Hi, what’s your name?
Emily Leary aka a Mummy Too
Yes, JD (5) and Miss J (1)
Do you work? FT/PT?
PT (officially, although I consult so it can easily run into FT during busy periods)
Why do you work?
I’ve always worked and I’m lucky that my career is at a point where I am able to bring in a healthy wage doing something I love.
As a family, we really enjoy getting out and being creative, and while there’s a lot you can do for very little cost, there’s a lot that requires basic luxuries such as a car, good outdoor clothes and so on.
So to answer your question, I work because I love my job, but also to help give my family the lives they deserve.
If you don’t work why don’t you?
What are your child care arrangements?
JD is at school during the day and Miss J has an amazing nanny.
How do you manage for money?
I have a 12-month finance spreadsheet open on my computer at all times. It pulls in all our regular incomings and outgoings from a second tab, and I update it at least once a day, cross-checking it against our online bank account.
If we are making a one-off purchase decision, I can see how it will impact our finances up to 12 months ahead, and I can also see when and if we can take on additional monthly commitments, such as health insurance.
Do you worry about money?
I do, but not to a crippling degree. When the credit crunch first began to hit, I was working in PR, representing a debt counseling firm (among other things) and did not yet have any children.
The economic situation was professionally and economically interesting, but not particularly worrying to me personally as a childless 20-something with a good wage and an employed partner.
Fast-forward six years and I don’t think anyone quite foresaw just how bad things were going to get for the world economies. In the last two years in particular, I think it’s really started to hit people hard and it’s devastating to see what it is doing to many hardworking families.
We have two wages coming in and just a few years ago that would have meant being almost worry free, but now everyone (with the exception of the very well off) has to watch the pennies so that is a worry.
What do you waste money on?
I love gadgets and have the latest iPhone so I guess that’s not really something I can call an essential.
I also love photography and my husband does it professionally, so we could happily blow our salaries on new lenses. Having said that, we are (mostly) good about it and restrict ourselves only to purchases that are essentially funded by a commission they’ll then be used for.
I tend to see the most money evaporate when faced with the kids clothing and accessory aisles. My kids aren’t particularly materially minded – I don’t think many are at 1 and 5! – but I want them to be comfortable and happy, so when I see a cosy new coat for JD or the perfect footmuff for Miss J, I tend to lose my grip on my ‘make do and mend’ mentality and it’s hard not to reach for my wallet.
I am pretty good at checking online on my phone to make sure I‘m getting the best deal, though!
Have you made any big financial changes since having kids?
I’ve had my spreadsheet since uni so that hasn’t really changed. I guess the biggest change is that I don’t really buy for myself anymore. I used to love coming home with a new pair of shoes. These days I still do, but they’re tiny toddler ones!
How do you make extra cash?
I do a lot of speaking on the conference circuit. Oh, and blogging!
Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?
I’m going to be a bit different and offer some foodie tips…
1. Do your grocery shopping online. If you can’t justify the delivery cost, you can always Click and Collect. I find shopping online makes it easier to resist impulse purchases and expensive brands and stick to essentials and value lines. If you’re making a shepherd’s pie, there’s really no reason to pay up to 50% more just so that it is straight and smooth rather than bendy and nobbled – you’re going to dice it anyway!
2. Keep a good stock of value range basics in the cupboard like tinned chopped tomatoes, dried pasta, rice etc and then buy just the fresh produce you need for the week. I tend to avoid stocking up on veg as it just wilts and moulds and that’s a waste that can really add up.
3. Invest in a well-stocked spice cupboard. No matter how bare your cupboards, you can always pull together a decent meal if you have plenty of herbs and spices to choose from. Take my lunch today, for example. I diced half a pepper and fried it with a little oil, cumin, garlic powder and paprika. Once softened, I chucked in a tin of chopped tomatoes, added half a can of green lentils left from last night, simmered it all down and that was it – a very quick, very cheap lentil curry that would have been an utterly boring meal without my trusty spices.
A Mummy Too is a blog covering a variety of subjects – including food, craft, growing up, and work – all from a parenting perspective. It’s fun, filled with ideas and finished with a good dash of original photography.
Thank you Emily