I’m feeling really positive about the progress that I’ve made on my money saving mission for 2017. I have wanted to improve my finances for a long time but with pretty mixed results. In January I wholeheartedly committed to working to improving my money management. No more vaguely wishing that my money would go further! I decided to get very specific about what I was aiming for financially. I wrote down an amount of money I wanted to have in my bank by a specific date and went for it! It has really focused my mind seeing every pound that I spend is a step away from my money goal. Here’s are a few things that have worked so far………
I have been diligently planning our meals at the beginning of the week. No more mealtime winging it from now on. I had been popping into our local supermarket, Tesco Express, nearly everyday. Buying bits and pieces everyday soon added up. It was especially expensive as they mainly sell branded and premium products. I also wasn’t paying attention to the cost as it was happening in lots of smaller transactions.
Menu planning hasn’t just been financially beneficial it is making life so much easier! It is so much more relaxing knowing what we are going to eat each day. I don’t have that moment of standing in the supermarket wracking my brain for food inspiration. We are eating more varied meals because I’ve put a bit more thought into what we are going to eat. I think we are also eating more food cooked from scratch as I have thought ahead and got the ingredients.
I love not having to take the kids round the supermarket everyday. Who needs all that nagging for treats and magazines, running off, eating things, deciding they need the loo………..and on the worst days lying on the floor and screaming! (the boys not me!)
Feeding a family of 5 can be really expensive so any money that we can save on food shopping makes a big difference. We are now doing one big shop a week and have switched from shopping at Tesco to shopping at Aldi. I have been really impressed at the quality of the products that we have tried so far. On average works out around 40% cheaper. The results have been great – I am spending at least £100 less per month on food.
Curbing the cafe trips
I’ll be honest this hasn’t been my favourite money saving measure but it has saved an absolute tonne of money. I had been going to my works canteen or a nice cafe near my office most work days. I also popped out for a cheeky latte whenever I was in the office. I was taking the kids out for lunch at least once a week. I was eating a tonne of money! I’ve scaled right back to the occasional cafe trip. Although it pains me to admit this it is actually more enjoyable now that it is a genuine treat.
Switching energy providers
I spent a bit of time one Sunday evening looking into how much we were spending on gas and electricity. It turned out we could get a much better deal with a different provider. I suspected we could save money on our utility bills but thought it would be boring and complicated to sort out. It was surprisingly quick and easy to do. I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner as this should save us around £200 per year.
I have found the biggest benefit of my money saving efforts has been the change in my thinking about money. It has taught me that you don’t need to splash tonnes of cash to have really lovely family experiences. It does take a little bit of planning and researching to get good deals. For example if we are having a day out or eating out I will quickly google for a voucher code beforehand. We have had lots of gorgeous picnics with the kids on sunny days, which have been just as lovely as going to a cafe.
When you stop looking for the next thing to buy it opens your eyes to what lovely things that you already have. I have been finding as many little pleasures from everyday life as I can. It is so satisfying to wear my good perfume on the school run and eat my morning toast off my nicest plates and use my luxury Spanish hot chocolate flakes for a bedtime treat. It has made me appreciate more than ever that the best things in life are things that money can’t buy.
I’m sure there are lots more tricks and ideas that I can try out. Next on my hit list is seeing if I can cut my mobile phone bill and reduce the cost of our Sky package. I will do another update in a couple of months about how my money saving mission is going. If you have any ideas of extra things that I can try please let me know in the comments section.