Profile of a Budgeting Mum: Amanda

Hi, what’s your name?

Amanda

Any kids?

I have two girls aged 8 & 10

Do you work? FT/PT?

I work full time in the NHS as a midwife.

Why do you work?

…because I need to. If I won the lottery I’d give it up in a shot! Saying that, I do really love my job. I get to help bring life into the world everyday. How fabulous is that? I also wasn’t a wonderful stay at home mum when the girls were younger, I got bored faster than the girls! I worked part time then because it gave me some sanity, I think it was a happy medium – for me anyway.

What are your child care arrangements?

The village school has a breakfast and after-school club, which is a life saver because there is no other childcare option in the village. Our family all live 20 miles or more away so we’re reliant on the provision that school provide.

How do you manage for money?

We’re debt free and we make ends meet every month, but there isn’t much disposable income left. I think we’re in the same position as many families at the moment. We’re lucky that we’re in stable jobs and a roof over our heads – I don’t worry about those things like some people have to.  We still get out and about having fun, we just plan things more carefully these days. That’s why I set up my blog www.havingfun-spendingless.co.uk. I wanted to share the hints, tips and bargains that we’ve come across (as well as the occasional witter about family life!).

Do  you worry about money?

No, it’s our number one rule for a happy marriage. We put a little away in an ISA every month, so have a rainy day fund for drastic emergencies. It goes out by standing order on the same day that my wage is paid in, that way I don’t miss the money ever being there. Two years ago, I lost a friend to suicide and I believe that was finance related. I refuse to let money, or lack of affect my family in the same way.

What do you waste money on?

I like gadgets. I have an iPhone (which I love almost as much as my husband) on a really good contract. It’s an indulgence but it only costs me £25 a month. I also have a Kindle, which is convenient for traveling/ commuting etc.  I’d really, really love an iPad.

Our family waste/ indulgence is that we like brand named foods. I couldn’t contemplate not having Kellogg’s cornflakes or Heinz ketchup and beans.  We like to shop in the local (expensive) deli for weekend treats such as good olives. I also only buy good cuts of local meat. If we can’t afford it, we just eat less of it. We eat a predominantly vegetarian diet anyway.

Have you made any big financial changes since having kids?

Before having the girls we would often decide on a Friday evening just to go away for the weekend. Sometimes we’d catch the train down to London t see a concert at Wembley, party all night and catch the first train home in the morning. Gone are those days, I don’t think I could keep pace anymore anyway!

It’s only since having the girls that we have made wills and taken out life insurance. Now we have the responsibility of ensuring that they are financially secure should anything happen to us.

How do you make extra cash?

We don’t. We both have jobs with long hours and I work shifts too. There is no way we can increase our hours or take on a second job without it having a detrimental affect on the girls’ childhood. We just make the most of what we have.

Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?

1. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. We both have credit cards but we always ensure that we only spend what we can afford to pay back at the end of the month, maybe over two months at Christmas. We work hard for the money we have, I have no intention of paying more in fees than I have to.

2. Always search online for discount codes. This counts for clothes/ gift shopping and also for days out. We nearly always find a discount code/ voucher for places we’re going to visit with the kids.

3. Plan your meals and do your food shopping online. This is a very recent discovery for me. It costs around £5 to have the shopping delivered, but there are many pro’s. No more buying silly BOGOF’s you’re not going to use, no children filling the trolley with magazines and cheap DVD’s, but most of all…you don’t have to set foot in the supermarket. We’ve cut down our food shopping bill by almost £50 a week.

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