Ker-chinging in the changes: Mum on a budget

As with many employers in the UK, my workplace (sorry ex-workplace) covers statutory maternity pay until month 9, followed by 3 months of unpaid leave (if you want it). I did want it, so I have kinda gotten used to being a bit skint the last few months.

But now I have officially been redundantised (is that a real word? I think I might have just made it up…), there is no new job around the corner, no April bonus and no wage at the end of the month. I figured this is the time to make some changes.

I’m not claiming poverty, and I realise we are very fortunate to even be able to consider me taking time off work. BUT, from two salaries to one, and an extra mouth to feed…Let’s do the maths here.

I’ve never really budgeted before. I just muddled through each month grabbing what I needed, knowing we usually had enough to cover bills and our usual food expenditure. Some months we’d really screw it up, other months we seemed to get off lightly. The variation heavily depended on number of birthdays that month, and if we had any sort of social life.

That’s all changed now. I realise I am living beyond my means on a regular basis, and definitely will be going forward unless I draw a line in the sand and make some changes. So here’s what I have done so far.

  1. Cancelled the milkman. I know, I feel TERRIBLE. That advert of the little milk bottles is flashing in my mind, and I loved the fact the kids skipped to get the milk from the doorstep twice a week. But the thing is, it costs twice as much, and the supply and demand needs of our family could do with adopting Daisy the cow, so it had to go.
  2. Cancelled the organic vegetable box. Cringe. I actually can’t believe I’m writing this, and some of you must be thinking Wan*er. It was a deal I tried out through Groupon super cheap, and loved so much I couldn’t cancel it at the end of the trial period. So I reduced it to a small box, and every two weeks. Again, it was a little bit lovely unpacking the contents with Tigs – but in all honesty, the carrots were a bit muddy and went limp after an hour (pardon the pun). We didn’t really know what half of the stuff was, or what to do with it.
  3. Switched from home delivery to in store. Tesco used to do some super cheapy delivery slot deals, but just lately I noticed I have been paying up to £6 again to have food delivered. Now, I have never ever done a BIG shop with the tiny terrors in tow. I’m way too chicken for that. But, I have opened my eyes to hours of the day I could nip out, leaving the kids with Mr G and have a dash round the store. Now that is a double winner for me. (Gone are the days ‘me time’ involved a girls lunch and a bottle of pinot grigio).
  4. Doing the ALDI shop. Ten years ago I would rather have been seen dead than in a budget supermarket. Now I am practically ringing up everyone I know to tell them how much money I have saved on my food shop this week. I guess when you have 4 mouths to feed, and they quite frankly consume the contents of the fruit bowl faster than Kevin the Fruit bat, your limits are pushed. In the last 3 weeks we have saved a third of our usual bills at least. Maybe more. And we have eaten like Kings…LIKE KINGS I TELL YOU. (Told you I was excited). This is a grocery revolution…if you haven’t gotten involved yet I cannot recommend it enough. My seething of some other leading supermarkets was reaffirmed after I spent more on a pack of baby formula and a handful of birthday cards than I did on our entire food for a week at Aldi. Fact. 
  5. Budget birthday cards. Yep, leading straight on from the point above. Now I like a nice card as much as the next person, but hello, who the hell wants to blow their entire ‘Other stuff’ budget on a load of paper which is going straight to landfill (or recycling plants I hope). Saving money on cards is right up at the top of my new agenda. Whilst ranting about this I have been pointed towards a card shop retailer cashing in on this craziness. Card Factory…pleasure to meet you.
  6. Big, Little or Small? Portion sizes that is. I remember the school dinner ladies asking this question in the canteen line. I would clearly never get a job in the catering industry as everyone in our household has been getting a ‘three times more than you could possibly ever eat’ portion for quite some time. Clearly, I could eat the babys portion and be quite full. The toddler portion, mum portion and dad portion all increase exponentionally; how we are not all man mountains is anybody’s guess. So now, I’m holding back on the extra, freezing it up, and using it for a whole other meal another day. I never did this previously because defrosted food never particularly appealed. Nowadays, NO COOKING has a whole new appeal of its very own.
  7. Just Say No. This is not referring back to an anti-drugs campaign of the nineties. I’m talking about social events. The ones that fill up your calendar, cost you a small fortune, leave you with an unwanted hangover that lasts a week, and that quite frankly you couldn’t be arsed with in the first place. So why did you agree to go? I have found a new happy place, which sees me smugly and politely declining the invitations which I just don’t feel, in favour for a night in my joggers with a glass of white, Netflix and a bar of Fruit and Nut. Once upon a time I’d have thought that was so sad…now? I couldn’t be happier. There’s nothing worse than remembering you stuck that last round on your card, eating another thirty quid into your overdraft…why? It seemed like such a good idea at the time…

