Hi, what’s your name?
Noah, aged 3 and a half.
Do you work? FT/PT?
No, I don’t work.
If you don’t work why don’t you?
I care full time for my son and my partner who has ME.
What are your child care arrangements?
Noah attends nursery for 9 hours a week, just so I can pretend to keep on top of things around the house!
How do you manage for money?
We’ve relied on state benefits due to my partner’s illness to survive as previously he worked 80 hour weeks managing a pub while I stayed at home with our son. Obviously this is now not possible, and upon being diagnosed with ME two months ago, after a very drawn out process, we’re now rethinking our situation so that I can retrain and get out to work.
Do you worry about money?
Of course! There’s always something cropping up unexpectedly isn’t there?
What do you waste money on?
Food. I’m terrible at taking things out of the freezer and being too exhausted to know what to do with it once it’s defrosted!
Have you made any big financial changes since having kids?
Absolutely, suddenly there’s someone in your life that is infinitely more important, with needs much greater than any desire for that handbag you saw in a magazine. I think always putting your children first has a huge impact on the amount of useless, expensive possessions you no longer buy for yourself, “just because I can”.
Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?
1. Don’t be afraid of second hand – whether it’s charity shops, auction sites or simply swapping amongst friends and family. I saved hundreds on Clarks shoes for Noah by buying them on eBay second hand at just a fraction of the RRP. When your children are small, they grow out of everything so rapidly, anything second hand will only have been worn for a very short while so they can easily pass as brand new, even when they’ve potentially been worn by a couple of other nippers before yours!
2. Plan, plan, plan. I really believe every time I overspend it’s purely due to the fact I’ve planned poorly. A trip to the park can easily lead to a visit to a café for some well needed fuel, so I always ensure I carry snacks and drinks in my bag. Likewise always have a few easy dinners on standby in the freezer, for those days you don’t feel up to cooking and to stop you dialing for a takeaway.
3. Don’t forget to treat yourself. I’ve always been a bit of a beauty nut, but now I have to buy incredibly carefully and make sure my beauty products are now both affordable and multi-purpose. For example any hair conditioner makes a brilliant shaving cream. Aqueous cream can be used as a hot cloth cleanser, as well as a moisturizer. And the abundance of samples you can be sent for simply entering your name and address, means you can often try the latest products to hit the shelves, without paying a penny!
Thank you so much Cas for sharing your tips !
Cas blogs at http://mummyneversleeps.com – about motherhood, depression and frankly anything else that pops into her head – leggings, KitKats and obscure poetry are all fair game in her book! She aim to write as honestly as she can, to raise both awareness for depression and even a smile or two.