Cash Envelope System

How to create your own cash envelope system.  Using a cash envelope system works well, even if you think you are already good with money.  It is a great idea if you go over each week, even if it is just by a little.  Only having cash can eliminate that, helping you save big in the longer term.

How to make a cash envelope system

If you are interested in why I went with the cash envelope system (and you should too) you can read about that here.  But the biggest reason I went cash is because I have a massive savings goal and so even though some of my ‘leaks’ were tiny I wanted to stop them quickly!

So first of all you need to decide you categories.  You can have as many as you like but I think more than 5 may make it a little tricky.  I use a mini folder from Kmart for my cash, but you can use envelopes, or clips to keep your money together.  I also have a coin purse for my coins.  You could use separate coin purses for each category if you want.  Whatever suits you.

My categories are – Groceries, petrol, entertainment, incidentals. Any leftover money goes towards savings. The goal is to keep your budget tight so you don’t have a heap left over so you can keep it in the bank and resist the temptation of spending!


Groceries this is pretty self explanatory.  All meat, groceries, fruit and vegetables plus cleaning products.

Petrol this category is fortnightly and obviously for me to put petrol in my car.  I put $50 a fortnight into my folder.

Entertainment is any for form entertainment or takeaway for the week. This is the only category that I carry over week to week if I don’t spend it all. At $50 it’s not enough to go out for a family dinner to a restaurant (we rarely do) so if we knew we had something coming up we would try and save previous weeks to help us out.

Incidentals this is our extra category.  It’s $50 a week.  Our incidentals are for expenses that come up with day to day life that don’t really have a category.  For us it could be another sippy cup, or contributing to a work colleagues gift.  I also put it towards ‘extras’ in the shopping if I find a great bargain that I can’t go past like reduced meat.  You could also have an incidentals category for lots of little sub categories like tuck shop money or parking money etc.

I also have a ‘medical’ category that is in the budget however I don’t take cash out for that.  Personally we are trying to have another baby so, the cost of going to the fertility doctor each month changes. Plus general doctors and sickness so while it is in budget, the amount can fluctuate wildly so I keep that in the bank and it is easier for the Medicare rebate as well.

On top of all these categories my husband and I are given an allowance. This goes directly into our separate accounts each week.  This is fun money! It is what ever we feel like, saving it for a new outfit or hair cuts etc.  It is also worth knowing this is also the first category that gets cut if we need to cut costs.

The rules

Once you have your categories and amounts sorted you then ready start you cash envelope system. The only rule is once you’re out of money – there is no more money until next week.  Don’t borrow money from the following week otherwise you will be always borrowing or chasing your tail.  If you must borrow money then you can borrow from another category – this is why having an incidental category is great.  It provides a buffer for expenses that can not be budgeted for.

It is up to you what you should do with your left over money.  You can leave it for the following money and still withdraw the full amount.  Or you can withdraw a reduced amount.  Or you can put it towards your saving goal – this is what we do.  I save the cash for a specific reason at the moment it is spending money for an upcoming mini holiday we are going on.

So far it has been great, on average I have been saving an extra $30 -50 per week.  Because I now second think every purchase.  Items like takeaway or incidentals, even though they are in my budget my spending has decreased.  I would love you to give cash envelopes a go and tell me if they make a difference in your spending and savings!

love budget mum

Drastic ways to save money very quickly

Drastic ways to save A LOT of money – some tough love and very quick ways to save money.  Sometimes something happens in life and you realise you need to change your ways now. These are some tips and hints to help you get out of debt or save a lot of money quickly.  It won’t be easy but it will be worth it!

how to save big money with drastic cuts
how to save big money with drastic cuts
How to save a lot of money quickly

Phone & internet bill – cut your mobile phone.  Most of us didn’t have a mobile growing up and we survived.  Internet didn’t even exist, these days it is seen as a necessity but is it really? Internet can be found for free in most shopping centres and libraries.

One car – sell the other car.  Getting down to one car seems hard but really a second car is a luxury – one that sometimes we can’t afford.  We were a one car family and it saved us about $5000 in a matter of months.  Was it a pain to get up early to drop my husband to the train – sometimes but we got organised and made it work.  It was VERY worth it!

Rent a room – have a spare room, rent it out.  If you have children think about hosting an international student from their school.  You make money for food and their living expenses, roughly $280 a week.  In return you need to provide them with their own room and provide 3 meals a day.

