Since having my third child I’ve been putting off doing a family budget for ages, even though I’ve known for sometime that something hasn’t been quite right with the household finances.
What I discovered is that by using this Money Smart budgeting tool, which I regard as the best freely available file of its kind on the market, is that I needed to face up to some serious problems with my spending, or to put it correctly, my overspending.
So my issue has been that despite no longer paying for expensive baby formula, not needing to spend as much on nappies and wipes, I’ve been spending more on saying yes a lot more often to my kids. Of course because I love them, but also to keep them happy while we do the weekly shop or go on an outing when Mummy isn’t working.
But as any parent knows, this spending can add up and it also caused a bit of laziness to flow through to my other spending on the business and family purchases.
So last week, I dedicated two hours to working on this budgeting tool, which asks you to list all your outgoings, and any income coming in.
From that point you can calculate if you’re spending more than you’re making, and if you’re able to save or invest anything left over.
It also allows you to customise headings and it prompts you to consider things that you might be spending on, which you may otherwise dismiss.
The budgeting tool also forced me to rethink how much I have been spending by saying yes each time my kids asked for a small treat, or donut or sushi or Shopkins when we went shopping.
It then forced me to assign in dollar terms, how much I want to spend in the future on these things on a weekly, monthly quarterly and yearly basis.
The other thing this task did was force me to go through my bank statements and this is where the real savings were found.
I discovered I’ve been paying $110 for a pro Buffer account, which is a tool for sharing social media posts, and $1200 in a double up of comprehensive car insurance between NRMA and Allianz.
The good news is that I have been able to get pro rata refunds for both of these overspends, and reduce my monthly budget considerable to find extra savings.
So the big take away tips are:
- Find a budgeting tool that works for you and set aside an hour or two to fill it out.
- Find the things you are overspending on or the items you can better manage.
- Stick to a savings plan and stop saying yes to the kids if spending is getting out of control.