13 Everyday Demands That You Need To Put In Your Budget

I need to budget for a life I’ve never lived before, a life with kids. The fact that my kids will arrive fully grown, needing uniforms and money for school trips just adds to the fear that I will not think about something and suddenly there will be a very unpleasant bill. Luckily I have … Continue reading “13 Everyday Demands That You Need To Put In Your Budget”

I need to budget for a life I’ve never lived before, a life with kids. The fact that my kids will arrive fully grown, needing uniforms and money for school trips just adds to the fear that I will not think about something and suddenly there will be a very unpleasant bill.

Luckily I have some brilliant friends who seem to be doing rather well at this parenting malarkey. One, who is also a single Mum, invited me over for dinner and a detailed scrutiny of my budget. Needless to say there were things I hadn’t thought to account for (like birthday parties and hair cuts) so below is our list that we made together.

Please note that the numbers attached to each point are what we came up with for 3 people ~ ie. if I were fostering two tweens/teenagers (in London) and they are all per month. In every case I have tried to take the highest number we came up with to ensure nice surprises at the end of the month rather than bad ones! It also meant I didn’t need to over think the incidentals as they should be covered each time I didn’t hit the top figure budgeted for.

What have we missed? Add your suggestions in the comments below.

1) Rent £2350++?

At the moment I do not live in suitable accommodation. One of the main purposes of this budget was to work out what I could afford in rent (including service charges and council tax) so I could start my house hunt knowing my maximum. Ideally I’d stay in Camden, but there are other, more affordable boroughs just a little further out that might be a better choice.

2) Food (The Weekly Shop) £300 per month

This was our supermarket shop, so it includes all other household products. We both commented on how much we saved if we shopped online – Don’t want to wait in for a delivery? Click and Collect is an amazing service offered by most bigger supermarkets.

3) Travel £300 per month

This was the hardest figure to work out as it is dependent on the age of the child, how they will travel to school each day and if I will need to take them. The worst case scenario (money wise) is that they are 12 years old (old enough they have to pay but too young to travel alone) and have to use the tube (buses are free with a registered card). So £300 is extreme to say the least, but hope for the best; prepare for the worst.

“Hope for the best; Prepare for the worst.”

4) Clothing £240 per month

I’m not a big spender on clothes and I certainly don’t mind rummaging through sales and second hand shops, but I will heed my friend’s advice: Never scrimp on school shoes. I know other friends who save and buy better quality clothes as they will survive quite a few hand-me-downs. Coats are great for doing the rounds through groups of friends’ kids.

5) Hobbies and Socialising £400 per month

Sometimes school’s have free after school clubs that kids can attend, so this money would be saved for weekend or holiday clubs, or maybe music lessons or buying sports equipment. For my part I have a gym membership, arts and crafts pursuits and coffee shop dates with friends to cover.

6) Beauty and Pharmacy £60 per month

Hair cuts, shampoo, toothpaste, plasters, sun screen lotion… One thing I didn’t know, was that many over-the-counter medicines for children can be got free from your GP; like Calpol, Nurofen and eczema cream for example. You can also get government vouchers if your child needs glasses.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

7) Utilities & Services (excluding Council tax) £230 per month

For this I included estimates for gas and electric, water, TV licence, landline + Internet, contents insurance and mobile phones.

8) Presents £60 per month

This was something that I had not considered at all. While the Local Authority will give you a little extra for birthdays and Christmas for your foster child, I hadn’t considered all the presents that they would want to give over the course of the year (or indeed, how many I give). Even a card in the post has to be paid for. This brought back lovely memories of my Mother’s present drawer. If she saw something on special offer that could make a good present, she would buy it then and there. That way, when unexpected birthdays popped up (suddenly finding an invitation at the bottom of our school bags), she was ready to go.

“Stock up on cards, presents and wrapping paper in the sales.”

9) Holidays and Outings £100 per month

This one was a bit of a shot in the dark as I’m not a frequent holiday taker, but even traveling to Devon and staying with family costs money. Then there are the school trips and camps and the day trips we’ll take as a family. Fortunately, in London there is so much to do for free.

10) Pets £70 per month

OK, this one doesn’t apply to everyone, but I have two dogs to think about. I spend about £50 a month (on average) on food, medicines & vets and grooming. The other £20 would be if I needed to kennel them. It’s not often I do this as they either travel with me or stay with friends, but in the spirit of covering all my bases it’s been added on.

11) Car £0

I don’t have a car, so at the moment my budget stands at £0. Things you will need to consider are car tax, MOT, ongoing maintenance, insurance, fuel and parking permits.

