Posted on Leave a comment

Tips to do a No Spend Month: $1k here we come.

One way to raise money quickly is to do a no spend month. Budgeting and saving money comes in many shapes. This is just one. Won’t you join us?

For the Month of May our little family of four will not spend any money on anything other than what has already been budgeted for (Food, bills, petrol, mortgage/rent) – no entertainment or social budget this month, no eating out, no coffees, cokes or maccas, no socks, jocks or million other things we ‘need’, no extras at all. (As a disclaimer I do have a 3-day cruise this weekend and have already budgeted and saved up my spending money (aka booze money) for that #priorities!!).

And, Yes there’s Mother’s day this month – if you haven’t already purchased a prez or budgeted for it in another account you’ll have to get creative. We had an early Mother’s Day dinner while Mum was in town kid sitting for me while I worked away. Meanwhile let me tell you, vouchers for massages from kids are THE best prez us mums can get, seriously better than diamonds if the massages come to pass! We also love hand written poems from the heart and who hasn’t still got a macaroni cup or equivalent on their desk! Get creative.

Below are some tips to help you and yours embrace a No Spend Month.

Tip 1.

Know your why. Why are you doing a no spend month. What’s your goal?

This month I need to boost our emergency fund by $1000. The purpose of an emergency fund is just that, for emergencies. Things you don’t see coming, so you’re prepared and won’t have to go into debt, hopefully. Ours took a beating with me needing to dip into it for car repairs I wasn’t expecting to be so high, time to top it up again so I have a buffer. Anything we save above that will go into paying down a HECS tax debt I incurred last financial year #oops. Holiday fund needs a top up too. What’s your why and your goal? Write them down and display it prominently on the fridge or back of toilet door, or both. Keep it in the eyes and minds of everyone.

Tip 2:

Get the whole family on board. Set the expectation. Let them know why and what and for how long. Turn it into a game if you can. Let them help you come up with creative ways to not spend money. Make up charts if you have smaller kids. If you have teens put up motivational money saving quotes around the house. Teach them the life lesson of sacrificing now for safety in the future (or a holiday or whatever your goal is). In a generation of ‘give me now’ delayed gratification can be a brilliant life lesson.

Tip 3:

Ensure you have budgeted correctly. You should already have your budget planned for the year – how much each pay you need to set aside for the bills, education (which seems to increase every year lately!), petrol, food, and mortgage/rent. Not another penny gets spent (and let’s put it out there no emergencies occur this month!). Having budgeted correctly, stick to it. With food and petrol, I find it good to get that amount out of the bank which reduces the risk of overspending. I get paid fortnightly, so I plan to shop and fill up with petrol each week (So it feels like I’m spending some money and so it’s easier to manage the sticking to budget – this is what works for me).

Tip 4:

Reduce food bill on top of no spend month. Our normal food bill (for myself, Miss 17, Miss 15 and Mr sporty 10, and the cat) is normally around $200 per week. For this month I’m reducing it drastically to $125 per week! #gameon

a) Meal preparation is the key to this one. Plan what you and yours are going to eat for every meal for the week, including snacks. What home made snacks can you make. Account for every dollar spent in the shopping by tying it to a meal (or household need – e.g. toilet paper, cleaning items etc).

b) Pantry challenge. Using what’s already in the fridge, freezer and pantry may seem logical but have you emptied the pantry to see what’s in there that can be used? Simple Savings have a $21 challenge where all you spend on food for the week is $21 to top up bread, milk, fruit and veg then everything else for the week comes from being creative with your pantry, fridge and freezer supplies. I haven’t shopped a full shop in a while so not sure we can do that, but we’ll certainly be inventorying our pantry and freezer. Over the next week I’ll do a post on our pantry and meal preparation and how I went sticking to $125 for the week. Wish me luck!

Tip 5:

Make sure you still have family outings.

Get creative. Perhaps sit down as a family and come up with some free family outings or social things you can do. Some suggestions:

  1. Invite friends over for a BBQ – everyone brings their own food, drinks and eating utensils.
  2. Organise a play day in the park if you have smaller kids – take your own snacks and sangas.
  3. Family beach day with a picnic.
  4. If you have petrol left over for the week take a drive somewhere you can go for a family walk/hike.
  5. Have a family games night/day at home. If you’re game invite friends and ask them to BYO snacks.
  6. Local museums are usually free entry. Check out what other local attractions are free and visit them – play tourist in your own region.
  7. If you’re so inclined and have the equipment, go fishing and get creative with bait (or budget into the food shopping!). If you catch dinner, that’s a savings!
  8. Visit relatives you don’t see often, especially elderly ones.
  9. Get out into the garden and do some gardening, potting, planting or tidying up.
  10. Declutter the house and look for things to sell to make some extra cash. You could make it a family challenge – whatever we sell this month we put towards eating out, going on a holiday (even if it’s just an overnighter somewhere) etc to inspire the kids.

The list is endless. Would love to hear what you’ve done with yours that was free or budgeted from the food budget.

That’s my top tips. Will check in with you all later in the week to see how you’re progressing. Don’t be shy…the only thing you have to lose is unnecessary expenditure. It’s amazing once you take out all the ‘wants’ as opposed to needs, how much you can save and how quickly.

Show us a photo of your goals/whys posted around the house.

Love,

Jo

Mentor Mumma

Posted on 1 Comment

The B word … Budgeting – for all types of parents.

