Planning a family budget

Life has changed so much for us over the last twelve months, just like it has for everyone. As the pace of life slowed right down I realised just how much money I was wasting on things which aren’t at all necessary. I’ve gone a year without drinks from coffee shops on my daily commute and when I think about how much cash that’s saved me I can’t believe I used to spend so much. Inspired by Chantelle from Two Hearts one Roof’s recent Family Budget blog I’ve been making some changes.

Of course the occasional treat is good for the soul – and Arlo enjoys a hot chocolate when we are out and about just as much as me but I’m focused on keeping track of just how much money I’m not spending and putting that aside for rainy days using online Calculators. Now that things are back open it’s great to be able to use my savings fund to book tickets and support some of the places we love to explore.

Just this last week we took a trip to the coast for the first time in over a year and I managed to save myself a huge amount of money by booking a caravan instead of a hotel through a newspaper offer. This worked out better for us because the caravan park had all sorts of amenities available such as swimming pools and entertainment but best of all, it was self catered and so I wasn’t spending money on three meals and snacks – with lockdown only just ending I wasn’t sure quite what would be open so it’s a great idea all around.

I’ve been making the most of meal kits from companies such as Hello Fresh this year, using these helps me massively cut down on food wastage which is great for the environment. I love these because I can treat myself to something different without spending big on ingredients. In fact I checked my spending history in takeaway food apps – I can order four family meals for the cost of one of my average takeaway orders. The other plus is that I’m not going to the supermarket as much and adding extras to the basket which I don’t need. I took one of these to the caravan with us and I’m going to do this every time we go away.

I’ve also been using the internet to find discount codes and offers for family friendly days out – we managed to get a toddler and parent pass to Chessington theme park for a weekday price of £25 which saved £67. Being flexible with dates for activities and planning ahead, or alternatively looking for last minute deals is a great way to save.

I’m going to be spending a year on a student income, not having my corporate salary is going to be a big change for me and so making my savings work for me is a head scratching conundrum. I’ve worked out my monthly family budget and have been setting myself financial goals to work towards using this calculator – essentially it works out exactly how much to put aside each month to reach your goals and also factors in interest. Every time I save myself a little bit extra I keep track and now I’m finding it fun and exciting to try and beat my own goals. Stretching out my Sunday roast leftovers now has become somewhat of a weekly challenge.

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