If you've been a regular reader of my blog you may know that I've now been a single parent since the beginning of the year and have gone from living comfortably on two wages down to just one. I had no savings and had to learn to budget and not live above my means. Luckily, I didn't have to worry about moving and took out a loan to buy a new car as we were previously car sharing. Failure was not an option for me and I was going to do everything possible to become financially stable to keep a roof over our heads and pay the bills each month and still have money left over for a few luxuries each month.
At the time I was on maternity leave but also working self employed for myself so luckily I was able to bring in just about enough money each month to pay the rent and bills however I had no savings and nothing left at the end of each month.
Are you struggling to make ends meet? Take a look at these money saving tips which I have implemented this past year:
Track all of your expenses for the month
To begin with I was always eating into my overdraft, thats the thing with being self employed I don't have a set date for being paid each month, I get paid different days throughout the month so it was hard to get used to not having a big chunk of a wage to put aside for bills and having to actually save it until the bills were due. I then started to track all of my expenses on a spreadsheet each month and knew exactly what I was wasting money on, when all of my bills were coming out so I was able to transfer money over to each account. A prepaid card like iCount would have been really useful back then as prepaid cards give you the functionality to make vital purchases without going overdrawn. Although my credit rating is fine they are also a good way of improving your rating
Look for deals, vouchers and coupons online
Prior to this I was never much of a frugal person and never looked for a good deal when buying gifts or toys online. Now I've realised I can save a lot of money by searching for deals on sites such as Hot UK Deals, Groupon, Money Saving Expert, and even searching for the deals of the day on eBay or Amazon before purchasing. Don't just blow your hard earned cash when you can get money off even if it is just a few pounds it all adds up!
Use cash back sites when shopping online
Speaking of online shopping when I purchase anything online I now do it through Quidco (Ebates if in the US) as this give me money back on pretty much everything I buy. Sites such as Quidco and Top Cash Back are great cash back sites which you can leave running in the background and not check for months and realise you've accumulated £100s of pounds! Have a birthday coming up or Christmas presents to buy use these sites to get money back on your purchases!
Switch your bills
I looked into reducing my bills by using comparison sites such as Uswitch and Money Super Market and managed to get my electricity and gas bill down by £10 a month as well as £10 off my Sky broadband and phone bill each month. I also looked at changing car insurance and although I can't renew my policy until next year, when I do I will be saving a minimum of £40 a month!
Reduce your weekly food shop
Another great way of saving money is to reduce you food shop each week. I switched from top brands to supermarket own and also did my shopping online which helped to cut my weekly food shop in half as it meant I wasn't just throwing everything and anything into the trolley. I'd also recommend meal planning as this will help you keep you in the right mind frame and stick to only buying the ingredients you need for each meal.
Sell items you no longer need
I had a massive clear out at the beginning of the year and sold many second hand items on local Facebook groups such as baby toys and pushchairs. I also sold some items on eBay which were brand new and managed to make over £500. I'm hoping to do this again soon and the money will go towards our holiday fund for next year.
Actually save some money
Back in April I started a money saving challenge and bought one of those pots you can only open with a tin opener. I have since opened it as I needed the money so get my car fixed but I did manage to save £500 in around 6 months just buy putting in a couple of quid a week or a £5 note when I had one in my purse. The 52 week money saving challenge is also a great way of saving money throughout the year and can be used for a holiday, Christmas or what ever you may be saving for.
I'm glad that have managed to survive on one income as a family and now have started actually saving which will hopefully go towards buying a house some day. It's amazing that I have become more financially stable as a single parent than when there were two of our bringing in the money. Because saving money became a main priority I had to be sensible and
Do you have any money saving tips for single parents or living off one income?