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?