by Julie Stone
Living on a budget is easier than you think.
|Living on a budget is easier than you think. If you are having to make drastic changes to your lifestyle, with a little forward planning you can live within your means and not feel that you are missing out. With a tight budget and little money coming into the home, you really need to prioritise. Obviously your rent or mortgage needs to be paid first and money set aside for those inevitable bills that come crashing through your letter box.
You may consider cutting back on your own clothing allowance to save money. Clothing your children can be done very cheaply. You may not like the idea of visiting a charity shop for clothes but I know of many people who have bought wonderful clothing items from a second hand store for next to nothing just by browsing and picking out the best. Taken home, washed and ironed, no-one would know where you bought the item from unless you decided to tell them!
Feeding your family on a budget is probably the most rewarding and fulfilling of the tasks in hand. If you don't know how to cook, borrow some cookery books from your local library - you're going to need them! Cook everything from scratch - even french fries! Your money will go a lot further this way. Baking cakes is a lot cheaper than buying them and even if you only bake one a week, it's a nice treat for your family especially if you have small children. Serving home-made soup in the winter is nutritious and warming and goes to provide your family with the vitamins that they need. If you have small children who have an aversion to vegetables, then disguising them in this way is a good idea. Any left-overs may be packaged and put into the deep freeze for the following week.
If you have a garden then you should utilise some of it to grow your own vegetables. Potatoes are very easy to grow; tomatoes can be planted in a 'grow-bag' to save space, runner beans, peas and spinach can also be planted for variety. Vegetables, when home grown, taste a lot better than the bought version and are much healthier. Again, if you have too many ripened vegetables and you don't want to use them immediately, freeze them for when you do.
Planning ahead is the key to success in living within your means. Make lists for everything - shopping, clothing, bills that need to be paid. Plant seeds in boxes at the times specified on the packets; plan a menu for every day of the week. You will find that once you put everything into practice, it becomes second nature and even when your situation changes and you have more money coming into the household, you will find that these principles will still play an important part in your life.