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January, Whats your Priorities?

For many January is a month of change, or refocusing, or starting resolutions and goals etc..and where all have them, for many they don’t last long or may evolve into something bigger and better. Thoughts on food, money, diets, Alchohol, cigarets etc can be on all our minds, some people plan holidays, plan moving houses, some are resided to January and February just being miserable months.

Our Family…

In our household its no different, maybe not to the extent of some of it, we don’t really drink, we don’t smoke, we haven’t got plans to move at the moment, but its no secret there’s been a lot of changes so in some ways there is a lot of things on our mind with this year. But one of the main focuses for January is our spending, for many December is an expensive month, and for us, it really is, in November all the kids birthdays happen, then December is Xmas along with boo Birthday and host of family members, needless to say, it is a horribly expensive 10 weeks, through in our efforts for Halloween and Xmas it can look frightening.

Whats our Plan?…

This year and especially January we are taking a much different approach, we have always been relatively careful with money, especially as I tend to look after the numbers but life happens and in reality, things get a bit lax from time to time, let alone a lot of expense that come out of nowhere that you don’t forecast, like cars, school travel, uniforms, birthday parties, school trips, school day (a post for another day).

With all this being said we have thought about and begun to keep spend to an absolute minimum, with me working less to look after the kids and Boo busy with her work we are ultimately always tight on money, as are many families and I thankful for not being in some unlucky families situation, as I say to many things can always be worse and you should be grateful for what you have, and we are. I have a google doc, this lists all the bills and expenses, it’s a great way to see our income and outgoings, I think banks and others offer this service but in reality you can easily do it, bring up your statements and bills which is mostly online and just enter them on your google sheet, (google if you are unsure how to use it). I put forecasts into things like petrol and food because ultimately I don’t know what we will exactly spend but I have a budget and a rough figure, trust me this is scary but also one of the most useful documents you could have in your house (computer), I’ve even dated when things come out so I can ensure things are moved to be in line with the incomings, or at least at the times of the months that I want.

With bills there are several I can’t change, council tax, for example, we pay end of…mortgages rents etc, are all difficult to suddenly just change, however, I imagine for some Mortgages is something that could help. however for normal bills lie water, power, telephone/TV, these can all be reviewed, many people always tell you on programs, articles etc..shop around, and ill be honest, you should, if you’re at the end of your contract on your phone, on you have looked at your TV deal like SKY, BT or as simply you have been with the same Energy provider for years and you simply think wow I’ve not looked at that for a while, then the chances are you will save some money. My plan for this year is to review ever bill, I know what I pay when I pay thanks to my document, so I can approach offers and new deals to endeavour to get them cheaper.

Petrol is an area I can’t really change, I have to use my car for work as there is no other option and for family trips out, our only major expense is often just the petrol as we tend keeps things as low as we can, which is the sacrifice for the use of the car. Over the last few years, we’ve tried to use offers where we ca for meals out on our trips, but there are some occasions when we could have brought food from home and taken advantage of pre prepping our food, we may have used offers to eat out but we would have saved more if we had provided food ourself, and we’ve been guilty of that.

But along with food like most people we get a bit lazy, there is the odd takeaway here and there, and there sometimes is our ill just buy that because its faster and easier for the kids for example, when we go shopping we would also have the same similar thought process cheat food, snacks, that ill like the look of that attitude, which can also be very hard to budget for. So to combat this we are sticking to a budget, and planning how much per meal per person is acceptable, I would encourage this for anyone if you can buy ingredients or components to make a meal at or below your budget then great, its ideal, I have to plan lunches and meals in advance not only because I’m that person that does, but financially it now makes sense to, same for me and Boo, we aren’t always eating the best and healthiest food, and we both want to eat more healthy and lose some weight, so this is a good time to review how much we spend and what we spend.

Final Thought…

Everyone has different budgets, incomings, outgoings, thoughts and ideas, and ultimately it’s up to you what you spend, I have friends that spend money left right and centre, but then others who are so tight, to tight that’s it’s just silly, but if that’s what they want to do then fine, and the same for you, I’m not going to tell you what you should do, but it is down to you to plan budget and spend, many people will give you advice, they gave me, and I’ve taken bits from several sources and have sets goals and plans for this year and this month, I need to cut down costs and spend more wisely. Personally, the document is the starter, everything leads from that, you know what you do, what you spend, what you can save, all from there, if there’s one thing I would want you to take away is that.

You?

Im more than happy to take any tips, if you have any? that can save money look at ideas, and get better planning and ideas.

