It can be tough to start budgeting and saving as a new parent, or figuring out the needs of your family as incomes change.
And rather than ask a finance expert for their best tips, Yahoo Finance went straight to the horse’s mouth: Aussie mums.
We asked mums in the Facebook group Mums who Budget & Save for their most important budgeting and saving tips.
Here’s what they came up with:
1. Meal Plan
This tip was raised by most mums in the group.
“Meal plan and stick to it,” Tho Pham said. “No spontaneous grocery trips.”
You can cut a little more cash from your weekly grocery budget by having a few meat-free days too, Tori Starr suggested.
“I plan out my fortnights,” Emma Cope said. “Buy from local wholesale butchers and local fruit and veg markets. Anything else is Aldi or big supermarket. Always shop the sale.”
2. Don’t use buy now, pay later accounts
Aussie mums swear off buy now, pay later accounts like Afterpay.
“Save for the things you want instead - don’t buy something you can’t afford upfront,” Carly Ford said.
One member, Tahlia Butler, said a great way to figure out if something is worth buying is to convert the dollar amount of an item into the hours of work it would take to afford.
3. Set a financial goal
Most people would overlook this simple step, but Erin Kristoffersen says setting a solid financial goal is the most important place to start.
“The plan you set out is something you have an emotional connection to,” she said.
“It's easier to change your lifestyle when it's for something you actually want.”
4. Get a better rate
Danielle Hutchinson says getting a better rate for your bills is key to saving more cash.
“Ring all of your insurances, banks and utilities and get a better rate,” she says.
Want to bring down the price of your mortgage? Yahoo Finance has already talked to the experts to figure out how to get a cheaper home loan with your bank.
5. Divide your bills into weekly amounts
Jessica Bradley told Yahoo Finance her best tip was to divide each bill into a weekly amount and put that amount aside each week into a separate account.
Then, when the bill arrives, you have the entire amount ready to pay the bill.
“It also lets you know if your weekly bills are too much and you need to adjust your lifestyle!”
6. Know where your money is going
Tanya Stevens’ hot budgeting tip was to know exactly where your money is going.
“Keep track of it for awhile and most people are surprised how many small things add up.”
7. Don’t grocery shop without a list
Aussie mums are all for sticking to grocery lists.
“Shop with a list and stick to it,” one mum said.
“Do your meal plan and make your cart online; you'll get a ballpark figure on your cost and you can make tweaks if your over budget,” Karla Joyner said.
And Alecia Jones’ hot tip: “Try not to shop when you’re hungry!”
8. Pay with cash
Kathleen Rogers said paying with cash is a great way to stay disciplined with your money.
“It's harder handing over physical money than it is swiping a card,” she said.
“Cash is king!” another mum added.
9. Don’t buy fresh produce that’s over $3 per kilo. Shop from your local market instead
Ash Stephen told us her best tip was to not buy fresh vegetables and fruit that cost over $3 a kilo. And, if you’re wondering whether that’s a little tough to do, another mum, Dayna Hunt, suggested you head to your local market and see what you can get.
“I often fill 4 large cooler bags with fruit and veg for under $30. All that I have to buy from the supermarket is meat, milk and pantry items,” she said.
“Makes it very cheap to make healthy meals for my family!”
10. Rotate your grocery shop day each week by moving it a day later
Alesha Maclean says she rotates her grocery shop day each week by moving it a day later.
“Say you start Sunday week 1 then Monday week 2. Before you know it you have saved a weeks grocery cash.”
By shopping for seven days but stretching her groceries out one more day, she saves seven days’ worth of grocery cash in seven weeks.
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