I’m pretty good at keeping on top of things when it comes to our family budget.
There are still things which seem to scupper my best laid plans each month though.
As hard as we try, the temptation to have a few niceties never goes away.
For me, it’s a case of choosing your priorities but also being able to break your own budgeting rules sometimes.
Here are five things which are the thorn in our side when it comes to the family budget.
I don’t really drink much alcohol these days but coffee is another thing altogether.
Whenever we’re out and about there’s always a coffee shop to hand.
All that caffeine soon adds up to a hole in the family budget if we’re not careful.
It’s even worse if we have the kids with us because they end up getting snacks as well as drinks.
Before you know it, you’ve burnt through the best part of twenty quid.
Whilst other shops on the high street are disappearing, coffee shops seem to be multiplying at an alarming rate.
Even in the small town I live in, we have a Costa and there’s word on the street we’ll soon be getting a Starbucks too.
Caffeine junkies rejoice!
It’s almost impossible to get through the month without my kids spending more money than they have in pocket money.
The worst culprit is usually my daughter who loves the whole LOL doll thing.
Every time I nip to the supermarket, she asks if I’ll be coming back with another one.
I can’t do it all the time but I sometimes give in and then the family budget takes a bit of a hit.
My son likes console games and add-ons for games he has on his tablet.
The add-ons to me are not worth it but he’s allowed to buy them occasionally.
We tend to hold back on the PS4 games until Christmas and birthdays though as they really are expensive.
There always seems to be something we need to buy for school each month.
Whether that be new uniform, music lessons, trips out, bake sales or after school activities.
It all adds up.
The family budget really took a hit this month because my son has a outward bound trip for three nights.
It’s not something you can opt out of although I wouldn’t want him to miss out anyway.
I’m dreading when either of my kids comes home and says they want to go on the school skiing trip.
That’s going to be an expense of a whole new ball game!
I’ve tried to keep the cost of groceries down when it comes to our family budget.
I stopped buying from Tesco and started getting deliveries from Asda instead.
It’s awkward to get deliveries where we live though and I found it inconvenient waiting in for the delivery sometimes.
Aldi and Lidl don’t do it for us either unfortunately.
I don’t like the shopping experience in either of them or much of the food they have in store.
At the moment I’m back shopping at Tesco but watching the family budget carefully.
The Tesco Clubcard is handy when it comes to getting over to Ireland to see relatives on the ferry.
Converting Clubcard points into money off the ferry really helps.
I’m aware that it can be an expensive way to save money though!
Kids seem to grow at an almighty rate.
It’s remarkable how many pairs of shoes and trainers they go through in one year.
We must have been to get new shoes at least three times in the last 12 months.
Then there’s clothes and the added expense of school uniform.
My son has a separate kit for rugby, hockey and cricket as well as an under layer to keep him warm in the winter.
Now both my kids have to wear a school blazer too, the strain on the family budget only gets bigger.
I don’t mind not getting new clothes myself very often though as I’m at home.
It doesn’t matter too much what I look like!
The One Thing Which Saves Our Family Budget
When it comes to keeping on top of the family budget, I’m a bit of a control freak.
Before we had kids and I was still working, we’d sometimes get to the end of the month and be overdrawn.
It didn’t feel like it mattered so much when we were younger but now it’s a different situation.
The thing that saves us every month is You Need a Budget, or YNAB for short.
It’s envelope budgeting at its best and I know at all times where we are against the goals we’ve set ourselves in terms of our finances.
We’ve never been overdrawn again since we started using it.
How do you keep on top of your family budget?