Like many people in the 'current climate' our income has been slowly decreasing over the past few years, as inflation has been consistantly higher than yearly pay rises, and now, with tax credit changes we are down by an extra £500 a year.
With everyone else suffering similarly my handmade sales are right down too...
But... luckily we have 'living on a budget' down to a fine art.
It is something I find comes up in conversation now with friends and family as many are in the same boat so I thought I would share how we did it.
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We started around a year ago... for one month we noted down every expenditure, saved up all our receipts, bus tickets, etc. We sat down at the end of the month and totted it all up and divided it by 4.5 - If you want to follow our lead, try to pick a typical month and just do your best to add everything up, using bank statements can help if you haven't been saving receipts.
Items included in our weekly budget:
- Groceries (Food, Drink, Toiletries, Cleaning products, Medicines)
- Eating out
- Bus/taxi fares
- Books and DVDs
Items not included in our weekly budget:
- Household bills (electricity, phone, council tax, mortgage, etc)
- Fuel for our fire
- Car servicing and tax
- Home maintenance and renovation
There are other ways to keep these costs to a minimum. We found week by week wasn't appropriate for us.
Key to living to the budget is meal planning and a single weekly supermarket shop. We have also found that it is essential to revel in the challenge and make it into a bit of a game.
I'm going to go into detail about meal planning and shopping lists in different posts.
For now I'll leave those of you who want to join in with the fun of adding up a month of costs.