With Dot’s arrival only 12 weeks away the list of things we need really has to be tackled. I’m treating myself this time to things that I couldn’t justify with the Boys like a nursing chair and a Stokke Sleepi cot. The money has to come from somewhere so we recently sat down to work out just where our money went every month. It was a nightmare. We were sat surrounded by bits of paper, highlighting a bank statement and writing down in categories where we could save money. It wasn’t just for expensive baby stuff it was to give us all a bit of leeway each month and to really get a handle on our wasted money. It turns out (after about 3 hours work) that we waste A LOT of money. Like A LOT. Little trips to the corner shop or weekly/bi weekly takeaways soon mount up and we both realised that actually we would rather use that money for things that are a lot more useful to us.
If only we banked with Barclays. They have just introduced their new Money Tools service. It does pretty much exactly what we spent 3 hours doing but a lot quicker and shows you where your money is going on readable charts. It also has a budget planner and a place to set savings goals. Knowing exactly where your money is going definitely helps with knowing exactly how much money there is every month for little treats.
With the help of our new plan we started July with a firm budget and decided to try hard not to waste money but still buy the things we liked. The Hubby is on a weight loss program so we said initially that there would be NO takeaways this month but then figured that it wouldn’t hurt to have one as a treat. He wanted bits for his bike and I wanted bits for our holiday, we also had a nursery bill to pay before the child benefit was due which normally pays it so we knew we would be short for a few weeks.
Knowing what sort of budget we had for our food shopping made it really easy. We popped to Iceland and stocked up (none of their processed crap mind) and were surprised at how much food we managed to get for our money! Shopping there for frozen and at Lidl for fresh cut, our shopping bill in half. I stopped taking my bank card with me on the school run so couldn’t just pop in on the way back and waste money on treats to fill my evening (this will also help my waist line!) and we’ve stopped using the car so much. The Hubby cycles to work anyway but I had started to get lazy and was using the car to drive up the hill to school, little journeys like that are horrendous for fuel consumption. We have noticed two weeks in that the fuel gauge is a lot higher than usual!
Budgeting is hard work but extremely worth it in the long run. It is a lot of effort every month but with bank accounts that offer benefits like the Barclays Premier Banking Money Tools it’s extremely easy and you will be able to enjoy spending a little bit more money on yourself every month rather than on the boring necessities like bills.