The B word.. Budgeting, none of us particularly like it. Most of us cringe at the thought of it. It is however a necessity in getting ahead and not spending your life looking back. I think it was John Maxwell who said Budgeting is telling your money what to do rather than wondering where it went! 

Google, and a host of well meaning Facebook memes tell me it’s just 26 weeks until Christmas 2017. That’s half a year! And the good news is with some small changes in your household, you can change financial direction and have a great Christmas, a great holiday and pay off any debts you have (some will take a lot longer). Great doesn’t have to mean big and expensive. Some of our most memorable family moments have been camping in a National Park that cost us less than $25 a night.

Only a few years ago I was counting every cent and had to beg friends for help by laying my heart, and our situation, on the line. Fast forward a few years, a few changes (physical and mentally) and a few improvements and here I am having just taken the kids on an amazing overseas holiday, I’m debt free (apart from that pesky HECS debt) and planning on buying myself and the kids a home (yep I regret selling our family home a decade ago). So here’s some of the top tips I’ve learnt and hope they help you too.

 

Oh but first have you joined our Facebook Group: Parenting Australia with Mentor Mumma? If not, click HERE 

Top Tip – Set your intention! Get a goal. Keep it in mind, every, single, day. Write it on your fridge and toilet door.

Tip 1 – Keep a record, even if just for two months

You will be amazed when you start keeping a record of where waste appears and areas you’re spending in that you never realised. By keeping a record of every cent spent you get an idea of where the ‘holes in your bucket are’ and where you can make changes. A 25c exercise book from Woolworths will do.

Tip 2 – Get a water bottle or old coke bottle

From this day forward any $2 coins you get, go straight into this bottle. Cut a hole in the top and super glue the lid shut so you can’t get anything out (nor can the kids!). Just keep filling it until it gets to the top, and when you do you should have close to $1000. Some people put any new $5 notes they get in theirs too. Depends on where your budget’s at. This is your ‘adventure’ money. Money set aside for a family memory making event.

Tip 3 – Plan, Plan and Plan some more

Every year get new prices on your insurances.

Set up a direct debit or credit situation where you automatically make payments to your main bills ahead of time, each fortnight (or pay period) for electricity, phone, internet, etc so that you never have a bill again, you’re always ahead.

Shop wisely by creating meal plans, using what’s in the pantry and avoiding as much wastage as possible.

Simple Savings taught me the $21 challenge which I adapted to the $30 challenge. One week take an inventory of what’s in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Then work out what meals you can make with that. The $30 for the little extras you need to complete a week’s worth of meals using what’s already in the fridge/freezer and pantry. This will save a small fortune when done every six to eight weeks.

Plan, plan, plan.

Tip 4 – DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS

Unless you own your own home and have a redraw facility that benefits your mortgage, and you are also extremely disciplined to pay the card off every month without fail, then do not ever have a credit card. They give you a false sense of security. They teach you bad habits – living off what you don’t have yet. And they 99.9% of the time lead people into financial hardship and a never ending cycle of debt. Instead, only live on what you have and that may at times mean going without, sacrificing and having a few baked beans on toast meals. It’s worth it in the end. You’d also be surprised how many meals you can make with baked beans, just saying.

Tip 5 – Set yourself financial goals

I saw a billboard recently that said most humans spend more time planning their annual holiday than they do their future and retirement. It’s true. Start to set yourself financial goals. Get your superannuation in order. Dare to dream.

Tip 6 – Team effort: Get the kids on board

As a single mum I run my family like a team. Everyone plays their part. That means when we have holidays, everyone saves their own spending money, everyone contributes to the family in some way be that saving their own money or turning off the lights, turning power points off at the wall when not in use (this saves a small fortune too), having cold showers in summer, using a timer for hot showers in winter (cause let’s face it we all want to stay in there for an hour!), etc.

Tip 7 – 60/10/10/20 rule. 

I’m reading a great book at the moment by Scott Pape called the Barefoot Investor.  For it to be any good to you, you have to be above the poverty line and earning a decent income. HOWEVER, some of his basic principles can be applied:

  1. Ensure your bank account does not have annual fees.
  2. Set up four accounts: 1. Spendings/Daily living = 60% of your income. 2. Savings = 10% of your income. 3. Splurge = 10% of your income. 4. Fire Extinguisher (which is used to pay down and off debts quickly) = 20% of your income.

Tip 8 – Christmas bottle

Christmas is what you make it. If you choose to make it about gifts and overspending and getting in to debt, then that’s what you are teaching your children. THIS is the year you get to decide what legacy you want for your children’s future. DO NOT go into debt for Christmas, or anything else for that matter other than a roof over your head. Rediscover family, rediscover connectedness, put balance into your lives, and start the new year without a Christmas debt hangover. Start your Christmas bottle now – start putting $2 coins into it and what’s in there at Christmas time is what you spend. Nothing easier than that.

Tip 9 – Dream.

Don’t be afraid to dream. Work on your mindset. If things are working for you, change yourself first. I have a great ebook to help you do this if you’re struggling. Hat Trick Therapy: Three ways to change your life – Just $4.95 HERE 

There are so many more tips to get ahead financially, but prioritising your expenditure is a key one. I would love to hear your budgeting tips and tricks, success stories, and even failures too because everyone wise knows, failure is a major step in the success process.

Wherever you’re at financially, this is not where you have to live. This is not where your story ends. This is just the beginning.. you get to write the rest of your chapters. YOU get to make changes that change your life, and that of your kids lives. You’ve got this. If I can do it, then seriously, anyone can.

Have an amazing week,

Jo