I was recently contacted by Scottish Friendly, a UK based finance company specialising in savings and ISAs. They set me a challenge to make a diary of my spending over a period of time, look back at it to see where I am over spending and where I can save money.
I was someone who had their children at a young age, before I had a bunch of savings behind me and a mortgage already secured. It wasn’t something I really worried about then, now as I get older I want a home that I own, I want that stability and I want to show my girls how despite not doing things the traditional way, hard work and determination will get you where you want to be.
Naturally I am a spender rather than a saver. I enjoy spending money, buying nice things for the kids or the home makes me so happy but it’s not going to get me the house is it! So I took on this challenge, for three weeks on I recored what it was I was spending and what a wake up call it was..
Week one I spent as exactly as I normally would; I didn’t get around to doing a big food shop as we were just here there and everywhere so with far to many runs down to the local food shop that week I spent a whopping £117 on food!!!!! For just me and 3 children that is wayyyyyy to much. That wasn’t including the trip to costa with Lottie which was an additional £12. I instantly saw that food was burning a big hole in my pocket. I did a little bit of pre holiday shopping and brought some bits for the home that I probably didn’t need but at the time £75 didn’t seem like a big deal.
Week 2 I realised I needed to do one big food shop with all the essentials. I did okay – £60 in lidil, the cupboards bulging. The mistake I made was not meal planning I had all the food and not really an idea of what I wanted to do with it. That week despite having a food shop done we still ate out twice costing over £50. Damn it.
It was lovely weather so I found the girls and I getting out and about loads more; I spent £10 more than usual on petrol and an additional £22 on car parking and ice-creams.
By week 3 I realised my downfall was organisation. I started off the week by writing a meal plan – I took into account what we had on during the week and made sure we had convenience food in for busier nights and picnic food to hand for days out. I brought a big pack of ice lollies for the freezer for a couple of quid. I spent under £50 and we ate so well all week.
Bar one coffee stop at the petrol station I didn’t spend any additional money on food or drinks. The girls knew they had ice lollies waiting at home so the extra £5 spend when ever we went to the park/beach etc was gone!
So what I suspected was true – I waste money and the main thing is on food! Organisation is key to saving money and this little experiment has shown me I can easily save around £50 a week in that area alone. My other realisation is that I need to leave the card at home, I have very little will power and if it is on me I will stop off and grab a drink or get the kids an ice cream. I have gone through all my income and expenditures and after bills/food/petrol I have given myself a budget each week of £40 to spend willy nilly. This could be to eat our as a treat, buy some new jeans or a day out with the kids. Some weeks I know this will be more but I am trying to with draw that money and just spend what I have in my purse. So far so good!
It means I now have roughly £200 to put straight into savings each month – not a huge amount but it is building towards the end goal and I am excited to be making steps towards it!
Disclaimer – This post has been sponsored by Scottish Friendly, all thoughts and opinions are my own.