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18 Comments

  • Reply john Adams

    Well liam, I took a long hard look at our finances a couple of years ago and made 1,200 of savings in a couple of hours. It was fascinating see where the savings could be made. We did away with Sky a while ago and we have also switched to shopping at the discount supermarkets which saves us an absolute fortune.

    January 21, 2020 at 2:10 pm
    • Reply Liam

      Food is one of our bggest expenses being a family of 5, so im playing the reduced and discount game recently, i have chest freezer to store the excess for later use, and going to supermarket at key times.

      January 23, 2020 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Sarah Bailey

    January is a good time to sit back and look on things for sure. I have been spending some time this month going over my bank accounts – yup I had too many, so closed some up and made sure I was getting the best amount for my savings too!

    January 21, 2020 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Samantha Donnelly

    It is always good to take stock and see where we can save money. Shopping is where I struggle but do try to keep it down. One thing I do is when cooking something chilli for example and rice I freeze half down so there is a meal for busy days or when you are trying to cut down on spending

    January 21, 2020 at 4:10 pm
  • Reply Nichola - Globalmouse

    I am writing down everything we spend, that’s really helping me as it makes us all more accountabile for what we buy and just knowing it’s going to be written down and taken off the budget will often stop me spending it!

    January 21, 2020 at 4:57 pm
  • Reply Brianne Tursi Manz

    First, may I say I love the Iron Man on your laptop! That is so cool. My husband and I set aside some time and go over what we’ve spent, and how we can save here or there.

    January 21, 2020 at 5:32 pm
    • Reply Liam

      I love Iron man!

      January 23, 2020 at 9:35 am
  • Reply Claire

    This some great advice. We use a spreadsheet for everything. Currently for household expenses, work we are having done on the house and wedding planning.

    It really keeps us in track x

    January 21, 2020 at 6:19 pm
  • Reply Joanna

    It’s always scary when you put down on paper all the bills you have to pay and see how little there is left to live. I wouldn’t know what to suggest as I struggle as well. I am lucky to have a very small car that doesn’t eat a lot of petrol so I fill up the tank every 5 or 6 weeks or so. Also, I always buy food that is on offer and then freeze it. It’s so much cheaper.

    January 21, 2020 at 7:19 pm
  • Reply Rebecca Smith

    We definitely need to sit down and work out our finances as we definitely need to cut costs. We have the same thing regarding birthdays and Christmas so it is a horribly expensive time of year.

    January 21, 2020 at 10:36 pm
  • Reply Rhian westbury

    With food just make sure you plan and batch cook where possible to have spare meals as this always keeps the costs down. And if you can start saving a little each week/ month towards birthdays and Christmas as it will save you spending as much during those months x

    January 22, 2020 at 10:02 am
  • Reply MissPond

    Last year I ditched some random stuff I didn’t need. I had some subscriptions I wasn’t really using (Disney streaming, Hula etc.) they all add up. We’ve also done a lot of switching of insurers etc. to save money, I have a Monzo card now which allows you to save your round ups, last year I saved over £200 just by rounding up every transaction!

    January 22, 2020 at 2:05 pm
  • Reply Yeah Lifestyle

    I am making this year, the year that I plan and follow the plan and budget to make my expenses a lot less. Knowing not to spend too much and not to be too thrifty is the key.

    January 22, 2020 at 7:18 pm
  • Reply Anosa

    January for many is often financially trying, like you guys, petrol is often my biggest expenditure outside normal household bills.

    January 23, 2020 at 6:04 am
  • Reply Jess Howliston

    We are similar to you guys in that we don’t really drink or smoke etc so can’t save money there. However I have found that using price comparison sites to change my utilities, using a cashback website when I do purchase things online and also meal planning. They all seem to be helping us save a little hear and there which I hope will help us save more in the long run!

    January 23, 2020 at 12:32 pm
    • Reply Liam

      We found the Meerkats app incredibly useful in saving money with food and cinema, and of course when it comes to renew our bills this year, totally agree.

      January 23, 2020 at 3:44 pm
  • Reply Emma

    January is a great time to sit back an prioritise as well as budget after the December excess. I am looking forward to pay day though

    January 23, 2020 at 7:04 pm
  • Reply Cassie Mayers

    Saving money is so tricky. I do try and make food last as long as possible. Im trying to help my boyfriend at the moment with his money, his biggest out going is petrol because its a 40 min drive to work each day, So I am trying to help organise his work so he doesn’t have to go in every day and can do some things from home.

    January 24, 2020 at 10:29 am
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