Budgeting is easy when you have a secure income, which isn’t likely to fluctuate. It becomes extremely difficult when you have a lack of money to go around, bills piling up and you need to allocate money to live. Amid the cost of living crisis, it is the perfect time to discuss this subject.
Following three years of insecurity with our finances, I wanted to write this post. Especially, in the current cost of living crisis, we now all face. It is time for me to get back on track with our family finances and prepare for higher living costs over the next few years.
Quick note: Some of the links contained on this page are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. I only recommend products I use myself and think would be useful for you. Where a referral link is included, I will note the benefit to both parties.
A mention before we get into the nitty-gritty
Before we dive into the post, I do want to say we should remember each person’s financial situation will be completely different. I’ve seen a lot of posts on Twitter lately with people publishing money-saving hacks that have faced criticism. Until you know a person well enough to understand the ins and outs of their finances, you really cannot judge. The cost of living crisis will impact us all differently.
Someone might have worked overtime for the last six months to prepare for the cost of living crisis. Therefore, they deserve to be comfortable throughout the period. Some people will struggle financially, and some won’t.
Whilst I will always do everything I can to help those in need (not just during this crisis), we must all look after our finances and mental health. If a meal out or coffee helps you feel better and maintains your mental health, then do it. If saving helps you sleep at night, put some work into a small savings plan. I would say it’s all about balance.
My background with financial difficulty
I have been on both sides of the argument. I recently struggled financially and before this, I had a reasonably well paying full-time job and was able to afford luxuries in life. Given the lessons I’ve learned over the last few years, I now feel more in control of our finances. With the cost of living only showing signs of getting worse, I need to avoid us falling into financial difficulty again.
In part one of the Working Mum Mini-Series, I provided the background to our financial uncertainty…
As you can see, a few changes to our circumstances resulted in financial difficulty, simply because we could not guarantee the level of income we would have and whether this would cover automatic payments for our bills.
How a change in circumstances can impact your finances
You don’t have to face a significant change in income to result in mismanagement of money. Any change can throw you off, and the cost of living crisis might bring unexpected changes. And I will be honest, making a money plan and working around these changes is exhausting and difficult to do. This is coming from someone who enjoys being organised and someone who is usually on top of the family finances. Unfortunately, when I suffered a mental breakdown, it just wasn’t something I could face. I am now on track to rectifying our financial situation, and thankfully we didn’t do too much damage during our period of difficulty.
For anyone in the same position right now, I want to provide some practical tips for saving money. Whether you have to make savings, or whether it’s something you want to do to allocate the money to a future goal or savings mission.
Read on for ALL the tips and tricks I am currently using and intend to have at my disposal to get through this tough time.
Mental health and finances
I honestly never expected a mental breakdown to impact other areas of my life, but I found myself with secondary problems. Simply because I wasn’t my best self and I was unable to perform the admin tasks I usually did to look after us as a family.
It is important to remember finances and mental health problems can be closely related. Regardless of which problem comes first.
Here are some resources if you are struggling
You can access a free budget planner here.
If you are managing debt repayments and struggling, there are details of a government breathing space scheme here.
My budget moving forward
Below are the measures I will personally be putting in place to survive the cost of living crisis. You need to think of it like this – every 50p or £1 you save all adds up over the month. If I do this for all the suggestions below, we are looking at £20-£30 extra monthly, and that is a lot of money. If I put some thought into a meal plan, I can use these funds for one weeks’ shopping for my family.
Download these apps, follow these links and set yourself up for free money and savings
Be frugal when food shopping
The best resource I know of is Jack Monroe. I am taking so much inspiration from her Twitter posts at the moment, simply because I want to meal plan, reduce food waste, try new recipes and frankly, spend my hard-earned money on something better!
Her campaigning has helped countless people and she is literally the Mother Teresa of this generation, helping everyone set to face difficulties with the cost of living. Tell everyone you know about her tips. She is also a force to be reckoned with, taking on supermarkets and holding the government to account. Exactly what the UK needs right now.
For those of you who have never made a meal plan before, I have created a meal plan for you.
