I wrote back in May for the Huffington Post about my debt confession. I came clean about a problem that many people in the UK have. We have a chunk of money that we owe to credit card companies, £15,500 in total.
It's now the summer holidays and the most expensive family time of the year. We have six weeks of no childcare and three children to keep amused. Plus, we have football training twice a week and pre-season games every week with long distances to travel. Petrol, entertainment and food costs are high.
The past three months have seen us make some significant changes to our budget that have resulted in a big chunk of the money being paid off, focusing on the £2,000 that was interest chargeable. The £15,500 is now £13,500.
The focus has been on saving more money on household bills and making extra money where possible. The biggest savings being the following. Look at these things to save yourself some cash or make some money.
We swopped from Tesco to Aldi 18 months ago and have saved so much money since. What I do now is to go do a big shop once every three months. And I buy enough food in that shop to cover all meals. The only top up shop stuff required will be fruit and veg. This means that we can get away with spending around £50 per week on groceries.
Cancelling Sky Sports & Movies
I have changed our sky contract to be just our broadband, landline and basic TV package. This is now costing is £50 per month rather than £90 per month.
No spend month
We made May a no spend month, it was a quiet social month so we were able to keep the costs right down. We managed to spend £700 less in May that went straight onto the credit cards.
Still planned for the future
We have 2 big things planned to restructure our finances. First, we are selling our five-year-old S-Max as we own it. Hopefully for around £8000. We are then going to lease something more efficient and smaller car, something Japanese.
We also have our house on the market and are relocating from expensive Knebworth to lesser expensive Godmanchester. We can buy a bigger house, detached with a bigger garden for £100k less than what our house is worth. This will allow us to consolidate the debt in our mortgage, half our monthly mortgage cost and will save us a ton of petrol as we will live much closer to Cambridge for football, £1000 a month in savings.
Feelings about Frugality
Living frugally and being strict about spending money is tough. And when you do go to spend a chunk of money there are strange feelings that go with it. There is the guilt over spending a significant chunk of money on things. There is anger at any money being wasted or things being broken by the children.
Living on a budget is hard and it required significant change. I never wanted to relocate, but sometimes when you really look at the pros and cons change is a good thing.
Enjoy your summer holidays whether you be working or at home with the family. Try to do lot of fun and free things with the kids. Have a read of top ten free things to do with your family for ideas.