We are heading to England in 6weeks. This is our second trip to England in 2 years. We have also been to Malaysia twice (one of which was our honeymoon) and Thailand and a few interstate trips. We have added a few renovations to our home,2 children, a wedding, caravan and all the extra expenses that come with having a family. We have lived a lot.Travel is our thing. Its what we love and the reason we desperately want to pay off the mortgage (no mortgage = more holidays)
Redang Beach Malaysia
Nessa’s First Flight
We often get asked how we afford to go overseas so much. We don’t earn a lot . Im a hairdresser and hubby is a Labourer. Not huge money making jobs, but it does help that I work for myself. We have had conversations with many family members and friends about how we budget etc so I thought id share a little bit of wisdom about how we make it work….keep in mind this is our lives and these tips won’t work for everyone, nor will everyone want to live like us. (we are tight asses when it comes to a lot of things….mainly because holidays are our priority)
-we started by writing down ALL our bills and expenses (including car registration, kinder fees, insurance etc) we figure out how much our expenses are weekly (car rego is annually but we divide by the 52 weeks in a year) that was we know how much we have to put away so there are no scary bills that come for hundreds of dollars that we have nothing to pay with.
-We take all the bills out of hubbys pay. Not because he earns heaps more- his wage just covers everything and is the constant wage that doesn’t alter. I don’t get sick pay etc working for myself so if Im sick that means no income for me. I also have the time off to have the babies. (I understand not every relationship works on combining money but it works for us, and we have the same goals and same prioroties)
-All bill money goes into a bill account. Every week we have direct debits come out for everything. For example $20 goes on the gas bill etc, $20 to the mobiles – this way we don’t see the money leaving in a huge lump sum. it just goes and we don’t notice it.
-We put extra on the mortgage. We put what we can afford. Id like to pay more but its not worth stretching ourselves too much.
-We are lucky that the our government gives us parenting payments. I don’t get why, but hey its nice. You can opt to have it fortnightly etc. We don’t. We wait until the end of the financial year. We don’t rely on it, its not something we want to include in our income just incase it gets taken away. The lump sum at tax time is a nice surprise.
-I meal plan. Every week before I shop I plan our weekly meals. I do one big shop (sometimes I do have to get extra fresh bread and milk) this saves spending extra money on extra shopping trips (we all know women can’t go to the supermarket and actually walk out with only what they need)
-Cook in bulk and freeze left overs (even if its just enough for the kids) one meal is one meal. It saves time when you can be bothered to cook or having a shitty day!!
-When we have family days put we ALWAYS take lunch. Eating out is so freaking expensive at places like the zoo etc. Nevermind the 20 snacks kids eat. Im not paying $5 each for a kids sandwich or a bucket of chips and our meals on top when we can buy a whole loaf for bread for $2. Its healthier and SO much cheaper!!!
– I don’t buy brand named clothes. I don’t give a shit if I don’t have the best label clothes. You won’t notice the tag in all our holiday photos. And lets face it I have gained and lost weight that often my clothes need to be changed so often anyway. Im not ashamed to say I have bought $10 kmart or target jeans. Koby is so grotty that a $4 kmart top is better value and less heart breaking to throw out than a pumpkin patch top for $30
– Im never ashamed to except 2nd hand clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I go through them. and if there is anything grotty I get rid of it. Most of the time its family or clothes friends passing on clothes anyway. If the clothes were good enough for my nearest and dearests kids then they are good enough for mind.
-we get things like zoo memberships for xmas. this weekend we spent the day at the zoo and it cost us $2 in parking….and as above we took our own lunch
-I have a change tin. Any extra coins hanging around go in there. I also sell a lot of stuff on “buy swap and sell” sites on face book. It maybe only $10 for a dress you wore only once but putting a few $10 notes into the tin adds up to a lot. Last time I opened it there was $187 inside….all for no extra work!!
– we aren’t embarrassed to just say “we can’t afford it” – Its not that we on the poverty line, we just have different priorities. Hubby had a bucks night to go to last year. It was going to cost well over $100 to go on the fishing charters and get drunk after. So he just said “hey i can’t afford the fishing charter, ill just meet later for drinks”- and let me tell you he made up for not going fishing by getting so drunk it took all weekend to recover. And no one thought any worse or him (well as far as I know)
-we don’t buy the kids toys unless its their birthday or christmas. Lets face it, they don’t need it. they have WAY too much anyway. If Nessa asks for something I explain we are saving for our holiday. She gets it. I explain all the fun stuff we will get to do (peppa pig world etc) and she is fine with it. She doesn’t feel like she is missing out.
– we buy anything and everything we can second hand. All our furniture (minus our couch and mattresses) are second hand. We have saved SO much this way. So many people redecorate that often and have home make overs, furniture is so disposable by many. Its amazing how much “Ikea” furniture you can find on ebay. It may have s light scratch here and there …. but hey my kids would do that to a new piece of furniture by the end of the week anyway.
So there you go.
I really think its about changing you frame of mind. As I said above, its not about living on the poverty line and saying “we are broke” its about telling yourself you have more important things to spend your money on. We really don’t feel like we are missing out by not buying new “trendy”clothes etc. When we board that plane in 6 weeks and have 4 weeks making memories with kids all the things we were stingy on will be worth it!!!
I’d LOVE to hear how you make ends meet!!!….please share!!!