...Get your priorities straight!
When we first turned this place into "Frugal Central", one of the first things I had to do was to go through our budgets....actually, no, scrub that, we didn't have budgets, this was one of our problems! OK then, go through our bank Statements, and draw up a list of exactly what we had to spend in a month, on the mortgage, council tax, water, gas & electric, phone, insurances, food and travel to and from workplaces. that was our "Priority figure" - then we continued listing, only everything from then on was classified as "luxury" - Sky TV, the mobiles, a takeaway here and there, our personal spending money. All nice to have, all things that make life that much sweeter, but none of them essentials. Once we'd added everything up, the first thing we discovered was that we easily had enough to cover our essentials. Phew. And the "luxuries" we'd earmarked as well. Phew again. The aim back then was to save the money to pay off a loan we'd taken out to buy the car, and to be able to start overpaying on that pesky mortgage. A plan was needed.
|Plaque on the pier - Southwold|
|Famous fish & chips - cheaper than the restaurants!|
Third Step: Analyse and question everything - energy bills are a good one here. we'd been blindly paying the amount we were told each month, without questioning it, OR thinking about the fact that as our supplier never quite "got around" to reading our electricity meter, there was every chance that their figures might be a bit out. They were - to the tune of about £300 in overpayments! I read the meter, and after a bit of a battle, got the money refunded to us. That went into the savings account, as did the amount saved every month when the monthly Direct Debit was reduced to the correct level. I started doing online surveys - they don't pay much, but every little helps, as they say, and using cashback sites wherever I could. we still do this now - with payrises or money shaved off utilities - we figure that as we never had it before, we won't miss it if it heads straight off to the mortgage! Go through your bank statements - make sure you know what EVERYTHING that leaves your account is for, and that each and every payment is for something you need, or still use and can afford.
|Cheers! Here's to the savings!|