Why we went cash!

Why we went cash?

Going cash wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I thought that we handled our money fairly well. And since I was the person who handled most of the money – I didn’t want to admit defeat. But there are many reasons why we went cash – some reasons why you should consider going cash too!

why went to a cash budget
Why went cash and you should to!

 

At the beginning of the year I set a lofty saving goal. A goal I would no longer be meeting, unless I really stopped spending.  So I tried a number of things, our budget was good.  And I didn’t over spend by a ton each week but I did over spend.  As the saying goes – small leaks sink big ships.  I was keen to stop the leaks and try to reach my saving goal.

Working with cash means that I have no safety guard. If I am doing the groceries and it goes over then I have two options – I can borrow money from my ‘incidentals’ or I can put back some items. That’s it. I only put one week’s money in at a time, so I cannot borrow from the following week.

The cash also forces me to examine every cent I spend. Do I really need that? Because if I spend that $8 on a BBQ chicken for dinner, (because I’m too lazy to cook) then later in the week I will not have that $8 when I do the groceries.

Cash also helps me understand my budget categories better. Things that may have been blurred before have become very clear. Take away as a family on a Friday night is an entertainment expense. However a quick donut alone for a treat at work on a Wednesday is NOT an entertainment expense and I really should be paying for that out of my allowance. As painful as that is for me.

Knowing what is an ‘incidental’ expense and what should be in another category means that I can easily work out if my budget needs to be altered. Or if it is my spending. It makes my budget flow a lot easier knowing that there is enough money. As long as I spend it in the right categories.

Cash has forced me to identify my spending in a way I haven’t had to before.  I now have an understanding of my ‘leaks.’  I also know where every cent is going.  But best of all I am saving more than ever.  The extra spending no longer can happen – if I want something I understand it is at the expense of something else.   If you are thinking about changing to cash, if any of these points sound like you.  I urge you to give it a go.  It’s not easy and it takes a little getting use to.  But when I see the extra money I am saving weekly – I am happy to go through the hassle of getting cash out every Wednesday morning.

love budget mum

 

What to do when you get a pay rise!

Getting a pay rise can be an exciting time, a great reward for your hard work! I recently got a pay rise with the change of financial year. The problem is deciding what to do when you get a pay rise!

W
What to do when you get a pay rise

Many people don’t do anything with their pay rise.  Just let it sit unallocated in their budget and frit it away.  This is the worse thing you could do!  In the words of Dave Ramsey you should have a purpose for every cent.

If you receive a pay rise you need to allocate to your debt or savings straight away.  It isn’t a opportunity to spend more.

If you are in debt it should be made into a direct debit onto that debt every pay cycle.  If you are not in debt then your pay rise should be put towards your saving goals.

My payrise (its only $46) will be going as an extra payment onto my mortgage every fortnight.  It’s not a great deal extra but like with all debts, any extra payment makes a bigger difference long term.

Previously I have not done anything consciously with my pay rises.  And my spending has unconsciously gone up, the more money you have (un-budgeted) the higher your expenses go up – I have found.  So my suggestion is to get every dollar working for you.  This means making sure every payrise – no matter how big or small – is consciously put on your debt or savings.

What will you put your next pay rise towards?

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How to get your Partner on board with a budget

Getting your partner on board with your budget or financial goals may seem impossible or unimportant but in reality the opposite is true.  I was the partner that wasn’t on board.  I regularly spent until I had nothing left.  How to get your partner on board with a budget or financial plan is actually a lot easier then you probably think.  I should know – I am now the driver of our budget.

How to persuade your partner to get on board with a financial plan and budget
How to persuade your partner that you need a budget
Identify why your partner is against a budget.

They may not think they will be able to do anything fun.  Or perhaps it’s they don’t want to be told what they should do with their money.  By knowing why your partner is hesitant to have a budget is the easiest way to break down the barrier and get them on board with having a budget.  Have the conversation and make them involved in building the budget so they can have their say!  You may also want to use treats.  After paying off the 3 credit cards, if you save up you can buy whatever car you want.  That in itself is a massive goal, but if that means they get a reward that might be all they need.  The rewards system  doesn’t need to be that big to work, a mini break paid in cash or an extra $50 spending money once the first 3 things are paid off etc.  All works wonder once you get the ball rolling, if your partner is like me then they will be so happy paying off their debt that they no longer want the ‘extras.’

Be prepared.

Have your statistics.  Using a graph projecting your current debt pay off date and how much sooner you could pay it off by adding extra money to your repayments.  You could use a site like like here. To make it easy and quick to show the benefits of paying off your loans or mortgage sooner.  Or how much a house repayment could be if you are saving for a house.  If you also come prepared with how much you could save if you no longer had a credit card/ car/furniture repayment.  Often those figures are impressive enough to put something else that truly matters – a family holiday, wedding etc.

I was personally shown a graph that my now husband had prepared of our debts (mainly my debt before we met).  That graph set me in motion to get another job and pay off A LOT of my debt within the following year.  You can read about that here.

Set Goals.

By setting your goals together you know exactly what you are working towards and what you want to achieve.  If it is something you both want – then it will keep you inspired and on track.  If one of you stray the other can put you back on track.  But only if its something you both want to achieve.

Review.

Set a review date – say 8 or 12 weeks.  If the budget isn’t working its an opportunity to adjust and make changes – not a time to give up.  The aim is that it is working.  This is enough time for you to show your partner how far you have come and the benefits of staying on track with your budget and plan.

Good luck! I hope that this works for you and inspired your partner to start looking after your financial future.  Please let me know how you go with getting your partner on board with a budget!

love budget mum

Our day out with Thomas at the Workshops rail museum

We have a Thomas obsessed son, by obsessed I mean OBSESSED.  He was gifted a Thomas rail way by his cousins recently and that has fuelled his obsession.  If I got a dollar every time “toot toot” was said at our house then I wouldn’t need to work! So when we heard that Thomas was coming to the Workshops Rail Museum we decided to go and check it out.  So yesterday we had a day out with Thomas at the Workshops Rail Museum  in Ipswich.

is going to the rail museum worth it
A day out with Thomas at the Workshops Rail Museum Ipswich

If you live in South East Queensland and were considering going I would highly recommend it.  Our son is 21 months old and loved it.  However if you had older children then I think they would love it as well.  There is something for everyone.  Is going to see Thomas the tank engine worth it

There were a ton of hands on areas where you could build your own tracks, an area for under 3’s, drive a train, a chill room with lounges, Thomas books and a dvd being shown.

Frugal family fun with Thomas the train

Is the Thomas the tank engine worth it

The fat controller even had a show!  While we were there, there was an animal room as well, so plenty to see and do.


There is a cafe but you can easily bring your own lunch and sit on the lawn and enjoy the sun, we did this and it was beautiful under the trees. The carpark is nearby and free – I left our lunch in the car and went out to get it when we were hungry.

The beautiful grounds of the Workshops Rail Museum Ipswich

It cost us $14.50 for each adult and our son was free because he is under 3 years. Everything was included except there is a train ride which was $3 each or $10 a carriage.

The grounds where T

Overall we would go again.  I can not wait for our son to be older so we can spend longer there but even a his age I believe that it was for the hour drive to Ipswich.  We spent roughly 2 1/2 hours and we didn’t watch the Fat Controllers show because our son couldn’t sit still long enough!

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

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

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