Hi, what’s your name? I’m Kirsty, and you can find me on twitter as @imperfectpages.
Any kids? I have two sons; the older is nearly three and my ‘baby’ is 15 months.
Do you work? I do occasional freelance writing and social media work under the name Perfect Pages, but I also look after my kids full time so can’t take on too much.
Why do you work? The extra income is really useful, but I also want to maintain my skills and not have a huge gap in my CV when I return to employment after my children start school.
If you don’t work why don’t you? I don’t want permanent employment at the moment because the childcare costs for two children would mean I was hardly making a profit at all. Plus my kids will be young for such a short time, I’m willing to take a small break in my career to enjoy this time with them.
What are your child care arrangements? We’re very lucky to have both my and my husband’s parents living nearby. My parents work full time but they have my two-year-old for a day and night at the weekend to give us a bit of a break.
How do you manage for money? It’s hard. Things like eating out or longer car trips have become an occasional treat. We very rarely buy new clothes (I buy all my clothes second-hand for ethical reasons, and most of the kids’ clothes too). For every big purchase I try to think “what’s more important – having this, or staying out of debt?”.
Do you worry about money? Yes, I do – although I think in a few years when I’m back in employment our situation will get better again.
What do you waste money on? Although I plan our meals every week, I’m not perfect and we sometimes throw food away. We also have the odd takeaway as a treat.
Have you made any big financial changes since having kids? Before we had kids, my husband and I both worked full time (and I was a high earner for my age), so going down to one income has meant massive changes for us. We used to eat out twice a month and have a holiday every year – nothing too extravagant, but for now they’re ‘luxuries’ we can’t afford.
How do you make extra cash? As well as my freelance work, I sell our used toys and kids’ clothes at NCT sales. I also use Quidco to get cashback when shopping online (although I’m careful only to use it for things I need to buy anyway, otherwise it isn’t a ‘real’ saving).
Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?
1. Be honest about your finances: make a budget spreadsheet that shows what you have going in and going out, and don’t spend more than you can afford. My husband and I give ourselves a small ‘allowance’ each month so we can have little treats or save up for something bigger, without feeling guilty or spending too much.
2. Shop around for the best deal on insurance, mortgage and utilities. It’s pretty easy to change and you could save a significant sum.
3. Don’t go mad at birthdays and Christmas for your children. Our kids get so much from family and friends, and really they appreciate a small, thoughtful gift as much as big, extravagant presents.
Thanks so much for you answers Kirsty.
Kirsty writes about family food and recipes on her blog Eating with Kids, and about family life, good living and iPhoneography on Imperfect Pages.