How we keep consistent with our finances.

Consistency is the key to making big financial improvements whether it is getting out of debt, saving for a car or buying a house – consistency is always key. Small leaks can sink big ships. So have a look at how we stay consistent and motivated to keep on track with our finances.

how to keep your finances on track
How we stay consistent with our finances.

Financial meetings – deciding on your goals should be a group activity. If you are in a couple or a family then the key contributors need to be present in your decision and goal making. Holding regular financial meetings ensures you are updating your goals and everyone involved knows what the aim is. It is also a great time to do financial analysis of your situation to keep you and your family on track.

Budget updates – having a budget that is consistently updates makes you financial life so much easier than guessing. Projecting saving and expenses is easily done if you have the past information. This shows you where you may have been overspending or where you can save extra money. It also helps when negotiating with insurance companies etc – you can see previous bills and ask why it has increased.

Motivation – by following the above steps and making your finances a priority it makes it easier for you to stay on track. We keep ourselves motivated by having posters of our goals. I have it on my desk at work so I know what I am working towards. You can read about other ways to motivate here.

Discussing your goals with family and friends – instead of saying I’m broke when a close friend invites you out – try telling them what you are working towards. You will find a lot more people supportive than judgemental and will want to help you work towards your goals faster. Maybe not financially but with tips and hints or by inviting you over for dinner instead of out to dinner. By sharing your goals with your children it helps them understand money and help towards reaching the family goal as well.

How do you stay consistent in your finances? I would love to know!

Budget Mum Blog - Living the good life for less

Great ways to start frugal living

If you are new to saving money, budgeting and all round becoming more frugal it can seem over whelming.  It shouldn’t be.  Becoming frugal is easy – you can take your time and see what works for you.  Here are 5 tips to start the frugal living journey and help you save money and save the environment too.

living the frugal living lifestyle
how to start the frugal living lifestyle
Meal Plan

Meal planning is a great way to become frugal.  It eliminates waste, and makes you organised so much less likely to grab take away after a hectic day.  Organise each meal and shop accordingly.  If you know what is ahead for the week, there is no need for ‘just in case’ items to drop into the trolley.  It also makes preparation to make the meals easier.  Thinking about it for 15 mins once a week is a lot easier than every night at 5 pm scrambling to make something or dashing to the shops.

Every last drop

By implementing the ‘every last drop’ mantra you will easily start saving.  Cutting containers open to get out the last drop may seem extreme but once you do it a couple of times you will see how much is left behind and thrown away.

Avoid the shops

Shopping should not be a hobby.  Once it becomes that it is a hard act to break.  But avoiding the shops is a great way to kick start your frugal journey. I’m not against shopping and I understand why so many people go to the shops to ‘look around.’ But by not going you are not noticing whats new and what is on special.  It cuts out any temptation. Not spending money is the best special around.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

By actively seeking out ways to follow the 3 R’s you will stop spending money.  At first you probably won’t even notice but the better you get at reusing items the more money you save.  It is a great habit to exercise and become more creative with the ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle.

Less is more

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle you’re not only saving money by buying less.  You become more organised because you spend less time organising and tidying the excess stuff that never fit into your home.  But you will also make money when you realise how much excess stuff you have and that you can sell for money.  LESS STUFF = MORE MONEY + MORE TIME

 

 

hints and tips to embrace frugal living journey
start frugal living journey

Not all things are going to work for you.  When starting your frugal living journey remember it will last (hopefully) a lifetime.  Some things will be easy to embrace, others you would prefer to eat worms! But keep trying.  It’s like exercise the more you do it the easier it becomes.  The most important thing is NOT to give up!  Keep trying see what works for your family.  Frugal living does NOT mean you have to give up what you and your family enjoys.  If fact it’s the opposite you are saving money on other areas so you know you can continue doing the things that are important.

Budget Mum Blog - Living the good life for less

3 things to sell, when you have nothing left to sell

Things to sell when you don’t think you have anything else.

