Friday, July 01, 2016
What I'm Currently Saving For & My Top Money Saving Tips ♥
However, now that I'm a mother of two I thought it was high time that I began seriously thinking about my finances and managing them in a way that wasn't wasteful and instead, beneficial to my young family and I. I'm saving for a lot of things at the moment and although it can be hard to budget everything in at times - there always seems to be an unexpected item to buy or a bill these days - I believe that I have to try and save something and cut costs back as much as I possibly can.
Jacek has booked our summer holiday, our first as a family of four and I'm trying to save up some spending money for us. Thankfully, the holiday is on a half-board basis so breakfast and dinner is included, it's just lunch that we'll have to pay for and that's quite manageable for me. There's also two places that Jacek would like to take a trip to whilst we're on holiday so I'd like to be able to pay towards them too.
I've been wanting to take Jacek away for his birthday in November again. Last year we went to Amsterdam and we love the city so I'd love to go back there with him. I've been looking up the cost of flights and accommodation and hopefully, if things go to plan, we'll be able to go back there for a mini-break.
Something I've mentioned on the blog before is that I need a new car. I really don't drive much - usually just to do the school run and take the boys to the soft play, etc. and although I'm managing with a three door car for the moment I can see it becoming harder once Beau gets older too. I'd like a reliable five door with adequate space for both boys car seats and room for the buggy to go in the boot as well as any shopping or other bags we may have too. Right now I can just about fit my pram into the boot but have no space for anything else.
Jacek and I have been talking seriously about saving up for a mortgage - something I've been wanting to do for quite a while now, and this is something that we really have to save for. I find it so wasteful to be paying out rent for a house that we're not particularly fond of or that we can't call our own, so getting a mortgage would be an absolute dream and it's something we're now striving towards for us and our boys.
So how do I save money? Well, I'd like to think I'm quite thrifty, or frugal, whichever way you want to look at it. I'm one of those people who hates spending over €20 for an item of clothing and will always look around for deals, sales or bargains when it comes to things we need. Here are my money saving tips:
1. Use discount vouchers and codes to reduce the cost of what you want/need to buy
When shopping online I always look up discount codes for websites before making a purchase because if one is available then I'd rather use it and not have to pay full price for something. There have been many times when I've looked for a code on a whim and found one, so you never know when there's a discount to be had - always look! One site I use for codes and savings offers is promovouchers.co.uk - they have offers available for lots of well known sites and high-streets shops including John Lewis, Boots, Lowcostholidays, etc. They also have an app available for checking offers when on the go.
I purchase from Etsy a lot too (I can never resist the vintage loveliness on there) and always check the shop bio for any discount codes as sellers usually pop one up to clear stock.
2. Budget, budget, budget!
This is something that Jacek is amazing at, he budgets for everything and it really does help to save money. Writing down your monthly income and totaling up all your outgoings can help you to see what your left with and what you can save out of that leftover money. Budgeting like this can also help you to not overspend on any one bill as it creates a target to stick to. We have a strict food budget and budgets that we like to stick to for electricity, gas, petrol, etc. too.
3. Set up a savings account and contribute to it weekly/monthly
I used to never have a savings account and I'm kicking myself about this because I know that if I had had one sooner I would have actually contributed to it and would have had a bit saved up by now. Last month I opened credit union accounts for my boys and I and plan on contributing to them on a month basis. It was actually a bit of a thrill depositing money into the accounts and seeing the savings figure on our books - money that I know I won't touch because it's not readily available. I've already begun thinking about how much I'll be depositing into the accounts this month and I know it'll be great seeing the savings stack up - especially the boys ones as I don't plan on letting them touch those savings until they're eighteen.
4. Have a month-long spending ban
This is something which has really helped me in curbing my spending as I used to always impulse buy things just because I thought that I really needed them - turns out I didn't buy the way judging by all the makeup just left untouched in boxes in my bedroom... Buy putting yourself on a spending ban you begin to really think about the purchases you're making, asking yourself if you really need them and actually thinking about the purchase instead of just diving in and wasting money that you could have saved. Seeing the savings you're making from not buying anything unnecessary is actually makes you feel great too, honest!
5. Sell unwanted/unused items
This is something I've been doing the past month to try and save up for all the things I've listed above. I've begun selling the clothes Beau has already outgrown, as well as some things we never used and I've already made €100. I'll be honest, it can be hard letting things go, I thought long and hard about selling the Peter Rabbit photo prop I featured him in for his one month old photos, but he hated wearing it so what was the point in holding onto something that will never be used again? Seeing the money build up to put towards things I really want has been great - as has seeing the house get a decluttering too.
6. Shop in the sales
This is a relatively easy way to save money and if I'm honest, I usually wait until there's a sale to buy something as I hate paying full price for things. Some places seem to have a permanent sale on, particularly Debenhams and Mothercare, and I always pick up clothes for the boys in the sale. I've even seen some of my fellow bloggers shop in the recent sales for Christmas gifts - I'm not that organised but kudos to them for availing of the savings!
So those are my money saving tips and things I do on a weekly basis. Hopefully I'll be able to start crossing things off my savings list by the end of the year and move forward in life.
Have you got any money saving tips that you stick to?
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