Profile of a Budgeting Mum: Nicki Cawood

Hi, what’s your name?

Nicki Cawood


Any kids?

2 – Kieran is 5years and just finishing his first year at school (GAH!) and Taylor is a cheeky 7.5m old.

Do you work? FT/PT? Full time from home

Why do you work? Both to contribute to the household and because I want to! I am a Mum and I love it but I’m also me, and “me” needs to be kept busy and out of trouble!

What are your child care arrangements?

Working from home I don’t need paid childcare (luckily!). Kieran is at school Monday-Fri and my (fantastic) Mum has Taylor one day a week so I can really crack on. Taylor is a very laid back child and I work around mealtimes, playtimes and walks etc but a full uninterrupted day is great for catching up!

How do you manage for money?

I budget strictly and weigh up purchases properly. Being aware of our budget means we can live within it and we try and make sure we put a bit away each month for those rainier than usual times.

Do  you worry about money?

Who doesn’t!? Prices seem to be going up monthly, as do our other expenses; our income doesn’t seem to rise in the same fashion! I think a certain level of worry or apprehension about overspending is good (certainly for me) as it keeps you on your toes and stops you being complacent.

What do you waste money on? I’m not sure we do! Things we spend on the kids I’d never consider a waste, and our food (which is the thing that seems to cost the most!) is within budget although I suppose I could cull the grocery spend some but I love to cook and experiment with new ingredients!

Have you made any big financial changes since having kids?

HUGE changes. In fact everything has changed. I went to my “back to work” interview after having Kieran, about a month before my maternity was due to end… and put my notice in. There was no plan, it just wasn’t going to work for us as a family and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. My salary disappeared like magic overnight so yes, lots of changes – not least in how we thought about spending and money in general.

How do you make extra cash? Being freelance I can usually take on extra work as and when required which helps in leaner months. I used to do a variety of thing from ebaying bits and pieces, doing surveys and what not, all of which helped, but to be honest I just don’t have the time nowadays.

Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?

  1. 1. KNOW your budget. Use a diary, a spread sheet, post it notes… whatever words for you. If you know you have £X  to spend on food then you are more likely to stick to that. If you have rough amounts and estimates it is easy to lose track.
  2. 2. Be realistic! The best budget is one that takes into account the things you really need and want over the month. You will never stick to your budget if it includes nothing but bills and food. What about the occasional treat and your entertainment? What about Christmas and birthdays? It all needs to be included. Your budget is helping you live your live within your means. The key word there is live!
  3. 3. Be savvy and shop around. Be it for your groceries or your utilities. Don’t assume you are always on the best plan for you. I review all my direct debits etc every six months and quite often I can shave a fair bit off some bills, not necessarily by moving suppliers but by changing plans. Use cashback sites such as Quidco when shopping online and comparisons from anything from car insurance to gifts. It doesn’t have to be difficult to save money!

Thanks so much for you answers Nicki.

Nicki Cawood Bio

Freelance writer and blogger (her own blog Curly&Candid is primarily a parenting blog but content includes anything from children to current affairs – and her candid opinion of them!) Based in North Yorkshire, Nicki is mum to two boys, Kieran 5yrs and Taylor 7m, wife to Roy and is a keen money-saver!



  1. August 30, 2011 / 8:49 am

    I just stumbled onto your site tonight. Very good tips and encouragement. Good interview and good tips.

  2. Becky
    August 30, 2011 / 9:12 am

    Thanks so much at home mummy!

  3. August 30, 2011 / 11:45 am

    I agree with At Home Mummy – it’s always been a first port of call for making the pennies stretch!

  4. August 30, 2011 / 12:24 pm

    It doesn’t have to be difficult to save money is a great thought, just simple changes like Nicki made such as using Quidco do make huge differences.

  5. Becky
    August 31, 2011 / 8:44 am

    Your so right Pippa I sppent £15 making dinner for my friends last night they each spent about £5 on choc, one on wine and one on desert. Total about £30 between us. had we gone out we would have spent £80 and staying in meant we had a fab time on the old singstar after eating. Little changes make HUGE differences.

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