So that’s MMTs guide to saving a few bob. I’ll probably still be hiding the bags from Mr G, but with Christmas round the corner, that might just satisfy my shopping bug (until the January sales!)

Have you got any top tips for saving £££ on your family bills? I’d love to steal  hear them


A Cornish Mum
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Share Button
(Visited 159 times, 1 visits today)

14 thoughts on “Ker-chinging in the changes: Mum on a budget

  1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

    Thanks Robyn. That’s another great tip. I’ve not braved the own brands in supermarkets yet but have been dead chuffed with the quality at Aldi. Result! X

  2. Laura's Lovely Blog Reply

    It is really tricky going from two salaries to one. We actually have a spreadsheet where I list all our expenses and budget each month – cost saving things we did – got ourselves on a fixed energy tariff helped, Aldi shop too, And online butchers works out quite cheap for meat and we do a once a month order from them, and yes sometimes you just have to say no #kcacols

  3. Jess Powell Reply

    I was in the same boat – up until two months before Marianna was born I was still living at home and paying my parents a pittance in room and board. Then my other half lost his job about 2 weeks after M was born. I went from never budgeting to counting every single penny! Aldi is a godsend, I’ve almost lost all shame when trying to nab a lift with someone to avoid spending the £8 on the bus, and I’ve become the type who writes into every magazine going in the hope of getting £20. (It’s saved my bacon – and literally bought bacon – on quite a few occasions now!)

  4. A Moment with Franca Reply

    I understand you pretty well. We also went from 2 salaries to one salary so we needed to have a monthly budget too. We like to do our shopping at Asda. I know is not cheaper than Aldi but I found Asda has good prices plus their products are really good. I like to go around their George section too 😉 We don’t go out as much. It is too expensive. Staying at home with a movie and a cup of tea is perfect for us! You have great points here! Thanks so much for linking up with me again at #KCAKOLS. I can’t wait to see what will you share next week!! 😉 x

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      Thanks Franca…so many great link ups out there but I do like to support a newby and also one who’s been a regukar over at #coolmumclub too! Thanks for sharing x

  5. Something Crunchy Mummy Reply

    Great list on cutting back. We are currently looking at finances due to our house move and there is so much we can cut back on and cancel. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  6. acornishmum Reply

    I know this feeling well, I don;t work other than my blog so my ‘pay cheque’ is very random and often feeling sorry for itself! I need to start budgeting better, especially with xmas coming so thank you for the tips! I personally love TopCashback, I use it for all my online shopping and I’ve had almost £400 cashback from it in the last few years – not a huge income but exra money I wouldn’t have had otherwise!
    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x

    1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

      Oh that’s a great one to add to the list?! Never quite mastered it but this is definitely the time to start! X

      1. acornishmum Reply

        When we buy car insurance or home insurance etc we usually get £70 or so cashback ☺ well worth it for something you have to buy anyway and we always find a company on their quoting less than else where x

        1. mummuddlingthrough Reply

          Wow! £70 is not to be sniffed at! Just about to renew ours too!! x

  7. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) Reply

    I really dont do any subscription & deliveries anymore. I live in the town so everything is near. I just go out to buy anything that I need at the moment. This post is a nice read! Its nice to know that I am not the only one scrimping =) #KCACOLS

  8. beth Reply

    Great list! Ah it’s so hard to cut things out isn’t it.
    Shopping lists we try (if we remember) to do if we really need to safe money
    Thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky

  9. Lexi Reply

    I love Aldi too, we get through a crazy amount of fruit and it saves us loads! My other saving tip has been meal planning which really helps as we don’t waste stuff. T tells me Aldi is “the best shop” too 🙂

    1. MMT Reply

      funnily enough I have meal planning a go for the first time today, although for the food I already had in! Definitely something I need to do more of. Thanks for the tip! X

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.