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5 Easy Ways To Slim Down Your Budget

Budgeting is like dieting; we all know what we need to do! Whether it’s writing a shopping list and sticking to it, having friends over for a bbq instead of going to dinner, exercising and eating fresh food as opposed to processed, we know what needs to get done. However until a light bulb goes off we sometimes float in limbo wondering why we are not achieving what we so desperately need. This article is not necessarily a step by step guide on how to set up your budget but more about tips for mum’s out there that will save money.   Birthday Presents This has taken me a few years to execute properly however last year not only did this technique keep me sane but was super sweet to my wallet. I buy a calendar at the start of the year and write down everyone’s birthdays, when I mean everyone I MEAN everyone. I then write an amount next to that name, everyone is different. At the start of each month after I have calculated the total I first stop at the bank withdraw that exact amount and go shopping. Whatever is in my wallet is purely for gifts for that month. If I don’t have enough then I need to get creative!   Christmas Presents I’m not going to take the credit for this one as my friend Mary actually told me her secret after I witnessed numerous Christmas’ where she was spending all the holidays actually having fun as opposed to being in an overcrowded, noisy shopping centre! Around June/July we have mid year sales – she simply layby’s all the gifts for Christmas (after she has written a list of course) pays 10% and fortnightly returns putting a little bit more on the deposit. Not only has she purchased items on sale but budgets accordingly rather than fork out a lump sum at a very busy time in the year.   Wrapping Presents I used to think mothers exaggerated on all the birthdays they attended, until…well…it just happened. Being a mum, it seems I have at least 3 birthday parties on the weekend. Not only are there gifts but I have to buy either boxes, wrapping paper or bags to put these little gifts in. Lets just go with bags for the moment if I have to buy 3 bags a week at an average of $2 (@ your local $2 shop) That’s $6 a week….nothing right.? But what if in a month I was spending $24, and in a year it would total $312! That’s kids birthdays, what about siblings, parents, friends birthdays? Let’s not even mention Christmas. So my little tip of the day go to a second hand shop buy a few comics for 50 cents and start wrapping! Better yet kids love painting, buy some butcher paper and let their creative juices flow.   Buying in Bulk This one proved to be the hardest for my family as storage space in our little house was non-existent. Finding places to just put our clothes away become a bit of an ordeal. It was a light bulb moment that needed careful thought. In the end the carport became mine and with a revamp and a few cupboards I now go to Costco with a peaceful mind. Nappies, Laundry powders, serviettes, toilet paper, cleaning sprays; items that are not perishable are now bought every 3 months in my household. I buy enough to have and the biggest saving I have found is that my grocery bill is so much less because buying in bulk is cheaper.   Cooking Antics Preparing meals in advance really helps. Not only in saving money but saving you time also. I used to wonder the supermarket aisles just picking things up because they were appealing, not really thinking about what I wanted to cook. I would night after night stare at my pantry trying to figure out what to cook and if there was “nothing” I would make another trip to the supermarket. I did that on an average of twice a week not including my big supermarket trip. It was costing me more money and something I value as does everyone, my time. I write that list now like never before, but this takes time because first you need to write the meals you will be having every night for 7 nights – think of it as if you are some fancy schmancy chef jotting all the things on the menu announcing to all your customers of all the splendid meals you will be preparing.