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Comments 16

#KnowYourMoney

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I have been a single mum for four months now and I’ve learned more about how to manage my money in this time than I had in the 10 years I was married.

Being responsible for our budget, expenditure and savings was a very scary thing when I started at the end of October last year but slowly yet surely, I’m getting the hang of this, I think.

The first thing I did was keep a very close eye on our bills and reduce them whenever possible. I changed my mobile phone provider and the gas provider as soon as we moved in as I found better deals with competitors. This resulted in a saving of over £20 per month, with very little effort.

Keeping a close eye meant also eliminating unnecessary direct debits. In October we still had both Netflix and Now TV billed to my account but upon realising that we rarely used the Now TV I decided to cancel our monthly subscription, saving another £10 per month!

I decided to keep my Amazon Prime subscription and bought an Amazon Fire TV stick, as I deemed the £39.99 investment worth the money long term. My judgement proved right as the Amazon Fire stick comes not only with a host of movies and series to watch but also with a Netflix account usage option, making our evenings in the house much more entertaining! Emma has numerous series saved as her favourite on Netflix which means she rarely runs out of options and is never bored when home. I also can relax in the evenings with a good movie when she is in bed, and all at no additional cost!

I then turned my attention to our food bill. I love variety in our diet and we consume loads of veggies and fruit on a weekly basis so I took to shopping in Lidl for those. When it comes to meat, I kept an eye on deals at the meat counters and also hunted for yellow stickers in supermarkets. I buy our canned and dry goods in Home Bargains, as their prices are the best and usually their products are great quality.  This strategy has been working like a charm, our freezer is always bursting with good quality meat which has been purchased at great prices and our food bill rarely goes over £40 per week now.

When it comes to clothing, I have been an expert at shopping in sales for years now and that hasn’t changed. This year, I scoured the internet for good deals for Emma and ended up bagging a lot of great items for her next season’s wardrobe from shops like Joules and Boden. For myself, I am still enjoying a very generous discount with Joules as a blogger so all my tops get bought from there now. My jeans and the rest of my wardrobe come from Primark or H&M, as they are usually cheap and can be replaced seasonally without great expense.

The scariest part has been thinking of savings and finding a way to save money for holidays in the summer. I have decided to set up an account for Emma and start depositing her child benefit in there every month. I realised that by saving the £82 per month religiously will create by the time she is 18 a golden egg of more than £10,000 (!!!) which she’ll be able to use to get herself a wee car or start her student life quite comfortably.

This year, we’ll most likely holiday with family in Romania or France, Emma is quite excited about seeing her grandfather as she hasn’t been there since she was 2! Going home for our holidays and staying with either my parents or my brother will mean saving on accommodation and food bills but I do hope in a few years’ time Emma and myself will have a proper holiday together.

 Swiftmoney.com have invited bloggers to share their money knowledge and expertise with their readers as part of their #KnowYourMoney campaign. What are your own tips and experience, would you mind sharing with my readers?

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Swift Money and I have been compensated for taking the time to put it together.

This entry was posted in: Writing

by

Mum of one beautiful girl on earth and one sweet baby boy in heaven. Daughter of a wonderful woman. Wife of a very entrepreneurial man.

16 Comments

  1. Oana, you have done so well in such a short space of time and it will definitely get easier. I have been with my husband since I was 15 years old, and since we first moved in together when I was 20, I have been in charge of money, bills and savings. He’ll be the first to admit he is rubbish at all of that sort of thing and really isn’t responsible with money. Not intentionally, he just doesn’t think and would often go and withdraw £200 from his bank account so to have cash on him and have absolutely no idea what he had spent it on once it was gone. We have 2 bank accounts, one f my husbands wages goes into and the other all the bills come out from. I have Internet banking and a weekly diary that I write each direct debit on and any other upcoming bills, such as insurance, tax or mot’s. I transfer enough of his wages every week, often a bit extra, to cover any payments being taken the following week. Anything left in his account is then technically spare, and I either move it into our ISA or leave it there and use it for the grocery shopping. I also try to buy the kids next season clothes in the sales, but I rarely buy myself or my husband new clothes as we seem to have a lot already and I only tend to replace stuff that either no longer fits of has been worn and washed so many times its falling apart. We often get given money by family at birthdays and Christmas so any that is for my husband and I gets put aside to treat us to a night out or holiday spending money and the kids gets put into their Isa’s which they can’t touch until they are 18. I do most of my shopping in Aldi now and for the 4 of us our weekly shop in usually around the £60-£70 mark, depending on how many treats I’ve bought that week. We also buy lots of fruit and veg so I buy lots and keep it in a separate fridge as it keeps so much longer. Just make sure that you never auto renew on any insurance policies you may have, I always get new quotes for our house and car insurance and save several hundred £’s in doing so. And also shop around for better phone and utility supplier deals. Luckily we usually holiday with my parents and they are in a good financial position so pay for the children to go on holiday and we just have to pay for my husband and I, which enables us he freedom to holiday abroad every year. Although secretly I’d love family abroad that we could visit and stay with, we do have cousins in New Zealand but unfortunately the cost of flights and travelling with 2 young children has meant we haven’t yet made the trip over to stay with them. Your doing a fantastic job Oana xxx

  2. I really need to get better at money saving, I absolutely suck. I spend way to much money on unnessary things, and then complain when I have none left. Being a mother has definately made me think a lot more about what I am spending and how I can save more money. I recently cancelled our netflix subscription as I rarely watch it anymore. All those little savings soon add up! xx

  3. My husband is really good at doing all of the switching of energy providers etc. I focus on the food bill etc and sometimes I am really good. It takes a lot of planning though so some weeks I am terrible at it and spend a lot.

  4. Cass@FrugalFamily says

    I love the idea of putting Emma’s child support in an account – I’m thinking of doing similar with mine but at the moment I mostly spend it on things to do with the kids x x

  5. Going home for your holidays will be lovely. I really should sit down and look at our finances and see where I can save some money. Definetely with things like sky etc x

  6. it is amazingly easy to save money if you take a step back and asses things, well done! Its inspiring to read about money, I know alot of people like to hide details of their finances but its really important for it not to be taboo. Thank you for the tips on amazon fire and netlix too- i’ll probably be doing the same!
    xx all the best xx

  7. Loved this post! What a great and easy read! Me and my husband are always trying to find ways to save money…. but also enjoying life! Whether it’s travel abroad for £20 or switching bank accounts to save £800 we love it!

  8. Wow great post! This summer we will get pur baby, that means we also need to make plans for saving money. So thanks for your advices, i think a lot of things a can also change to save money. Especially with shopping 🙂

  9. sartorialsecrets88 says

    Loved this post! I’ve been having a bit of trouble managing my finances well, and these tips are so helpful.

  10. Managing the money is something that I do in our family. It’s all about the budgeting haha 😀 Excel is pretty helpful!
    You’ve done so well!

  11. Very good tips on how to look at where the money is flowing out. Did the same exercise with my finances and was easily able to cut down on unnecessary items.

  12. Thanks for sharing this, even with me making a shopping list and having a discount card I still manage to get our food shop at nearly £100 per week! I definitely need to start being more money wise

  13. ChelseaMamma says

    I got myself in so much money trouble when I was a single parent. Thankfully I am older and wiser these days but it can be a real struggle. Glad you are managing your money well

  14. You’ve come up with some fabulous ideas here that I’ve used for years (hence, you and I must both be fabulous). I hope you both enjoy your holiday this year. It sounds just what you need x

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