Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Guest Post - Beware: Mum on a Budget by Paula Dallison

Since becoming a single mum my income has reduced significantly and I’ve had to look at ways to stretch my money and make savings across the board.

To get right back to basics, I started carrying around a small notebook and for a couple of weeks I wrote down every single thing I bought (trust me you won’t want to do it for longer: it’s useful but so dull). I included parking, newspapers, bottles of water - the lot. It really highlighted how much money I wasted.  I set myself a daily budget. Again, I didn’t need to do this for long because the principle stayed with me once I switched to budgeting on a monthly basis.

I noticed I was spending too much on food by going to the shops every other day. Now, I plan the week’s menus in advance and get the shopping delivered once a week. I can check straight away if I have run out of something rather than chuck it in the basket ‘just in case’ only to get home and find I already have eight tins of baked beans that were on special two weeks ago. The savings far outweigh the delivery charge and I try to stick to the least popular slots which are half the price.
My biggest money saving success has been to get the shopping delivered the day after I think I have run out of everything. Because I never have completely run out of everything. That way the tin of pilchards at the back of the cupboard gets thrown into some pasta with some sweet corn that was lurking at the bottom of the freezer… hey presto, cheap meal. OK, I admit that sounds disgusting, but you get the idea. The kids are miraculously fine with the ‘gross’ stuff at the bottom of the treats basket for lunch boxes without other options and the last few slices of bread get used up for toast. Of course, never follow this policy for loo roll, nappies and toothpaste (or tea bags!) but for most other things it works surprisingly well.

Now I admit I hate shopping. I avoid it at all cost and do as much as I possibly can on-line. However, if I do have to venture out I start to feel an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction and begin to wish I had that duvet cover, or those earrings, or think that the kids would love those sparkly shoes…. and I invariably come home with something. As the saying goes: What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over. So my final money saving revelation has been simply this: don’t go anywhere near the shops!

This is what she says about herself: 

I've got more heads than Wurzel Gummidge (and equally badly behaved hair). My day job is an account director in an ad agency, I'm a freelance writer and a trained clinical hypnotherapist (please, please, no 'look into my eyes, not around...' jokes). I live with my two gorgeous children and two ageing moggies and hate asking for help with anything!

Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. great tips - I am finding menu planning so much better in so many ways...

  2. Maybe you could share them?! Menu planning is great, but I have such fussy kids I run out ideas!


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