Managing Your Household Budget

Managing your household budget with Cup of Toast

Running a household can be an expensive business. There are bills to be paid, essential maintenance work, grocery shopping and more to contend with. This is before you get to entertainment packages, soft furnishings and new clothes. We can all do with a little help to make ends meet, so I am sharing my top tips for keeping my spending within budget.

Shop around for your household bills

I know that this is written about time and time again but it really does make a difference. Don’t always accept the first quote either. Sometimes I can find a cheaper online quote for an existing insurance policy than the one noted on my renewal letter. One quick call and invariably the online version is honoured, sometimes with an added extra for the inconvenience. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Make a spreadsheet

Log all of your regular monthly and annual outgoings in one place. At a glance, for example, I can see that for one reason or another July is our heaviest month financially. This means that I know immediately that I need to be extra careful through the first few weeks of the school summer holiday with planned outgoings. This might also help to pin point any unnecessary expenses such as a policy you forgot to cancel or a gym membership that you never use.

Meal plan

This can make such a difference, both to your budget and to any waste food. Plan ahead to work out what you’re eating and when, and whether you can make extra portions to save for a later date. Take care to plan some meals in that can be easily frozen or use up cupboard stock, so that if anything unexpected crops up, like illness for example, fresh food doesn’t spoil. Try online food shopping too, so that you’re not tempted by those end of aisle special offers. These are some of our budget meal choices: Cup of Toast Budget Family Meals

Use cash

Sure, you might not want to walk around with a wad of money in your pocket, but using cash even just withdrawing a certain amount every day can help to keep you on track. All of a sudden those little treats like a snack when you’re out and about start to noticeably stack up.

Hunt for second hand bargains

From charity shops, to car boot sales, eBay, to Facebook marketplace, there are all sorts of places that you can find preloved goodies. Take advantage of other people’s clear outs to stock up your wardrobe and buy bargain birthday presents, kitchen utensils, new furniture and more.

Be flexible

Expecting the unexpected is very important when budgeting your finances. Set aside an amount each month, however small, to pay for a sudden expense. If it isn’t needed, you can add the money to your savings pot at the end of the month.

Prioritise your income

In my opinion there is not a huge amount of point building up your savings pot on the one hand if you have a pile of existing debts on the other. I’m not suggesting that you stop all long term payments. You will be grateful for your pension, for example, in later life. With the exception of considering my above point about flexibility, your short term savings can be put on hold for a while though. This will give you time to pay off any overdrafts, credit cards or loans that you have. Pay them off as regular monthly amounts too, to make them easier to manage. Paying these off not only eases pressure but avoids incurring any hefty interest payments.

Get help

If your outgoings are all getting too much to handle get some professional help. The experts in this field can help you to look at your existing bills and financial obligations, along with your long term saving goals and future plans. They will have seen it all, so whatever you think about any financial muddle that you might be in, they are there to help not to judge.

 

These are my top tips, but what are yours? Do let me know in the comments!

 

Manage Your Household Finances with Cup of Toast

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24th July 2018

18 comments

Some great tips here 🙂 Having a family and running a home can be financially difficult at times but often making little changes like those you have described can make a real difference #Blogstravaganza

Thank you Denise 🙂

These are all really great points – especially carrying cash. Another one is also using ebay, gumtree and facebook selling groups to sell on things we no longer use and provide a few pennies for our notes and nuggets tin 🙂

#Blogtravaganza

Oh yes, great tip! We do that too, it brings in some handy pocket money 🙂

Some really good advice here, Jo. I rely too much on my card and you’re right, physical cash will allow me to keep track of what I’m spending my money on. I agree with you on meal plans too. I try to keep one week to week and when I slip, I find so do my habits and it ends up being so difficult that week, planning a meal day to day. So much better to plan in advance and shop accordingly #Blogstravaganza

Thank you Rosie. It’s funny how much of a difference it makes carrying cash instead of handing over the plastic for each shop.

Meal planning saves us so much money. It knocked about £30 a week off the food shop! #Blogstravaganza

It’s amazing how much you can save by planning in advance isn’t it!

I use Money Dashboard https://www.moneydashboard.com/ You link it to your bank accounts and it analyses your spending. It separates expenses into categories e.g. food, entertainment, holidays. It helps me to understand just how much I spend on food, then manage my spending more efficiently. #Blogstravaganza

That sounds handy, thanks for the tip. We have a spreadsheet for doing the same thing, really helps to target our attention.

With the cost of everything seeming to increase I am forever reviewing our sending habits. I love a good spreadsheet! Meal planning is new to me and something that I have decided that we need to do. I found I was buying random things shopping and then wasting so much. I’m only a week in on the meal planning so fingers crossed we see a saving! #Blogstravaganza

That’s exactly why I switched to meal planning too. I hope you get on well with yours!

I’m all for sticking to a budget, meal planning is a huge help when we want to save cash. I’m all for shopping around for absolutely everything too, I like to know I’ve got the best price I can! Another fabulous post fellow #Blogstravaganza host xx

I could definitely get better at shopping around. At one time my Mum used to be able to tell me which was the cheapest place for fruit and veg by price and overall with quality included in the calculation, for store cupboard items, and for cleaning products. Something to aim for! xx

Great tips here. I think just setting a realistic budget can also help.
#blogstravaganza

Yes, I totally agree. Being aware of your budget can really keep you on track.

I like the spreadsheet idea and may have to give that a go. I agree with the using cash hint too that helps me keep a track #blogstravagaza

The spreadsheet really does help me to keep on top of things and manage my finances across the year. I’d recommend setting one up!

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