Profile of a budgeting DAD!
Hi, what’s your name?
I’m Reluctant Housedad. Reluctant, because I was made redundant two years ago and couldn’t find work, which forced my wife and I to swap roles. She was a Stay-At-Home-Mum; now I’m a Stay-At-Home-Dad. I blog about family life and the recipes I concoct and cook on my blog – http://reluctanthousedad.com You can find me on tewitter @relucthousedad
We have three: my ten year-old stepdaughter, and our two sons, aged seven and four.
Do you work? FT/PT?
I try to eke out a living as a freelance writer and blogger, working on my laptop in our bedroom in between school runs, household chores, preparing meals and nagging the kids. I earn enough to pay for our weekly food shopping, so budgeting is very important to me – I try to stretch the money I make as far as it will take me without compromising on quality.
Why do you work?
Partly because we need the additional income, and partly because making a contribution to our family finances makes me feel better about myself. I’ve never ‘not worked’ and although I felt in the depths of despair – and less of a man – when my wife and I swapped roles, what I earn now pays for the things that make life a pleasure: good food, wine, the occasional night out, and this year we’ll be able to have a holiday.
What are your child care arrangements?
I was offered a job recently and my wife and I discussed employing a childminder, but then we weighed up the cost versus the impact it would have on family life and decided against it. I’m our children’s full-time carer – except at the weekends when my wife lets me slope off to the pub while she takes the reins.
How do you manage for money?
We do OK. It was an exceptionally difficult time after I was made redundant because we quickly realised my ‘pay-off’ would only last for a couple of months if I didn’t find an equivalently-paid job. We decided the most important thing was to keep our home, so we extended the mortgage, cancelled our pensions and cut our cloth accordingly. Now, I budget for shopping every week: plan meals ahead and buy ingredients accordingly. I’m a big fan of stretching one ingredient e.g. a whole chicken, into two, even three meals. I also make as much use of leftovers as possible, either for sandwiches or stocks.
Do you worry about money?
Who doesn’t? I worry about it all the time. I have never been in debt in my life (except for the mortgage) because of the way I was brought up: save now, spend later. I don’t believe anything other than having a roof over your head, one’s health and good food is essential and don’t know any Joneses to keep up with, so we never buy anything we can’t afford. One of the biggest causes of relationship breakdown is arguments over money. My wife and I don’t have those arguments because we both have the same view about money: if you haven’t earned it, you can’t spend it.
What do you waste money on?
Plastic rubbish for the kids that they play with once then abandon.
Have you made any big financial changes since having kids?
Not really. The youngest boy’s ‘wardrobe’ is made up entirely of his older brother’s hand-me-downs. We have convinced him that it’s the coolest thing in the world to wear his older brother’s old clothes.
How do you make extra cash?
I make extra quantities of meals, such as curries, and exchange them in the pub for beer. At nearly £4 a pint, it saves me a fortune.
Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?
1. Plan your weekly meals in advance and only buy the ingredients you need.
2. Love your leftovers: the leftovers from the Sunday roast chicken, for example, can be made into pies (like this chicken and mushroom lattice pie link: http://reluctanthousedad.com/2012/04/30/recipe-shed-chicken-and-shitake-lattice-pie-with-tarragon-cream/) and curried wraps (like these Jubilee chicken in lettuce wraps link: http://reluctanthousedad.com/2012/05/17/recipe-shed-kids-jubilee-chicken-in-crisp-lettuce-wraps/)
3. Every three or four months, check your drawers, back of sofas and bottoms of bags for loose change: the last time we did this we pulled together nearly £60.
Thanks so much for you answers, I love the curry exchange in the pub I figure thats a tip most dads would love!