Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Staying on Budget

Miss 8 was counting her money last week. She has collected 'throw away' coins, the little ones that most people see as such a small value they are irrelevant. She was pretty excited when she declared she had $14.70 and only needed 30 more cents to be able to get the Barbie doll she has been admiring at the store. Those small coins, almost without value, have come together and guess what... when they are added together they make a huge difference to a small girl. She has saved, worked for some, resisted the urge to spend on lollies and now her goal is so close she can almost touch it. It is her very first lesson in budgeting and spending.

Rams is running a campaign right now called RAMS Loose Change Round-Up, focusing on the small changes in life that can have a huge impact on the success of a budget.

With 4 kids ( 3 of whom count as adults in the food budgeting), 2 dogs, a cat and a mortgage, school fees and general life, money and budgeting are an inevitable part of everyday life for us.

When we were first married with a small baby, we had no money. I mean NO money. I used to whip the margarine to make it go further. We were budgeted down to the last cent and there was not enough money left over for a coffee with a friend. Times were tough but they taught me skills that have stayed throughout 20 years of marriage.

Even though nowadays we can be more relaxed with the budget, I still have a meal plan for the week. I shop according to the menu, and anything that isn't on the menu list or a staple such as washing detergent goes in the shopping trolley seat section.
At the end of my tour of the supermarket, I re-examine what is in the seat section and decide if I am willing to spend part of my grocery money on those items. Sometimes it's a resounding 'yes' ( hello TimTams on sale!! ) but often 6 or 7 of the items are returned to the shelf as I don't really want or need them. It's a simple shopping tactic that has saved me from many impulse purchases, and kept me on track with my grocery budget.

Loose change is often loosely spent, without a great deal of thought. When you start seeing your loose change as the basis for a saving plan, it doesn't take long for you to change your thinking about the coin section of your wallet. 

One very small saving tactic I use in our home is to declare one denomination of coin 'illegal'.
In my home any $2 coins are cleared out of my wallet at the end of each day and dropped into a cheap tin moneybox. It is a small amount to remove from a wallet, less the cost of a cup of coffee, but saved up, those little golden circles have allowed us to have fun with our kids guilt-free. 

If you save $2 a day for a year, that amounts to $730 ! Plenty of money for a couple of nights away as a family, or a romantic getaway.

I don't stick to this religiously, sometimes there are no $2 coins, sometimes there are several. Sometimes I know I'm going to need them, but as much as possible, I stash them away. It's only a small thing but every little bit adds up, just as Miss 8 has started to discover.

What are your best budget tips? 

1 comment:

  1. I save the $2 coins too. They add up to some great spending money at times.


Your comments are welcome, please be kind and respectful. We all have different views of the world, sharing your view with gentle words is appreciated.xxx Lisa