You may think you have nothing in your home to sell. Last year when I started on this journey I didn’t think I had anything to sell. I tried to sell my clothes but wasn’t overly successful. I sold some of my excess furniture but I didn’t have a lot to sell. The more I looked around the more I had to sell, the candle holder I ‘needed’ but when I got it home I no longer loved, the spare high chair that I have never used and everyone has one in my family. Everything I could find I sold. So this year when I was keen to Make Money May and sell more stuff to start the ball rolling I had run out of stuff to sell – or so I thought. Here are the things I have found to sell – when I thought I didn’t have anything else left to sell. The great thing about these items is 2 of them are also direct sales so no waiting on gumtree for a buyer!

things to sell
things to sell when you think you have nothing left
  1. Electronic devices. Things like old phones, working or not sell well. Either to specific buyers who fix or strip them. Or on Ebay and the like to home repairers who think that can make money.
  2. Old Jewellery. You won’t get rich quick selling your old silver or gold but you will make some money and get rid of your ex from your life forever. The best part about old jewellery is that it doesn’t have to be attractive or even working. Old jewellery is bought by weight only so functionality or appearance doesn’t count. Places such as Cash converters and pawn shops are a good place to start. As are jewellery shops with jewellery made on site.
  3. CD’s and DVD’s. It’s easy now to no longer need a hard copy of every movie you love. And while they are small combined they take up a lot of space. Selling old CD’s and DVD’s is easy with being able to make bulk packs. You won’t make a ton of money for each title but in packs of 3-5 you will be able to make sales on Buy Swap and Sell Facebook pages, and Gumtree.

I have sold all of these things this Making Money May. When I thought that I had nothing left to sell, and its been easy.  I hope that you get the same success that I have of selling these things.  Do you have any other items that sell really successfully?  I would love to know.

Budget Mum Blog - Living the good life for less

Making Money May 2017

This month I have decided to turn my attention to making money. I did it last year as well and it worked out really well. You can read that Here. May is the perfect month to make money just before winter takes hold. 


After last years push to sell extra clutter I find this year I don’t have a heap to sell. My clothes don’t seem to sell very well so what I did have I have now donated. 

I have a couple of larger items I found when I cleaned out my garage, so they will be reposted. I also have decided to open an Etsy store. I collect a lot of vintage fabric. But no longer have the time to sew as much as I would like. Fabric is hard to move on BSS page or eBay so I thought I would try my hand at Etsy. 

I am also looking into side hustle ideas. I am thinking about selling doTerra! Of late I have got more into essential oils and have used doTerra for years so I think it would be a good fit. Anyone have any thoughts on selling doTerra? I would love some feedback! (If doTerra isn’t your thing you can see some other side hustle ideas Here.

I would love you to join me at Making Money May! What are you thinking about doing? Making money may isn’t ALL about making money, it’s about setting yourself up for extra money in the future. So for me it will be listing the left over items on gumtree, setting up my Etsy store and listing items and finally looking into doTerra and seeing if it’s for me. I may not make a sale in May but I’m sure I will in the future and that’s what it’s about!

What are you going to put in place for Making Money May? I would love to hear your ideas! 

10 questions with Money Meals Me

10 Questions with Meals Money Me from Instagram.  I have followed Suze since she started and she is one of my favourite Instagram accounts!  Suze is full of down to earth hints and tips of living the good life for less!

 

You can follow suze here. And of course me here.

Questions

1. Who is behind meals_money_me?

Behind the IG name is me Suze – I’m a wife, mother and serious budgeting addict. I love walking on the beach, going to the movies and saving money. Shopping – except groceries – stresses me out!

2. What is the hardest financial area for you to control?

My children are all in high school or older so currently I am wanting to find more work, to make more money but I’ve not yet found the right job – I really want to increase my income.

3. What area do you find easiest to keep under control?

My budget! It’s set (reviewed quarterly) and I don’t have to think about it. We have categories for all scenarios so the money is saved and waiting to be spent. And our savings grow. I love saving money. Watching our account balances grow makes me happy.

4. What is your go to frugal meal?

I like to veggie pack meals especially when money is tight. Curries, stir fry and bolognese are great meals to make on the cheap.

