Our financial situation hasn’t really been in tiptop condition after Little H came. Cutting my hours at work means taking a cut in my monthly wages and then as part of my quarter-life crisis, I made a rather spur of the moment decision to leave work completely. So now I have zero contribution to our household.
But I’m a woman with a plan. Most of the time.
With Spring just around the corner, I can start cleaning up our finances and making a plan to improve our finances.
For years before I became a mum, I prided myself for being sensible about money and even managed to put away a handsome amount of savings every year.
Somehow I sort of stopped paying too much attention to our family finances after Little H came along. I stopped budgeting and I stopped putting money away for savings – not very sensible I know. But like many other first-time parents, I found all the pressures of being a first-time mum a little too overwhelming to think about anything else beyond basic survival for me and my new baby. And so for almost 2 years I buried my head in the sand and let our finances tick along until our savings started to dry out and our available credit now almost non-existent.
After taking stock, I realised that we DO need to make some changes.
Over the last few years, we managed to accumulate multiple credit and current accounts as we took advantage of 0% balance transfers, and current account introductory offers. Many of these accounts are inactive or no longer serve any purpose and so my first step is to close these accounts rather than continuing to deal with the ongoing paperwork.
Deposit any cash/cheques lying around into a bank account
Within our extended family, we like to gift cash for birthdays, Eids, Christmas, arrival of new baby, graduation basically any big deal occasion you can think of. They end up being forgotten in a safe hiding place in a shelf somewhere and so it is time to make that trip that I’ve been putting off to the bank and pay it into our main current account. This way we can actually ‘manage’ the money and use it either towards our monthly expenses or savings.
If you receive a cheque for any reason, make sure you deposit it within the valid ‘life’ of the cheque. This depends on the bank so obviously the sooner that you make the trip to the bank the better.
Tracking and reducing spending
The idea is to understand where our money is going so that it is easier to cut down on unnecessary expenses. Of course this is easier said than done but knowing how much we’ve spent eating out or in takeaways in a month can help motivate me to cook from scratch more often. Looking at how much we spend in our utility bills can help us understand if we are paying the best possible deal or if we need to change providers. One thing that I definitely need to stop buying is Little H’s nappies. I know that he is old enough to be potty trained and so we can save a few pounds a month by taking this expense out as soon as possible.
Have a plan for paying off our credit card debts
Unfortunately, we’re not really in the position to start putting any money into savings this year. We do however have a credit card each with a grand total of around £10,000. Yes. It is a LOT and it is scary thinking about how long it would take for us to pay it but thankfully we are still within the 0% interest period for both our cards. Also, we are still quite well below the average household debt in the UK which is £15,400. It is still eye-watering to think about but it is one we need to face and tackle.
We aim to clear some or most of the debt by the end of the interest-free period (end of this year). To do this, we need to focus on paying one credit card at a time (whilst continuing to pay the minimum for the other one), and agree to only use the credit cards for verified financial emergencies.
Finding extra income
Now that I am officially ‘unemployed’, I have the freedom to build something new for myself and being employed just didn’t give me the flexibility that I need to do this. Only time will tell if I had made the right decision. For me as a mum, I already feel that I made the right choice. So I don’t need to explain the reasons for me quitting the workplace but I’m probably going to tell you anyway. Maybe in another post.
For now, as part of my Spring clean, I am on the mission to find family friendly hustles to help my husband financially. So far I found that I can potentially make money with:
- This blog
- Matched betting – check out how I made my first £100 here.
- Freelancing building website and social media management
I don’t know how any of the above work out but I will keep you updated!