Ten years ago, I had a huge salary, drove a convertible and dined out in the best restaurants. Then I had the kids and my world changed. I gave up a career I loved in order to be a SAHM, and although the pay was 100% less, the rewards were 100% more.
HAW left a very well paid job in 2005 to set up his own business. With his change of career came the loss of huge bonuses, so we have really had to watch the pennies in order for me to have the luxury of being a SAHM.
Here are my top 10 tips for saving the pennies without sacrificing on quality whilst still enjoying life!
1) Make your food go further. We used to cook a chicken, eat the breast and then throw the rest away! Now a whole chicken is used for a roast and then I boil up the carcass with root veg and herbs which makes a lovely stock which is then used as the basis for soup/risotto.
2) Buy cheaper cuts of meat - I refuse to feed my children intensively farmed meat that is full of hormones. We go to our local responsibly sourced butcher and by buying cheaper cuts of good quality meat we get amazing quality at a good price. Good cuts to try are Pork Belly (amazing crackling), Beef Shin, Lamb Breast (I roll this with sausagmeat, rosemary and thyme for an amazing roast) and Oxtail. Beef Rib trim and cheeks are also great buys.
3) Charity Shops. I have picked up some amazing bargains from a brand new black Joseph crochet full length cardigan (£25, original ticket of £400 still on!) to lots of lovely bits for the kids. The better the area, the better the quality of charity shop. Give the kids £1 to buy whatever they want. This means I get to look in peace whilst they weigh up the merits of a naked action man for 30p vs the 50p spaceship. It keeps them occupied and teaches them a valuable lesson at the same time about being frugal!
4)Car Boot Sales. Now the idea of this fills me with dread, but financial reward spurs me on. I honestly can't believe what people buy at these things and very soon you'll be counting out the hundreds (yes hundreds!) of pounds profit. Everything from baby baths to old clothes. It soon adds up!
5)Parenting websites - Nappy Valley, Mumsnet and Netmums. Not only can you get impartial (sometimes!) advice but you can use the for sale/wanted boards. I have bought and sold several things in this way. I adore Mountain Buggies (upward of £800 new but got a second hand one for £200 which I then re-sold 2 years later on ebay for £260 - bargainlicious!). Another great source when starting out is the NCT. Their sales are legendary!
6) Say No to 0870 - I can't abide companies that charge you a premium rate to contact them. This website is great as it lists all the offenders and gives you their alternative numbers - but not at a premium!
7) Always, google for a discount code. The majority of companies will have an introductory offer or free P+P. A quick shout out on twitter recently enabled me to get 25% off an internet shop. Use social media to your advantage, I complained about a year old faulty printer and the company responded by sending me a brand new one. I was VERY impressed.
8) Market Research – Giving your opinion and getting paid for it is a great way to discover news things and earn a bit of cash. If you blog then then offer reviews on your blog. I do a few each month for things I am interested in and love doing it!
9) Be a canny shopper!
This sounds boring I know, but I have saved hundreds by budgeting and planning. Rather than aimlessly wandering around waitrose picking up £12 bottles of olive oil (without realising) I now check the price ticket (how obvious) and see if it fits within my budget. Shop daily as it means you can get the daily bargains and consequently waste less. Yesterday I popped into Waitrose and got a rib of beef for £7 (down from £24) this will make an amazing roast with lots leftover for sandwiches and a stirfry for all 5 of us.
0) Enter competitions - this is my entry into Tots 100/Approved Food Competition where this entry could win me a £100 Shop (now you can't get more money saving than FREE!), why don't you have a go??
Peace and Love