To remind you, the main changes to my spending (set by Vicky) was to avoid ASOS at all costs, no browsing, no spending whatsoever (this was seriously difficult as they are having a massive sale). I also had to do all my shopping on Tesco.com with a limit of £50 per week.
My results were amazing. I checked my bank account on the last day of July (pay day), and to my surprise I had £90 left! Yes, £90!! For me this never happens, literally never. Not since I went part time at work. I normally text my mum asking her to pay £50 in my account so I don’t go overdrawn! Obviously, I will need to buy new clothes at some point, so not every month will have the same results, but what this whole challenge has taught me, is with a bit of planning, you can control your spending, and learn to live off part time wages after being so used to a full time salary.
If you are a new mum struggling to survive on part time wages, or even maternity pay, there are a few things we have learned that can really help you save money. And this #mummychallenge is one of them.
My top tips to save money when grocery shopping are:
- Shop online. This way you can see exactly what is in your basket, how much it costs, and what the total bill will be. If you feel like you’re over spending, you have the opportunity to remove something without embarrassing yourself at a checkout in store.
- Set a budget. This obviously depends on your family size. Vicky and I both set a limit of £50 to cover ourselves, our partners and Lamb and Bears groceries for the week. Including things like nappies and formula. This has worked out enough for a family of 3.
- Look for deals, offers, vouchers and discount codes. I can’t stress this enough. For every penny I spend, I look for a voucher code to get a discount. That might sound like a lot of effort, but I save so much money doing it. One website I use a lot is www.hotukdeals.com. They always seem to have a valid discount code.
- Plan your meals. I haven’t been doing this every week, but for the first couple of weeks I wrote down the meals I wanted to cook that week, and it really helped me decide how to shop the following weeks. For example, I always make sure I have a jar of pesto in the cupboard. If at the end of the week I’m running low on supplies, I can rustle up some pesto pasta for dinner. Cheap and delicious. This is definitely a recipe I recommend to those on a budget, perfect for veggies too.
I found myself making pesto pasta at least once a week. I make a huge pan that can last for a couple of days. Dinner, lunch for me at work, snack for Joe on a night shift. This is such a cheap meal, and can be bulked our with so many ingredients to make it more filling and healthy.
- Pasta – I’m not a pasta snob. Pasta is pasta. Tesco Value is perfectly fine for me & very cheap.
- Pesto – I buy the reduced fat Tesco version. Still watching those calories for the wedding 😉
- Chicken Breast – again, I have started buying frozen chicken breasts. They always seem to be half price in Tesco, so I’m saving so much money buying frozen. I think it’s just as nice.
- Garlic & Onions – for flavour, obviously.
- Mushrooms – I LOVE MUSHROOMS.
- Broccoli – I have actually started using frozen broccoli. I normally buy fresh, but have noticed myself throwing veg away recently, so tried Tesco’s frozen bag, and it’s fab.
- Grated Cheese – again, I use reduced fat, but with mature cheddar you still get the flavour.
Above is my basic recipe, but if i’m feeling generous, i’ll add these ingredients too.
- Bacon – nothing beats a chicken and bacon combo with pasta.
- Peppers – I’m not a huge fan of peppers, but don’t mind them chopped up and mixed in a pasta dish.
- Creme Fraiche – not necessary but makes the dish a bit more saucy 🙂
This #mummychallenge has been so successful for me, I will definitely continue to stick to the rules (although I don’t think I can go much longer without shopping on ASOS).
We would love to hear your top tips for saving money, or if you have found our #mummychallenge posts helpful please comment below and let us know. Did any of you take part with us? Or plan on having a go this month? This whole challenge was to help everyone, as both Vicky and myself have struggled to adapt financially after having children. Nothing can prepare you for how expensive babies can be!
If you want to read about our #mummychallenge from day one, here are the links.