Thank goodness for saving as if we had not been putting a little away each month we would of been hit really hard over Christmas with various things going wrong in the house as well as expecting our second child. In our family I am far more cautious and tend to think ahead while John is a bit more spontaneous with regards to purchases and yet we are the opposite when it comes to travel and adventures. Although since becoming parents we have over the years tried to hit a middle ground as when you have a household to run and kids to clothe, feed and entertain, too many unfortunate expenses can suddenly put a lot of strain on you and it's been one of those times when everything has come at once but we have been able to ride it out due to making sure we put something aside each month. As you grow as a person you of course change and so does the way you do things. Looking back and reflecting on that here is what our saving story has been in the past, present and our dreams for the future.
|We up cycled this unloved chair for the baby nursery|
Past - I think the day I become pregnant with Mr A more than 5years ago was the day we changed the way we looked at money as suddenly you are not just thinking about yourself but you have to start thinking about the future whether you want to or not.
This was the time we really started our family saving journey, where simple things like not eating out as much and learning to make frugal meals, taking lunches to work and cutting down on our daily coffee treats as well as lessening any nights out started to come into play. We also became more aware of what we were consuming in terms of utilities as well as cancelling any unnecessary monthly direct debits like the gym membership we never made use of or cancelling all the extra sky TV packages we had. With all these small changes you really do start to notice a difference.
|Simple upcycling projects have helped save us money|
Present - we have been building on what we have learnt in the past, especially in the run up to Christmas and the dreaded tax return. We have refined our weekly meals which includes some frugal samples such as omelettes, simple salads and healthy pasta's plus homemade baked treats. We do packed lunches on our adventures and we never do take-aways for financial and health reasons although we still treat ourselves to the odd meal out or coffee date.
When it comes to anything to do with the Home and Interior we have moved three times since having Mr A, doing up a property while living there and then moving on. We have learnt how to do more things ourself and how to budget for what we need professionals for. I have also developed a love for upcycling furniture which has helped keep the budget down. Again we have also been keeping on top of the bills, making sure all the lights are out in rooms we are not using and only putting the heating on when we need to.
|We are fans of the packed lunch|
We have also applied certain things to other parts of our life on a day to day basis. When it comes to travel, especially things like inter-city train and bus tickets, we always book in advance as it really saves money as well as using cutback sites when booking hotels and now tend to go for boutique budget hotels or self-catering options. We spend a lot of time outdoors at country parks, the seaside and local community farms which offer a whole days worth of adventure without any admission charges. With regards to fashion we have also been taking advantages of the Sales and sourcing things on Ebay.
|Wearing an ethical thrifty outfit - People Tree dress Via eBay, Charity shop shoes and bracelets, Boden scarf on sale|
We have also become more savvy with regards to banking - I know it's not perhaps the most exciting thing to think about but you really can't ignore it, especially when you want to put some savings aside finding a bank you trust with a decent savings rate can be harder than you think. I have been with NatWest for years and they have just started a fairer banking campaign as in the past I have been enticed by new member specials only to be burnt with charges later on, while they are offering the same rates to both existing and new customers with no gimmicks or unseen charges. They also have a super useful budget calculator which is perfect for when you are trying to save up for something like a wedding, house or like us a new arrival.
|Me enjoying the stylish interior of budget boutique Z Hotel, London|
Future - we hope to make some investments in the future that will help secure some savings for our family and our children future. We hope to purchase some rentable properties but of course this is not possible now but hopefully by saving we can see this become a reality. I think the main thing is to get a good balance between living within your means as well as enjoying life and making sure you have some money saved for a rainy day. We are also making use of the NatWest Savings goal tool to help us make our future seem more of a reality.
In some regards I wish I have had more insight into things when I was younger although I have always been pretty sensible when it comes to money, John on the other hand not so much. Youth is a time of being fun and carefree although it would of helped little had I put more away over those year but I don't really regret anything easier, although they do say you can never be too young to save money and is something we will be encouraging our kids to do from a young age.
|Happy home, happy family|
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