Life throws us all curveballs and, it wasn’t so long ago that the hubby and I had a few financial issues. Now, this is something that all couples deal with. Finances are not easy and it is so easy to slip up, especially if you are a 38 year old female with a slight weakness for cosmetics and clothing. When David first advised me that I would have a weekly spending budget of £100 I was, frankly, scared shitless. I say ‘advised’ but, in actual fact, there was nothing advisory about it. I had to make it work but how? There was no way it would cover my own excessive shopping habits let alone food, fuel and emergency boy bits. I had no choice! Change had to happen! So, how do you live and manage a home on a budget? Here is what I have learnt…
Please note that everything I say here is clearly from my own experiences as a wife, mother and home maker. I am certainly not a financial advisor, maybe closer to a shopping advisor 🤔😂 but no, definitely not a financial advisor.
Establish a Plan
“Do I Need These”
First off, establish a meal plan and only buy what you need. You know how I love a good plan. Maybe adopt the philosophy of Becky Bloomwood – Confessions of a Shopaholic: ‘Do I need these?’ When you reach for that second bottle of White Zinfandel on the shelf ask yourself, ‘do I need it?’ You should probably ask yourself before the first but then, if you are raising boys the answer will always be YES, YES, YES, but do you really need another one? Think about the consequences. Think about that bank balance. Then, think about what happens when you reach the end of that first bottle and realise YES, you really do need that second one.
My philosophy is… If you can justify it, go with it! David probably wouldn’t agree.
He doesn’t agree with most of what goes on in my head but I’m sure he will agree with my main point which is to plan, plan and, yes you guessed it, PLAN. As long as you plan out your week’s food bill you can reduce what you spend.
Speaking of reducing what you spend, I usually shop in the likes of Lidl and Aldi but, it is useful to shop around for the cheapest buys. Things like toilet roll, kitchen roll and cleaning products can sometimes be found cheaper in B&M or Home Bargains. Sometimes you can buy in bulk and save some money in the long run. Plan in advance and you can’t go wrong. With this method it is also important to remember to stick to your list. Don’t be swayed by the ‘Middle of Lidl’ aisle and try to shop local. It’s always good to conserve fuel and help the environment.
Reduce Fuel Consumption
Walk when you can. Ask yourself ‘Do I need to take the car?’ Well, I live in Scotland so the answer to this question, most days, is YES. It rains in spring, it rains in summer, it rains in autumn and yes, it RAINS in winter. In fact, it pretty much rains all year round. We have very predictable weather in that more often than not, you can predict rain.
Of course, I do try and walk the boys to school when I can but come on; it’s so hard chasing 2 boys down the street, trying to stop them from narrowly avoiding being hit by a parked car, let alone a moving one. For most of us parents, we choose the easy way out. One battle at a time please! Don’t you agree?
Manage Extra Costs
Speaking of battles, Tink has Karate twice a week and this costs money too. How do you live and manage a home on a budget when you have all these potential extra costs?
Everything costs something. Thankfully, his club is a super affordable £2 a week but then we have football, swimming and school costs to consider, not to mention, any unexpected costs such as sponsor money and the window cleaner. I try and budget for these and, each week, keep some loose change close to hand.
My advice is to look at these as monthly costs and try and pay in advance if you can. Most clubs don’t object to payment in advance. Who would? In addition to weekly/monthly fees we also have those unexpected clothing costs.
Justify Your Purchases
Clothing has always been my weakness. I cannot resist a little look online at the likes of New Look, Silk Fred and River Island, usually fighting the urge to buy. This is another reason why I shouldn’t buy that 2nd bottle of wine; if my inhibitions are lowered, my bank account is too. I keep telling myself to focus on the boys and look for things that they might need. This way I still satisfy the shopaholic within but, can justify the purchase.
With kids it is guaranteed that you will, at some point, need to buy replacement school uniforms, jeans, joggers and t-shirts. I find that my boys wear through the knees of their trousers super fast. They are ALWAYS crawling about the ground. Just the other day, we were out a walk and Tink decided it would be appropriate to do cartwheels along the pavement. Kids are so RANDOM at times!
Prioritise Your Purchases
As long as you can give good justification for the purchase then go ahead and buy. Oh and, I don’t mean with the likes of, “I just need that little skirt for summer” when it’s the middle of winter. Good reasons would be if your pants are full of holes or if the kid’s jeans now look like a pair of shorts. Ask yourself, do we need it now; you need to prioritise your purchases when given a budget.
Buy what you need urgently as in, if the kids clothes are too small, then that is urgent. Buying clothes 4 months in advance is not a priority. The hubby will probably read this and ask me when the last time I followed my own advice was. He’ll smugly get told all the time but then again, it’s only human to slip up every so often. I’m ‘only human’ quite a lot!
Thankfully, school uniforms, football strips and Karate Gi’s would be classed as a ’need to buy’ in our household. The hubby doesn’t object to this and will provide me with extra funds if needed. He doesn’t object too much where his boys are concerned but, I do miss having my own income.
How do you live and manage a home on a budget when you do not earn your own income? Well it’s important to talk about it. It’s important in any marriage to be open and honest, especially with your finances. If you need something but don’t have sufficient funds then don’t be afraid to discuss the situation with your other half. You are, after all, in it together. For tips on the secret to a successful marriage click here.
Managing on One Income
I do find it hard to constantly have to rely on him to pay the way. In a way it makes me feel so backwards. I’ve always been so independent and the last thing I want to do is rely on a man to, well basically look after me. I’m fully capable of looking after myself, most of the time. I do tend to fall on my ass quite a lot.
When you are managing a house on one income then you need to have full financial awareness. There were times in the past when I did not know what he had in his bank account. You see we each have our own accounts but then we also have a joint account. We have made it work but it has taken years to fully come to terms with what the right method is.
He transfers money when the bills are due and gives me my weekly budget. At the moment we are in a better place so have a little extra cash to splash but I do still try to budget. If you take away anything from this post then take away this. Always try to spend less. If you have a budget of £150, aim to spend £100. Likewise, with my budget of £100, I try and spend £80. Anything you save can carry forward and be used for any emergency costs later on.
So, how do you live and manage a home on a budget? The important thing to realise is…
It CAN be done!