5. What is your best tip on saving money?

Food is a huge money expense but you do have control over the amount you spend on it.

Meal planning & conscientious spending saves serious money. And since it’s a variable expense exactly how much it costs is completely up to you.

6. Have you always been good/frugal with your money?

No, not at all. My husband and I got into a lot of debt when we were young and we trusted a lot of money with someone close to us. We got burned badly and were drowning in debt.

7. How have you become so good at running your budget?

I picked up a super basic budget pamphlet at church one day and it just resonated with me. I started researching budgeting ideas and then I implemented them. We stopped spending, we created a budget and we started paying more than minimum payments.  I got tired of being in debt. We were living pay check to pay check and adding credit card debt weekly. I realised one of our debts – paid at minimum which was all we were paying – would take us 48 years to pay off. We paid it off first – in 4 months.

8. What is your ‘big’ financial goal/dream?

Paying off our dream home and a European holiday.

9. What are some of your favourite blogs/Instagrams to get budget tips from?

I’ve follow the Non Consumer Advocate @nonconsumer for years. I like the reminder of the simple everyday things that make a difference.

I follow a lot of budget IG accounts but a few favourites are –

you 😃 Budget Mum Blog

and

@frugal_aussie_mum

@determined_mummy

10. How do you keep your grocery budget down?

I keep an ongoing inventory of our freezer and fridge. I shop at home first – the meat that we eat this week is usually bought weeks ahead at reduced to clear prices or on sale.

I write up a complete meal plan of dinners and I plan ahead our lunches and breakfast items.

My shopping list is made up of specials to stock our pantry and freezer – I love 50% off! The rest of the list is essential items for the current meal plan.

Our ‘sweet spot’ for groceries is $150 – includes cleaning and personal hygiene items. We’re feeding 5 people now (one son is married) 4 adult and 1 child appetites.

I hope you loved hearing from Suze as much as I loved interviewing her!  I think her tips are so useful because of how simple and easy to do they are.  If you would like to be interviewed or know someone who would be, please let me know!

Budget Mum Blog - Living the good life for less

Winter wardrobe refresh

Winter refresh

 

Winter refresh by budgetmumblog featuring a chambray top
I have started doing an audit of my own winter wardrobe to see what I need to add to it.  Once I started looking I thought I would show you guys how many great items are out there for a reasonable price that will refresh your winter wardrobe for under $30!

Chambray top
kmart.com.au

Top
kmart.com.au

Sweater
target.com.au

Emerson cardigan
bigw.com.au

Sweater
cottonon.com

Jacket
kmart.com.au

Denim jacket
cottonon.com

Waterfall waistcoat
kmart.com.au

Legging
target.com.au

Legging
target.com.au

Ankle booties
bigw.com.au

Hat
kmart.com.au

Scarve
kmart.com.au

Scarve
cottonon.com

Anzac biscuits

Anzac biscuits are the recipe that every good Aussie or Kiwi should have. In honor of our lost soldiers I love to make them at this time of year. Every year I vow they are that good I will make more often and I should! They last for ages because of the lack of eggs, and because they are egg free a super easy bring a plate for people with allergies!


Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raw sugar
¾ cup dessicated coconut
1 cup plain flour
125 g butter
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
½ tsp bicarb soda
3 tablespoons boiling water

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a bowl put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar, stir to combine.

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a bowl. (I did it in the microwave).    Add the bicarb and boiling, it will  foam up.

Add the butter mix into the dry mix and stir until combined.
Roll into golfball sized balls, or, using a spoon, drop mixture onto trays, spacing them about 6cm apart.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy! These are full of buttery oaty goodness. In an airtight container these biscuits will last weeks! (If they last that long)

Chocolate Flake Cheesecake

I love this Chocolate Flake Cheesecake is THE BEST.  Perfect to use up all the left over Easter Chocolate (if that’s a thing?) It’s a no bake dessert so it’s quick and easy to prepare.  And delicious!


This is normally our Easter dessert and we had it for dinner this Easter Sunday but really this is a great dessert for many occasions!

