The Importance Of Lists

What an ominous title. But here today I am going to talk to you about the importance of lists. It may sound silly to some who like to live their lives on a whim but I find I am definitely more organised if I have a list. Of course, sometimes I forget to write one or even take it with me but by listing stuff you may find yourself not having to worry about money as much.

What lists do I make?

Shopping List – This one is very basic – I have the basic food stuff on there like pasta, bread, milk, tins etcetera but when it comes to meat and fruit, I don’t tend to use a list and generally just decide on what I want when I get there. I know how much I want to spend on meat so I don’t overspend but it leaves me more choice. Next time I go to the supermarket I actually won’t need to buy any meat because I got a whole load of it for £20 from our local meat van today – much better prices than the supermarkets!

Bills list – Know what bills are going out when. I have a list on my phone and in my diary so I know what is due out when and also add to this if I know any one off bills are due out.

Income list – Obviously if you are self employed, this is pretty self explanatory as you need to keep a record of your income for tax purposes. However, even if you are employed and tax is sorted through your employer, it is handy to know what you have coming in so you can work out how much is going to bills, savings, general spends.

Spends list – I am a nightmare with this and never remember to do it – but this is basically listing what you are spending on with the money from your general spends. This can help you to easily identify where you are losing the most money (when I was in retail, it would have been Costa Coffee) and you can go about sorting it out.

Do you use lists? Do you think they have an importance in everyday life?

Extreme Cheapskates – Step Too Far?

I’m sure most of you have come across the show Extreme Cheapskates, whether you happen to be in the US or the UK – perhaps across the world. Here in the UK, it is shown on the TLC channel – what can be known as my ‘guilty pleasure’ channel.

We all like to budget and make savings where possible but where would you draw the line? Sometimes I see what these ‘extreme cheapskates’ are doing and actually think – ‘hang on, I am guilty of that too!’ but other times I find myself utterly disgusted!

One lady doesn’t buy toilet roll and instead uses water and soap to clean up after using the toilet. I also saw an episode where a guy takes over his colleagues leftovers from work and serves them up for dinner – despite the fact his wife has been ill because of them at least two times! He also chose to hold his daughters Sweet Sixteenth at a strip club because it was cheapest – although his daughter didn’t mind too much on the day, the family were mortified when he first broached the idea with them!

Some people on the show do have great ideas such as repurposing items, picking up dropped coins and pretending that the value stuff is really the premium stuff – I think we can all be guilty of these and they are nothing to be ashamed of. However, when I see families sharing brown bath water and not buying toilet roll – I cringe a little inside.

To me, certain items are necessities – clean water for a bath, toilet rolls etc – these aren’t luxuries for me and are included in my monthly budget. It seems that some of these people are taking their penny pinching ways too far – can living that frugally ever make somebody happy?

What are your thoughts on this?

Budgeting For A Baby

Now don’t get your hopes high yet…I haven’t got any news that I wish to share with you! However, we do plan to start trying again soon (as soon as finances allow) and we will obviously have to set an appropriate budget.

People say that you hardly notice the cost of your second child and I can believe that is true if they are the same gender as your first-born – but what if they’re not? Sure, they can live in plain white babygro’s and bodysuits for a couple of months but eventually parents will end up splashing out on gender specific clothes.

Here are my baby budgeting tips:

– Start buying things when pregnant. Obviously parents are going to start buying the big stuff before the baby comes along but the little stuff is often forgotten about in the process. Make sure to stock up on nappies, wipes/cotton wool balls, nappy sacks and bathing products for your child. Whether you plan to breast feed or formula feed, make sure to invest in a breast pump, formula and bottles just in case.

– Buy second-hand where possible. There are obviously some items that you shouldn’t buy secondhand but why not take advantage of that bundle of baby clothes you saw selling for peanuts on your local Facebook selling page? As long as they are in fairly good condition, who is to know they aren’t new? Times are hard, we have to make savings where we can. A quick wash and they will be good as new.

Take advantage of the stuff people give you. This counts for companies and friends/family alike. Plenty of companies will send you some freebies if you sign up to their mother and baby mailing lists. Make sure to join all the major baby clubs – Boots, Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda- you will get extra points or coupons. You may also find that people you know will give you some stuff they no longer need – I had a few people give us black bags crammed full of baby clothes – some were brand new! – plus we were given some nursery furniture too! Helen aka Mummy To The Max agrees with this too – not everything has to be new!

Enter competitions. It sounds silly but I entered loads when I was pregnant – especially when I was on maternity leave and had more time on my hands – and I won loads of things for Jack. I would definitely do the same should I have another child – you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Have you got any tips on budgeting for a baby?