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.