With Christmas only 12 weeks from today and my position being severed at the end of November, it’s time for this family to start saving hard!
This means making changes to the weekly budget and management of household cashflow, starting with the ever-dreaded Excel Spreadsheet. Now, no one likes sitting down and working out what the quarterly bills amount to, the kids’ swimming lessons and groceries but it has to be done in order to determine what you’re actually saving each week, fortnight or month. If you’re a novice in this area, there are some great websites out there that can give you a helping hand, such as:
- Microsoft’s Family Month Budget Planner
- Vertex42’s Family Budget Planner
- Money Help’s Budget Planner
Hubby and I have been very strict on our budget and even worked out a small quarterly allowance for items such as clothing and gifts, so nothing has been overlooked or left out. We have of course ensured we have money leftover for a rainy day or unforeseen circumstances. Our aim is to save for renovations and make do on one wage for a short period of time but your aim may completely different to ours – by way of example, you may want to travel, save for a house or buy a new car.
Here’s some of my savings tips for budgeting:
- Work out what your weekly expenses are and withdraw that amount of cash only from the ATM. You can then draw from this money only during the week to pay for items e.g. petrol, groceries, takeaway food. Anything leftover is a bonus and then goes towards the following week. I separate this money even further into labelled pencil cases e.g. groceries.
- Give yourself a weekly allowance. Hubby and I give ourselves each a $50 allowance each week (as part of the weekly expenses amount). This goes towards any food purchased at work and a weekly entertainment budget e.g. coffee with friends, hiring DVDs etc.
- Plan your meals ahead of time. Sit down and work out what you’re going to cook for the week and the groceries you will need purchase to cook said items. You may wish to review grocery catalogues online for the week and see what’s cheap to work out meals around those items. Don’t buy items that will stretch over your grocery budget. There was a woman on A Current Affair who had some great tips the other night that may help. Click here to view the story.
- Visit your local Farmers Market. Farmers Markets are great on the weekend for picking up great produce at a bargain price. Don’t be afraid to haggle, this can save you money too.
- Keep a loose change bowl. It’s amazing how all the loose change adds up. Once you have a significant amount, visit your local bank and ask for change bags to collate it and bank it.
- Forums also have some great savings tips for members. I myself joined Simple Savings a couple of years back and have learnt some great things over the time.
Budgeting is not meant to be easy by any means but it will help you achieve your plans and dreams from life. Happy Saving!!!