Smaller house – if things are really tough, rent out your house and move into a unit.  It may only be needed to make the sacrifice for 6 months or a year but think of the money you will save and make.

Utilities – remember your dad telling you to turn off the lights or things at the wall (or maybe it was just mine?). But he was on to something – these little acts can all save money.

No Spend Month or Year – have you heard of a no spend month?  It makes you rethink what you ‘need’ and what you don’t try it.  See if you can extend it and do a no spend 3 months.  Or do every second month a no spend month it will really help you organise your finances and jump start your savings.


Budget Mum Blog

The best tips to save money on groceries

I really spend a lot of my time wondering / researching and looking how I can make my grocery bill smaller. But this is honestly the simplest way to save money.  Here are the best tips to save money on groceries.

one tip to easily lower your grocery bill
lower your grocery bill with on easy tip

Ready – don’t shop in one store. That’s it! You need to accept that the major supermarkets are like all businesses and are about making money, BUT so are the small stores. So you need to shop around.

  1. The local fruit shop.  If you have a fruit shop in your local shopping centre you need to check it out.  If you think about how business works, it’s in the fruit shops best interest to be cheaper than the major supermarket otherwise who is shopping there?  They need to make rent and a profit so if they can’t beat the prices of the supermarket then they will go out of business. Not everything will be cheaper but it really is worth your while to know your prices and compare.  I generally check out the specials in the fruit shop, do my groceries – buy anything on my list that is cheaper in the supermarket (generally not a lot – but some specials are) then do the fruit and veg on the way out.  It takes an extra 5 mins and can save you A LOT of money – get in the habit and it’s easy.
  2. The big barn type fruit shop.  Generally it’s not attached to any shops and because of this is a TON cheaper than a supermarket.  The problem with this is that you may need to drive a little bit further around town to find the best.  It is worth your effort – once I found one with sales on things I regularly buy I sign up for their newsletter so I know what’s on sale before I make the trip.
  3. Bulk meat butchers – again knowing your prices is key here.  But I find once you have found a GOOD bulk butcher you will never want to leave them.  All it takes on your behalf is a marking pen, a couple of freezer bags and a freezer and you can buy a months work of meat for around $100 – $150 depending on how many you are feeding.  For a family of 4 trying to buy a weeks worth of meat at a supermarket for $25 but at the bulk butchers EASY.  Buying in bulk is what gets you the discount but don’t think you need to buy 10 kg of chicken breast to benefit, you just won’t be able to buy 500 gram pre packed trays and you will need to break them up into portion sizes when you get home.
  4. Large chemist type shops – obviously great for cheap prescription drugs but also great for personal hygiene and cleaning products.  The standard price in our chemist for my husbands deodorant is cheaper then the supermarkets buy $1, not on special just cheaper all day everyday.

If shopping around seems like too much effort, then break it up into days – know that there is a fruit barn near your Aunt’s house your going on the weekend – drop by and check it out. Once you get into the habit you will really love spending less money and A LOT less time in the supermarket.  Signing up for the newsletters or even better the rewards programs (if they have them) is a great way of planning you groceries.  Some weeks you won’t even need to step into a supermarket.  I hope you love these tips to save money on your groceries.

Budget Mum Blog

Budget Series 3 – Revising

I hope you have enjoyed my Budget Series so far here are the other parts Part 1 & Part 2.  The 3rd section is probably the most important to make sure your budget is successful for your family and productive – it is  revising your budget so it is working the best for you and your family.

making your budget work properly and successfully
Revising your budget to make it work for you

By revising your budget regularly you are planning ahead and making sure that your budget is working the best for you. This is probably the most important step to do.  A budget that isn’t constantly revised or updated it isn’t working to its full potential.

The only thing I recommend is having a good spreadsheet where you can tally up all your expenses regularly to double check you are staying in budget. This ensures your budget is living and breathing.

Double check your bills, generally insurances and things like petrol etc will go up yearly, you should build into your budget room to move within the years.  Sometimes your wages will go up and other times it won’t and you will need to reduce some bills.  Always double check other companies before you renew things such as your insurances, like here.

