good strategy, you can stay on top of your finances, enjoy the things you used to enjoy, save a little cash each month, and best of all, reduce your money worries.
It all starts with a good strategy. If you can put a little time and effort into creating a strategy for your family budget, and follow it, then you can create a little more financial freedom for yourself and your family, and a little less stress. This will form the foundation of all your efforts, and make every step much easier. This is because it will help you to visualise your money, control your spending habits, stay out of debt, and overall, manage your money better.
Here are some top tips to help you get started.
#1 Create a spreadsheet
The best tool you can get started with to manage your finances is a simple spreadsheet. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but a spreadsheet enables you to utilise as little, or as many features as you wish, and efficiently presents all the information you need. Once you have all the important information down, you can colour and customise it as much as you like.
Here are some of the basic points you should add to your spreadsheet.
Start by writing down all of your income sources. Try to only include reliable sources that you can depend on, and leave out (or create a separate column for) anything that is not regular. This will ensure you budget accordingly, and anything extra can be seen as a bonus. Include your wages, and any benefits you may receive. If you are self-employed, you should note down your average income.
Next, write down all of your outgoings. This should include all of your bills, such as mortgage/rent, electricity, gas, property taxes, etc. As well as all of your spending habits, such as grocery shopping, petrol, gym membership, eating out, etc. For any expenses that vary, you should write down the maximum you will spend on that item on average.
#2 Be honest
Although it may be difficult, it is a good idea to take an honest review of your finances. It can be helpful to highlight your outgoings into different categories, for example, what is necessary, what can be reviewed for change, and what can be cut out. Make sure you are honest with yourself and cut out the spending that is unnecessary or is unused, for example, if you have some old subscriptions. However, this doesn’t mean you have to remove everything, make sure you keep some of the spending habits that bring you and your family joy. You don’t have to make changes all at once. You can revisit the spreadsheet and make one change per month.
This should have created a great visual for you to see what you have coming in, what you have going out, and where you can make some changes to your habits.
#3 Review all of your contracts
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to just let the auto-renew of your annual contract with suppliers rollover. More often than not, with a simple search on the internet, you can compare suppliers and save hundreds of pounds per year. Just think where that extra money can go, for a little bit of time to switch contracts in return? Make sure you review all of your contracts, including your phone, internet, electric and gas provider. You should also do it on your items, such as life, house, travel and car insurance. If you don’t want to switch providers, you can tell them you have found a cheaper deal, and they may just match it.
#4 Shop consciously
Now you have reviewed everything you are currently spending, you will now need to consider what you will do moving forward. If you can spend a little effort shopping around before you buy, you can save yourself a lot of money. You should also consider reviewing websites such as NetVoucherCodes to save money on future purchases.
Here are some top tips to help you save money when you shop:
- Take a look at the different brands you are buying in the supermarkets, and see if there is a cheaper option
- Plan your meals before you go food shopping and only buy the ingredients that you need
- Save eating out as a family treat on the weekends rather than a regular occasion (you will enjoy it more this way too!)
- Shop at local businesses and thrift stores
- Make sure you will wear clothing more than once before you purchase it
- See if you can fix any items before replacing them with new ones
- Speak to friends and neighbours to see if there are items you can borrow before purchasing them
- Spend more spare time at local parks and beaches to utilise the benefits of nature
#5 Track your spending
Based on all of the information you have gathered, and the changes you have made to your spending, you should provide yourself with a monthly budget to stick to in each area of your spending.
As the month goes by, you should endeavour to track your spending. This means making a note of what you are spending your money on. At the end of the month, you can compare this to your budget. This will help you to see where you can make changes to your habits to meet your budget, or if you need to compensate somewhere else in your budget.
Creating a budget can seem daunting at first, but once you have created one, it can be easy to stick to, help you to save hundreds of pounds and reduce any stress you may have around your finances.
Hi, I’m Louise- mum of one to a little boy called Mason.
I am the Digital Marketing and Admin Assistant for MyBump2Baby.
I enjoy working to provide excellent service to MyBump2Baby’s growing families.
Nice to meet you!