The best way to take control of your money is through budgeting. Understanding where money is being spent in your household is essential. Budgeting can help you keep on top of all your bills and encourages you to put money towards future family goals and save. With the excitement of holiday season, it can be easy to overspend in unnecessary ways. Here are some of my family household budgeting ideas to help you save money over Christmas, as well as general tips and tools to budget and save your money.
I WAS ON THE NEWS! I shared some budget tips on Brisbane Channel 9 6pm news! For those that don’t live in QLD and may have missed it, you can view the segment here. They called me ‘Australia’s newest budgeting guru’ – woohoo!!
FAMILY BUDGET TIPS
Household living tips are rising, we really need to stop and look at how we are spending our money.
- First, you need to determine how much money you have or earn and how you have been spending it over the past few months. This will show the areas you are overspending and cut back your expenses.
- Meal plan. Not only does it save your sanity and help you know what your cooking during the 5pm busy afternoon rush, but it will save you time doing one shop a week rather than several trips. These ultimately end up costing you more money.
- Don’t buy lunch out. Make a sandwich at home instead and keep it in a cooler bag till it’s ready to eat.
- Make your own cleaning products. You only need inexpensive products. Keeping two ingredients, vinegar and bicarb, is cheap and they are healthier for the home.
- Disposable items can be convenient but not budget friendly. Use melamine plates rather than paper plates at your next picnic. Make your own reusable wipes rather than using paper towel or disposable wipes. When picking disposable items off the supermarket shelf, ask yourself if there is a reusable solution instead.
- Planning Christmas and birthdays months in advance will allow you time to shop savvy and possibly get the item you want when it’s on sale.
- Review your health cover policy. i.e. Don’t pay for obstetrics if you aren’t planning any more kids.
- If you buy something, make sure it goes with at least two other things in your wardrobe so you can get a few different outfits out of one item.
- Have friends and family over for dinner rather than going out. Ask everyone to bring a plate of food to help reduce the cost.
- Turn off lights and time showers. These will help you save energy and reduce your electricity/water bill.
CHRISTMAS BUDGET TIPS
Christmas really is the most amazing time of the year, but it can also end up being financially overwhelming.
- Chat with your extended family and discuss your gift budget, how much you are spending on the kids and if you are buying gifts for each adult. This is especially important in large families where the costs of buying a gift for every member of the family can soon add up.
- Instead of buying gifts for all adults in a group, do a Secret Santa where you draw one name from a hat, leave the name you choose a secret and place the gift under the tree with only the name tag of the recipient.
- Don’t take the kids Christmas shopping as this will cost you more money!
- Start thinking about creating your Christmas Meal plan now and purchase all the non-perishable items over the next few weeks, keeping your eye on the catalogues and purchase items as you see them on special.
- If you have family or friends coming over for Christmas lunch, ask them to bring a plate. This will take pressure off you and people are generally happy to contribute.
- Cut out unnecessary items like ribbons and bows from gift wrapping and christmas table cloths (a plain one can look just as nice). Don’t put up Christmas lights and this will save electricity bills.
- Re-use last year’s decorations.
- Go the shops with your list and only buy what you have planned. It’s when you start to detour away from your list that you start to exceed your budget.
- If you find what you wanted for somebody and it was on sale, don’t buy more to meet your budget. It’s just a bonus that you have saved!
- Consider the size of the Christmas cards you purchase. Standard sized Christmas cards only cost 60c, however anything wider than 12cm will cost you over double the postage.
The best way to budget is to write it down. To see it visually by calculating how much money you earn and spend will help you to create a savings plan. I use my bill organiser to keep my bills organised and to help plan out when they are due each month. Plus, I’ve only had it a week but I am absolutely loving my new Weekly Planner Pad. I can write down my dinner ideas based on our afternoon schedule. This ultimately helps to save time and stop wasting food.
BILL ORGANISER – Paperwork in the office can easily become a mess and get lost. Use the Bill Organiser to keep all your bills and receipts together in one place so you won’t forget to pay your bills. This Bill Organiser includes November 2016 – December 2017 calendars. Available in my shop here.
WEEKLY PLANNER PAD – My undated weekly planner pad has 60 tear off pages, enough space to add appointments, deadlines and things to do and plan your dinner ideas. It also has section which you can personalise yourself. i.e. To call, to email, a shopping list, etc. It’s up to you!
The planner includes a component where you can write down your top 3 priorities for the week ahead. i.e. clean the windows, drink more water, etc. Last but not least, there is a Tasks 2Do section where you can write down all the tasks that need to be completed for the week ahead with checkboxes, because we all find satisfaction from ticking a box!
Limited stock available – purchase here.
HOUSEHOLD BUDGET – An easy to use family household budget for Microsoft Excel is an essential tool for all families that are serious about tracking their spending and wanting to save. This spreadsheet will help you compare your actual spending to your intended budget each month. Read more about the Household Budget here.
CHRISTMAS PLANNER – The Organised Housewife 2016 Christmas Planner has a whole new look! With 70+ pages to keep all your checklists, planners, budget, recipes ideas and more together in one folder. No more losing notes scribbled on the back of envelopes, receipts somewhere on your office desk, this planner will help you cut through the clutter. Available in my shop here.