If your income goes up or your expenses do down, do not relax the budget.  From experience nothing is saved in a relaxed budget.  Save the excess money and pay off a debt early or go on a holiday.  But do not allow your self to become lax about your budget this fails your good efforts to start with.

I’m not saying you can’t enjoy yourself.  A good budget will have the flexibility to allow good times.  The importance lies in that your budget flexibility allows you not to go backwards.  You may not make a much ground towards your debt that week but if your not going backwards that is the main thing.

If you have a goal and work towards it – don’t burn yourself out by not cutting yourself some slack occasionally.  So if you pay off a debt early perhaps that week you could have takeaway to celebrate, etc.  The key is small celebrations that don’t set you backwards.  Going backwards is never worth it, once you have a goal you want to meet that goal.

In built into our budget is $50 a week to spend on what we want, so even in the tightest of weeks when we do cheap grocery shopping or months when we don’t spend money like no spend April, we still have that little buffer to spend on going out for coffee or a meal.  It’s up to us to spend that any way we like but the point is we are not going backwards.

I hope you enjoyed my budget series – do you have any questions or is there anything that you think I left out?  I would love to here about your budgets.


love budget mum blog - frugal and budget living blog

budget series - revising your budget
revising your budget

How to save on groceries -before you get to the store

Cutting down the cost of your grocery bill does not always just in the supermarket – here are some tips to cut the cost of your grocery bill before you even step into the supermarket!  Implementing a couple of tricks here and there will save you big money at the checkout.  Think about things that your mother and grandmother use to do to stretch meals that little further to help save on groceries.

saving on groceries

Saving money on groceries
  1. Meat Free Monday, it’s not hard to make a filling vegetarian meal once a week.  But the simple sway could see your grocery bill drop by $10 by making it meat-free.  Consider making this a regular thing and enjoy the savings! Meat free pasta is always a hit – like this spinach cannelloni.
  2. Smaller meat portions, by buying in bulk and dividing up your meat into smaller pieces yourself saves you by getting more portions from the same amounts.  Consider buying mince and instead of 500g portions make it 400g portions it stretches it out further and only a small difference to each persons portion.
  3. Cheaper meat cuts.  Embrace the slow cooker and use cheaper cuts of meats to make delicious meals that cost less.
  4. Embracing pasta and rice to stretch meals.  Growing up every meal was served with either pasta or rice – I thought it was normal.  But it was just my mums way of stretching meals for the six of us.  It doesn’t need to be a large serving but a large spoonful of pasta or rice to fill up the troops is a great way of stretching out a meal.
  5. Embracing vegetables – another thing that I thought was normal growing up but it was just one of my mums tricks was grated vegetables.  Grated vegetables in EVERYTHING, grated carrots and zucchini are great because they are cheap.  My favourite vegetable is choko.  A choko doesn’t have much flavour and takes on the flavour of other items in the dish and best of all it’s is whitish/clear colour so not easily detectable!
  6. Growing your own vegetables and fruits.  So many things can now be grown in pots it is easy to have a small vegetable garden anywhere.  Even in an apartment you can grow herbs easily – a great way to save money.
  7. Making your own cleaning products is better for your budget and better for the environment.  A couple of ingredients and an afternoon and you will have enough cleaning product for 6 months.  Check out my pinterest board board for more ideas
  8. Meal Planning & Shopping your pantry a great tip to stay organised and use all ingredients you already have without over shopping Check this out to help out the pantry
  9. Fishing.  In days gone by fishing was a very popular way of supplementing your grocery bill.  It shouldn’t be discounted as a cost effective way even now.

Good Luck saving money before you even go to the shops! If you have any tips or hints you use before you even get to the supermarket please leave it in the comments below!


love budget mum blog - frugal and budget living blog

how to save money on your grocery bill by saving cash before you leave home
how to save money before you even get to the shops

No Spend Month – APRIL

We have a fairly tight budget, we are a one income family.  Until very recently I was still receiving some leave payments from my work (I took everything (all possible leave) at half pay). So that has dried up and I still have 6 months of leave without pay left until I’m (expected) back at work. (It is one of my goals not to return). We love our budget and most weeks follow it to a tee, but even with a fully stocked bills account and emergency fund we have come up short! Cue a NO SPEND MONTH.