Feel free to sign up for my freebie library and download all the freebies I have created for you, to hopefully make life a little easier.
During our recent staycation, we all got talking about the money-saving offers we’d found. It turns out my sister in law loves free money as much as I do. I think it’s a parent thing. Who doesn’t want some spends to go out and do great things with the kids?
She recommended this app to me and so far I love it. I’ve just reserved my first few boxes and I love that you can check the ratings other people have left. Now I have some weekdays free, I can go and collect the boxes with my little one and hopefully, it will save our family money on groceries. In anticipation of picking up a few boxes each week, I will buy less food in our weekly shop.
I will say, some of the collection times can be late in the evening and I have a car to go out and collect them. However, one of the places I visit is within walking distance. Have a look at your local area and see what is available.
Check out my haul below:
You will see I mainly picked up fresh vegetables, which I will use for my little one and slow cooker recipes. Convenience foods, which will save me a job in the evenings when making lunches for us for work. And a few luxury treats, which everyone deserves, regardless of their financial situation.
Out of interest, the hubby and I did some sums yesterday. I spent £7.29 on two bags. For the Marks & Spencer one, the original price for items would be £16.80. If I visited the garage and got the sticker prices in the evening, it would be £6.05. The Too Good To Go price works out at £4.00. So you are saving money.
I am writing this post, whilst the hubby made a fab tea out of the bits we picked up. The couscous and vegetables were all used to make a yummy meal, which feels like a Chinese takeaway, but is much better for us! He took the pictures just in time for this post.
Check out the app today. It’s completely free.
Use cashback apps when shopping
I will be cutting back on online shopping, but there are some unavoidable purchases. Such as household items or birthday presents. When purchasing anything online, get in the mindset of using cashback apps. Again this is free money you could be claiming, to add towards your future purchases.
Download Airtime Rewards for free with my code L7BTH9EJ and save money off your phone bill every time you shop with brands like Boots, Greggs, Wilko, Argos and loads more
Have several banking accounts
When we were managing money well as a family, we each had two bank accounts. One for bills and one for spending. We both take advantage of money offers and set up other savings accounts to keep a section of money for a rainy day.
Below are some of the best money offers I’ve recently signed up for
Monzo is a great money app. It integrates on your phone with other apps and makes purchases and money transfers easy. You can also set spending limits, track your spending and set up savings.
I mainly use the account for matched betting, but moving forward, my hubby and I will be using it for spending and to track what we buy. It’s great for assessing whether you can cut costs on your monthly spending.
Sign up using my referral link and we each receive £5.
As a couple, we both love using this fun way to save money. You cannot lose what you put in, but so far I have added over £9.00 in winnings from their daily games and my partner has £7.00 (he signed up a little later than me). There is no current savings account on the market that would allow you to accrue these extra funds. And this is the reason we both love EverUp so much.
Sign up using this link AND my add referral code RSAM271407UYQYDO and we each get 500k coins. These can then be spent playing the savings games to add to your overall balance.
By using the AI savings option, I’ve saved over £100 and haven’t missed the money being taken from my account. I know this amount is safe, stored away for a rainy day.
You can sign up using this link to download the app. Make sure you head to the “Promos & Referrals” section on your profile and enter the code CHIP-LKW818. You will receive £10.00 and so will I.
Free money and a great way to save!
In this post, I mention matched betting with Profit Accumulator. So far, I’ve made over £100 from logging on a few times a week and completing offers. Although, I have a long way to go with sign up offers and learning new techniques (all relevant online training videos and instructions are provided on the membership platform).
I plan to spend more time on the platform to increase earnings. There are people on the forum consistently earning £200-300 and if you put the work in, you can earn £1000.00 monthly. It all depends on your situation and the time you can dedicate.
My blog post also talks about other side hustles, and if it’s something you can dedicate time to, it could help you during the cost of living crisis.
Until next time
I hope you enjoyed reading this post.
Do you have any money-saving tips to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Part 3 of the Working Mum Mini-Series
Stay tuned for part 4 next week!
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