13) Pocket Money £100 per month

The inessential essentials (like getting my nails done – yes, I get pocket money too!) I know many people have different positions on pocket money, but it is one of the expectations when fostering that the child will have pocket money. Personally I think it’s a great idea as it allows them to learn about saving and making choices for themselves. Will they chose to buy X today or save to buy Y in a couple of weeks time? Either way it is their choice.

13) Savings £100 per month

Rainy day money, Emergency funds, Pension pot. Whatever you call it we all have to accept that no matter how good our planning we cannot prepare for every eventuality. I would highly recommend making an appointment with an advisor from the Government money advice service http://www.moneyadviceservice.org.UK. It’s completely free and impartial and really helped me get my head around different options from ISAs to stocks and shares. He also advised that, when it came to doing my own taxes (as a foster carer you are considered self-employed) it would be worth paying for an accountant to go through everything for/with me (at least for the first time anyway). Just make sure you keep all your receipts (preferable in some sort of order!)

So there are my every day essentials. Of course, on top of all this are the bigger one-off purchases (furniture, electronics, bedding, kitchen ware…) but I’ll save those for another day.

Discover A Few Ways To Start Saving Money Right Now!

Money is fuel! With more money you can do almost anything you want. You can help change the world and make it a better place! You can achieve true financial freedom for yourself and your family. You can feed the homeless, give to charity, support good causes, etc. With the recession and the job crisis, people know all too well, that money is tight! People are constantly looking for ways to get more items or luxury, while taking less money out of their pocket! A strong Saving Budget can mean the difference between Success and Failure, paying or not paying your rent. Saving money is ultimately about ensuring your survival. There’s a plethora of things money can provide and a plethora of ways you can save! This review is going to be discussing some of the ways you can start keeping more money in your pocket by spending less and creating a Saving Budget you can stick to.

Buying Food

Bring Lunch From Home – Instead of buying food at lunch every day at work, try bringing your lunch in once or twice a week. You may only save a small amount of money from this, but keep in mind, Money Builds!

Buy Generic – When buying food, Name Brand foods don’t necessarily mean their any better than Generic foods. So, buy generic and try it out!

Impulse Buying – Try and never go grocery shopping when hungry. You may end up buying more things than you actually need. Have a snack, write a list of the things you Actually Need, and then go shopping! Try to stop buying items you don’t need! A list will also help you decide what you need every shopping period. You can save hundreds of dollars each year from avoiding purchases on impulse!

Health and Fitness

Instead of joining a gym and paying a monthly membership, work out or exercise at home! Plus you will be saving money by not using any gas driving to the gym!

Push-Ups Are a great way to stay in shape and build muscle in your core and upper body.

Sit-Ups will help build muscle in your abdominal area.

Warrior III is a yoga position tests your balance, tones your legs, and strengthens your core. Stand with the feet together, and lift up the left leg with a pointed toe, putting your body weight onto the standing, right leg. Continue to lift your leg and drop your head and torso so they form a straight horizontal line from head to toe with your arms at your sides. Engage your core and make sure the left thigh, hip, and toes are aligned. Remain facing down and keep your back as straight as possible. Ensure your right knee doesn’t lock and center the weight on the middle of the foot. Hold for 5 slow and relaxed breaths and then slowly return to standing. Switch legs and repeat.

General Shopping

Start tracking how much you spend on a regular basis! Keep a notebook or use a program on the computer such as Excel to save all spending data and pay attention to it often!

Clothes – Instead of buying new clothes when you need them, buy clothes for the next year at the end-of-season sales. You could even try out stores like Goodwill, some items have really good quality for a very cheap price.

Use cash or a debit card. Using credit cards are a great way to build credit, if used properly. However, if used improperly you could not only harm your credit, but you could also be losing money from interest charges. If you are going to shop with a credit card, cut down your number of cards to one or two and pay the balance off on time every month so you don’t pay any extra charges! Also, try to avoid shopping at convenience stores. Yes, they are convenient, but they are also very expensive.

Before ending the review I’m going to go over a few good Money Saving Tips.

Tip #1 – Hide your money! Put it in a shoe box if needed. Even better, take it all to your bank and put it in your savings account so it builds interest; Out of sight, out of mind. With doing this you are Saving Money and Earning Money!

Tip #2 – Pay your credit card bills immediately! If you cannot pay the entire balance, pay more than the minimum amount due when possible, cutting out all interest charges.

Tip #3 – Track Spending. Don’t Buy On Impulse! I explained these two tips a little above and they are both very important and work together perfectly. Track your spending by keeping a database of all your purchases. See where your money is going, find places where it doesn’t need to go, and change it. Don’t buy on impulse! Before you go shopping, write a list of all the things you need before you even leave your house! If you are hungry, try eating a snack before you go shopping so you don’t over-shop due to hunger.