No spending
No spending

Reasons to have a no-spend month

  • We have received a $950 electricity bill for this quarter! (It’s obviously has been a scorcher of a summer in QLD but that is over and above our budgeted amount by about double).
  • Our house insurance has gone up from $2700 to $3500. Which was unexpected and they also gave us 3 weeks to pay it! (lovely)
  • We also have had to replace a back fence thanks to a very (un)helpful Beagle puppy.

So our regular bill account has been wiped out, which means that we need to built it back up, from basically scratch – this is what prompted a no spend month.  Drastic times call for drastic measures.  Our regular budget is tight but I think for the month of April we will have to stop spending on everything except groceries – and even then I will need to be using these recipes and these recipes to make sure I am coming in under budget.

We have no birthdays or events in April so we won’t need to buy anything but we will be celebrating our Wedding Anniversary with no gifts but we will be going out for dinner.  That will be coming out of our personal spending accounts (our allowances).

For me this a fairly drastic move, it’s not something that I am looking forward to, but something that I would like to consider doing possibly twice a year, depending how this turns out.  I function well in a budget knowing that  have enough to pay the bills etc, but I am nervous about not spending on anything but groceries and necessities like medical.  Have you ever had a no spend month?

Budget Mum Blog

Starting a Price Book

A price book is a budgeters best friend!  It can help you know what is a good special and predict when the item is going to go back on special.

Using and setting up a price book to save money and keep within your budget
Using a price book to save money

What is a Price Book?

First I’ll explain what a price book is.  It is a note book that you write all the things you buy regularly.  For example I buy our dog Purina Supercoat dry dog food.  It goes on special regularly at Coles, Woolworths and Big W.  But not all specials are equal, for example the supermarkets have 30-40% off every month (frustratingly normally in the same week) but occasionally 50% off. Big W have had just over 50% off time to time. So being dog food – I can stock up and keep it in the garage.  It is an easy saving to make and buy up big and save.

Why have a price book?

If you had a price book, you would know when the next sale of this depth would be and you could buy enough to get you through so you wouldn’t need to pay full price again.  Or worse buy a special you think is a good deal, only to realise in a couple of weeks that it wasn’t as good as first thought and something better has come along.

Does this inspire you to start a price book or do you have a price book and how much do you think it saves you?

Budget Mum Blog

5 things you should ALWAYS buy from ALDI

Aldi, you either love it or hate it.  I am firmly on the love it side but not for everything!  I love the prices for most things but sometimes I get carried away on their weekly specials! (story of my life!)  So this is a list of things you should always buy from Aldi.

The cheapest and best value things to buy from ALDI
Best things to buy from ALDI

Top 5 things to buy from Aldi

  1. Feta Cheese 200g Greek or Danish Style Feta 200 gram = $2.59 in other major supermarkets $4.74 or $3.00 for generic for 200 grams. SAVE $2.15
  2. Bocconcini Cheese $3.49 200 grams or $5 20o grams. SAVE $1.51
  3. Steak Scotch Fillet Grass Fed = $30.99kg or $40.00kg SAVE $9.01
  4. Steak Rump Grass Fed = $21.99kg or $27.00 SAVE $5.01
  5. Nuts Silvered Almonds 125 grams = $3.99 or $6.11 for 110 grams SAVE $2.12


This comparison was done on 29 Feburary 2016 in Queensland, my opinion is in comparison to other major supermarkets.  As always double check with your local suppliers especially if you can buy in bulk.

As much as I love Aldi there are still some things you should avoid such as brand named items that they stock.  EG coke – you will nearly always pay more because it doesn’t go on special in Aldi.  It is important even in Aldi to use your price book (start one here), some items I know are cheaper in major supermarkets if you buy generics.  Grated cheese was one of these items that surprised me considering most of there other cheeses are cheaper, grated tasty was still slightly cheaper if you buy generic at a major supermarket.

I rotate where I shop from week to week to get the best out of the 3 major supermarkets.  As much as I love Aldi I do not shop there every week, in the coming weeks I will share how and why I rotate my supermarkets.  What do you buy from Aldi and love the savings of?

Budget Mum Blog









8 ways to save on groceries

If you come here often – you will notice there is definitely a theme about cost cutting on your groceries and keeping to your budget.  Groceries for me is constantly the area I need to watch – if I am going to go over in our budget chances are it will be in groceries.  So some weeks I pull out every trick I know to keep on track.  So here are some great ways to save on groceries.

