Tight-fisted and proud of it!
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The last few years have been financially buttock-clenching for most families – a shock to the system for a generation that’s been used to borrowing large and spending even larger. I cruised through my twenties and early thirties totally divorced from reality, going out for dinner at least four nights a week in London, not even checking my bank account, because I was earning good money in a full-time job, and had nothing to worry about but my own pleasure (*nostalgic sigh*).
Fast forward ten years, and things are sooooo different. There are five mouths to feed, not one. I work around my kids, which makes it harder to make headway on jobs. And everything is just so expensive – oil, petrol, food, gym, meals out, just living.
So I’ve realised I have to move with the times, and have spent the last year getting money smart.
For the first time, ever, Mr Muddy and I have created a proper spreadsheet of house costs versus income – possibly the most painfully dull joint activity we’ve ever pursued together – but the feeling of control and knowledge has been incredibly potent. Now finally I can understand the thrill of accountancy. (Nearly).
Having had success in streamlining our outgoings, I find myself scouring for money-saving opportunities everywhere. I’ve started using coupons from Voucherbox for bargains (wonderfully addictive – you can request prompts for certain brands you’re interested in when deals come through). I’ve called up about what exactly my Tesco points can buy – not a lot, as Paul Daniels might say, but enough for some days out with the kids. I’ve swapped electricity providers, and stopped overpaying my oil by £150 a month. (I know!!).
I’m applying for a John Lewis credit card because I figure I might as well make some money back on the shop that I single-handedly prop up; and I’m buying food for the day or two ahead, rather than the whopper week’s shopping that slowly wilts and moulds in the back of the fridge, like a brooding biodegradable conscience.
It’s not very sexy to talk about money-saving, I know, but all this dreary practicality will end up paying for a rather nice holiday to New Zealand later this year, and a wardrobe update not attempted since 2001.
Anything clever you do to save money that I haven’t thought of yet? Let me know, I’m all ears…