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.
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.
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.
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.