Ingredients

2 pks of chocolate ripple biscuits (or see note)
200 g butter
1 large lemon
500 g cream cheese
400 ml condensed milk
250 ml thickened cream                                                                                    1 teaspoon of chocolate essence or vanilla essence
5 flake chocolate bars

Method

1 Crush biscuits in a food processor or blender until fine crumbs
2. Melt butter, and mix into the crushed biscuits, press into spring form tin.  Fill bottom first and around the edges of tin as well
3. Put into fridge to set while making filling
4. Beat the cream until forms soft peaks
5. In a separate bowl beat together cream cheese and condensed milk until it becomes thick and smooth
6. Juice lemon and stir through the mixture
7. Carefully fold through the cream and essence into the cream cheese
8. Carefully crumble 4 flake bars into the mixture and stir to even distribute
9. Pour over crust, sprinkle last flake on top and allow to set for 3-4 hours.

 

NOTE

If you don’t have chocolate ripple biscuits on hand or like our family have allergies.  This is a great substitute. 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup coconut & 1/4 cup cocoa.  Mix together and add 125 g melted butter.  Prepare base as above. (This mix will only cover base not sides).

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do.  It’s an impressive dessert that is cost effective.

Budget Mum Blog - Living the good life for less

Basic Brownie Recipe

This is a great basic brownie recipe, but do not misunderstand there is nothing basic about the taste of this recipe!  It’s just a great stand by recipe – easy to make and easy to mix up flavours.  It’s a great recipe to have for all occasions easy for school lunches but fancy enough for a bring a plate.  Even better there is no need to ice the brownie – it’s that good all by itself.

the best brownie you will ever eat
the only brownie recipe you will ever need.
Recipe

4 eggs
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups plain flour
250 grams melted butter
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 c
  2. In a large bowl or saucepan melt butter,
  3. Mix in sugar, flour, cocoa and bi carb soda.
  4. Add eggs and mix all ingredients.
  5. Pour into lined 20 x 20 cm tin. (I use a pyrex dish)
  6. Bake 50-60 mins at 160 c
  7. Dust with icing sugar! EAT quickly before someone else does!

In step 4 your imagination can run wild, you can add nuts, seeds, chunks of chocolate, a trickle of peanut butter! Honestly I have tried a lot of different flavours and with this basic recipe there is so many different options and they always taste great.

the best brownie recipe EVER

the only brownie recipe you will ever need

I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does.

How to make a budget.

One of my most asked question is can you show me how to make a budget? Making a budget and following it is the first step in taking control of your finances.  

how to make a budget
Making a working budget

To make a budget you need to first understand your spending patterns. Look through old banking statements and tally up how much you spend on everything extra groceries, entertainment, clothing/extras. Generally these are the easiest areas to cut back on.
Once you understand your spending habits and hopefully have found the areas you are overspending in. I find the easiest way to run a budget is to end up with no money at the end of the week. This is called a zero budget – zero money left at the end of your pay cycle. I have my money set up so that my savings comes out first then I have enough money for all my expenses left in my account (or taken out in cash). I have two accounts for everything else one for yearly/ quarterly bills and the other is my savings. If there is any money left over at the end of a pay cycle this means I have spent less money on petrol/food etc I then roll that also into my savings account.
If budgeting is new to you – then paying yourself first is an important lesson. Paying yourself first means you have taken out your savings as your first transaction of your pay cycle. That way you are forced to stick to your budget more rigidly. And you’re taking growing your savings (and bettering your financial situation) seriously.
Setting up your budget is as easy as grabbing a pen and paper. Write down in one column all your expenses and in the other write down all you income. If they don’t match you have two options
1. Work out how to make more money (side hustles here.) OR
2. Spend less.

Budgeting is really that easy. You should always include in your expenses your savings goals. Otherwise you will never better your financial situation you will only be treading water. If you would like further help in sorting out your budget I have a three step series here, here and here. to help. But the most important lesson is to know that you need to be honest about all your expenses. Digging deep through your bank details, items such as pet insurance, netflix, tuck-shop for your child all little things can throw a budget out.
Good luck in budgeting and please if I haven’t covered everything you want to know in my 3 part series please ask!