5 great tips for managing a family budget This year is my Year of the Budget and although I’m slowly starting to get my arse into gear with it, I am still not totally overjoyed by the ‘B’ word!

However I’ve learnt quite a lot about myself and my shopping habits in the past 8 weeks.  I’ve even got a (tiny) bit excited every time I’ve saved some money (although it still takes all my willpower to not spent it on something nice as a reward for being so thrifty).  It’s still not quite the same feeling as spending money, but hey……I’m trying.

Here’s a few things my budget has taught me (so far).

1.  I’m a lazy shopper
Yep, it’s true.  I am definitely fall into the category of just ‘buy it where it’s easiest’ instead of ‘where it’s cheapest’.  I have started to force myself to price items before I buy them where I can.  Although it’s sometimes been a real pain to go to three different grocery stores, for example, in one day it has genuinely cut my shopping bill down by about 10%.

2.  Never grocery shop without a list
I have always been one to have my shopping list in my head instead of actually writing it down and it’s meant that I’d wonder the shops forgetting half of what I actually needed and buying a few extra random things that I didn’t need instead.  Having an actual written down shopping list has not only saved me time (and a few trips to the shops) but has also meant that I’ve only bought what I’ve needed.

3.  Meal planning really works
I always knew that it was good to meal plan, but I was just never constant enough with it.  I’ve now set aside some time every week to make a meal plan and it’s worth it’s weight in gold – not only to save money (as I only buy what I need) but also time!

4.  Quit the impulse buys
Now this one is probably the hardest one for me.  I am the queen of impulse purchases!  The best way I have found to help is to set myself a weekly budget.  Transfer that exact amount every Friday into a separate account and I only spend from that.  It’s literally come down to ‘if the money is not there then I can’t have it”.  It’s definitely working, but I don’t like it much.

5.  Write everything down – use apps/visual tools
I have started recording every bit of money I spend during the week by writing it down.  It’s amazing how much money I used to waste on random everyday things like coffees etc.  It’s been a real eye opener for me to do this and it’s really helped to stop money ‘leaking’ out of my account.

Since embarking on this budget journey I’ve played around with quite a few different Apps to help me and I’ve settled on three which I think are awesome.   3 great apps for family budgeting

MY BUDGET
A brilliant App for writing down everything you spend.  It’s a bit like a to-do list except it’s for your finances.  It’s really easy to use and it’s a great visual tool for you to get a good overview of where your money goes each month.

POCKETBOOK
This App is super clever.  It links up to your actual bank account.  Mine is linked to my CommBank App and you can set up budgets on it.  It will automatically calculate any money coming in and money going out of your account, direct debits etc and it also sends you little reminders to tell you how you’re doing.

SPENDEE
This is a really cute App with lots of pretty graphs and charts full of colours to show you how your budget is tracking.  It’s a little similar to the MY BUDGET app except that one just uses the numbers.  I like to use both apps as I like to see what I’m spending my money on and not just how much I’ve spent.

Two months down and 10 to go.  Wish me luck.

Do you have any great money saving tips for me?

Mrs d signature4

21 comments on “Budget update #1 ‘5 tips for managing a family budget’”

    • Ah it’s taking all my willpower to stop!!! I keep seeing all these pretty things that are just tormenting me. I must stay away from the shops, lol xxx

  1. Good on you for getting stuck into one of life’s hardest-to-master tasks.
    I do have to try the meal planning thing. I am not sure how to do it. Dinner here is usually just grabbing whatever I can from the fridge and freezer 20 minutes before it’s served.

    • That’s exactly what I used to do to. Meal planning is a bit of a pain in the arse but it really does help. Sit down for half and hour with a recipe book or the internet and write down 6 meals plus ingredients – then you don’t have to think for the rest of the week! If only the kids could feed themselves hey? x

  2. I love those apps – they look really handy. We are trying to budget more now I bring in less of an income and it’s hard and I hate it and I try to avoid it where possible. Unfortunately it’s very necessary to budget, isn’t it? Thanks for the tips and for showing me I am not alone!

    • I was amazed at how much money I wasted when I started my ‘money diary’!! It’s too easily done x

  3. Oh, these are all things I am guilty of or need to do. I used to be queen of the budget, but I have become slack in recent years. This year is going to need to be a lot tighter though, so I have to get on top of it. Thanks for the tips!

    • I’m a very reluctant budgeter and I think I am going to have to stay focused all the time so stop myself from falling off the wagon. x

  4. Lazy shopping and impulse buys – yep totally guilty here. You may just kick my butt into gear though hun. I actually get excited about budgeting.. I know lame right? Im great at setting them, just not so good at sticking to them haha xx

  5. I’ve been meal planning and recording my spending for over a year now and it really helps. Haven’t thought of using apps, so thanks for letting me know about those. Will look into them. But wonder if it would just be another thing I would set up and then forget to use!

  6. Robyn, thank you!!! This is just what I need. I’m going to download that My Budget app today. Do you know what I’ve found helps with the grocery shopping? Buying online. I find I always spend less as I get only what I need and not all the extra stuff I see when I’m there or when the kids are begging for it.

  7. Thanks for the apps. I will check them out. Impulse buys get me all the time. I need to menu plan a bit more but one good thing we’ve done this year is have less food wastage because we’ve been eating what’s in the fridge so to avoid anything going off. It’s hard to keep on top of the budget sometimes. Glad to hear you’re going well 2 months down!

  8. Thanks for the app recommendations! We are on a budget this year also – saving to build our house. My biggest problem is impulse buying. I went into Cotton On today for a pair of shoes for my son, and walked out with 2 pairs of shoes, 2 raincoats and a shirt! Shhh – don’t tell the hubby!

  9. I also budget and write down what we spend.

    I too find that I’ll buy things I don’t intend to buy whenever I go to the shops, even if it’s just the supermarket.

    My tip – internet grocery shopping. Even if some items are a tiny bit more, you save by not buying more than you need. If you get a Coles Mastercard, you also get free delivery if you spend over $100. It is also very quick once you’ve shopped a few times – you just scan through your usuals list and add what you need.

    As for fresh fruit and veg. (I don’t use the supermarket), check out http://www.harvesthub.com.au. I have just picked up my first box and am pretty pleased. They try and source local produce as much as possible, so it is fresher and more environmentally friendly as it has not had to travel as far. You can get a value bag and then add or take away items from it. You pick it up from your local ‘hubster’ once a week.

    Good luck with sticking to the budget!

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