8 easy ways to save on groceries - budget mum
8 great ways to save money on groceries

8 tricks to help save on groceries

Here are some tricks that I use almost weekly –

  1. Shop at night or early morning – find out when your local store does markdowns these are very helpful to keeping costs down – especially in the meat department where it can help cut costs drastically.  As an added bonus you won’t get trolley range with other people that have no sense for the world around them.
  2. Know your prices.  Create a price book if you haven’t already so you know what is a good special and what isn’t.  A normal notebook will do with a page for ‘regular’ items you buy consistantly.  Set it up so you know what the special cycle is and when it is a good price or not.  The benefit is knowing and buying a good special when you see it.
  3. Never shop hungry! Just don’t you will end up with a whole snack food stash if you’re not careful!

    shopping meme
  4. Have a list. No brainer but seriously have a list.  I’m not saying stick to it or else but without a list you will start putting things into the trolley with good intentions that go nowhere and you will end up having to either going  back to buy more ingredients or throw out ingredients you didn’t use.  A menu plan will help with a complete shopping list before you leave the house!
  5. Be flexible, have a certain part of your grocery budget to buy specials.  Buying cheap bananas instead of apples will help your budget – knowing what you need (see point 4) but also being able to think on your feet and being flexible.  Roast pork on special instead of roast beef etc will help keep the budget in check.
  6. Have a slush fund.  If your budget for groceries is $150 then try to have $15-$20 for specials.  This way when your price book tells you it’s a good price you can stock up and save buying it full price next week.  It may take you a while to have enough space in your budget to create the slush fund but it is worth perservering. Start with not spending $5 per week of your budget to start building up your slush fund for specials.  For items like washing up detergent and dog food there is never any need to pay full price.
  7. Don’t be afraid to mix it up.  I rotate between Coles, Woolworths and Aldi. I get the catalogues and look what I need/want and go from there.  Some weeks I’ll go to all three is time/money permits to buy specials.  I know that this isn’t possible for everyone but it works for us.
  8. Try generic brands.  Honestly don’t start with the toilet paper! HA. But I bet there are at least a couple of things you wouldn’t even notice that is was generic.  Give a couple of things a go eg – cereal.  If you hate it chances are it was only a couple of dollars, but if you love it – perfect!  I actually prefer a couple of generic items – choc chips $1.55 YES PLEASE!

Budget Mum Blog

What else do you do to help keep you within your grocery budget?

How to save $1000 in one afternoon

An easy afternoon with your laptop and your insurances and utilities to save you thousands of dollars in just a couple of hours in your own home.  Sounds to easy to be true – but it is possible, how to save $1000 in one afternoon!

Saving money on insurance and utilities
Want to save $1000 in one afternoon?

How to save hundreds of dollars!

I’m not a fan of the phone, I much prefer email or messages where I can because I guess it’s more impersonal? Anyway in one afternoon you could save thousands of dollars doing the boring stuff online!  Gather you bills that you can use different suppliers for – unfortunately not rates or car registration but pretty much everything else. Here are a list of things that you may have –

  • House Insurance
  • Contents Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Mobile Phone
  • Home Phone
  • Internet
  • Subscription TV (Netflix, presto, stan, etc)
  • Electricity
  • Credit cards

ALL of these things can be easily compared online – make sure you are comparing like with like.  Have you policies with you so you know how much you are insured for and how much your excess is.  Once you have a new quote get it emailed to you.  You can then contact your existing supplier and tell them you are thinking of leaving them because you have a better quote – many will meet if not beat your new quote! It is easier to keep an existing customer than get a new customer! And if they won’t beat your price – change supplier! It’s that easy.  You will be surprised how quickly the savings stack up!  I have personally saved $380 in one insurance, the cheaper supplier was also our contents insurer so I got a further 10% off! So don’t forget about bundling together insurances for further discounts!

You don’t need to even wait until your insurance is up for renewal to enjoy the benefits – you will get a refund from your other insurance policies if you change.  Pick an afternoon and get to it – saving can be fun!  If this is something out of your comfort zone – make your self a deal!  At the end once you have contacted other suppliers tally up how much you have saved and give yourself a 10% bonus to enjoy!  It could be a bottle of wine or even a massage!  Let me know how much you have saved on you insurance swap afternoon!

Budget Mum Blog