Organising finances in a modern family – 6 month update and £500 competition!

Organising finances in a modern family – 6 month update and £500 competition!

You might remember that 6 months ago I wrote a post about how we had been spending too much and vowed to get it under control. How did that go? Did we stick to what we set out to do? This post is an update on how we’ve been doing with our finances since that post.

What’s gone right

  • We’ve started making lunches to take to work more
  • We’ve been more mindful of our spending (generally)
  • We’ve definitely been eating out less and eating fewer takeaways
  • Papa Ginge got a promotion
  • Our finances are fairer now. Papa Ginge has been paying more to cover our bills so I could pay less (both as percentages of our overall earnings). I’ve felt under less financial pressure as a result.
  • We’ve checked on our finances 3 times in 6 months instead of once in 2.5 years which is progress
  • I closed my terrible Natwest ISA and moved my savings into a new savings account with better interest

What’s gone wrong

Quite a lot really! Unfortunately we’ve slipped straight back into our old habits. We haven’t reviewed our spending each month like we agreed to.

We still haven’t been saving as much as we agreed. We’ve still been spending more than we wanted to. At first we started off doing really well, the first couple of months we stuck to it. I was proud of Papa Ginge for tracking his spending on an app and taking more accountability.

However, a few months in and we really lost track. In our defence during this time we’ve had both of our birthdays, our son’s 6th birthday, our anniversary and Christmas. But that’s life isn’t it, there is always something.

Organising finances in a modern family - 6 month update and £500 competition!

Better financial future

So we still need to get a lot better but I’m conscious that what we have been doing so far isn’t working and we need to be realistic. When it comes to being savers or enjoying living our lives RIGHT NOW, we need to accept that we fall into the latter category. Acknowledging that and being realistic about it is an important step for us.

We want to move house though and we have some holidays booked in this year (Lanzarote in May and Butlins in July) that we have paid deposits for and need to save for the remainder of the payments. I also want to save as much as possible so that when I finally go freelance, we have some reserves. Blogging is almost seasonal and there are definite quiet times and busy times, you can’t guarantee work and brands usually pay very late. You need to have some reserves for cash flow.

Papa Ginge recently got a promotion at work that he had been trying to get for the last decade. Lena will get her free nursery hours in April as she turns 3 next month. These two factors combined mean we will be a few hundred pounds up come the new financial year. I don’t want us to waste it. I’d like the extra money to go straight into savings, after all, we’ve managed without it until now.

Next steps for us to improve our financial future

I think what we need to do now is go back to our spreadsheets and be realistic. Review what we have spent the last 6 months and what is a more realistic amount to save going forward. Then, I think the only thing that will actually force us to save properly is tying it into a savings account where the amount we put in is set and we can’t take it back out without penalties. I’m going to look into setting something like that up.

Competition

If you are local and want to make the most out of your money too, then you might like to know that Newcastle Building Society have just opened a brand new branch and financial advice centre in Durham. The space is a complete transformation from the old branch – bright, modern and better equipped to help people with their finances.

To celebrate, they are hosting a treasure hunt in partnership with the Northern Echo, which begins today (25th January) until 17th February 2018.

You can download an interactive map on your phone and follow the clues to locations in Durham. At the final location, take a quick photo and upload it to Facebook, tagging Newcastle Building Society in it. You’ll then be entered into a prize draw to win £500!

A fun activity for the whole family that could bag you a decent cash prize, I might pop down myself!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Newcastle Building Society. To read my full disclosure policy, please see my about page.

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16 Comments

  1. January 25, 2018 / 17:55

    Thanks for this honest insight Nyomi – saving is so tough isn’t it. There’s always something to buy! We’ve been saving for a new car and I’d love to be able to buy it in June but there is so much temptation around – we desperately need a new oven, front door and fence and our living room is only half way through it’s makeover. We’ve just decided to put those jobs on hold and focus on the car though. We do have times where we nearly just say stuff it and go on a random spree though!

    I’m writing a similar post at the end of the month about how we’re making a budget (for the first time in a good few years) and how I’ve reduced money on our food shopping by meal planning – I had a real wake up call when I went through my bank statements and worked out how much we were spending!

    We might check out the treasure hunt if we have time when we visit Durham Fire&Ice next month – thanks for letting me know about it x

    • January 25, 2018 / 18:08

      Thanks Sam! Good luck with saving for the car!

  2. January 25, 2018 / 19:59

    Gppd post! saving is tough! I have just started doing some admin for Alan business so another 10 hours a week during term time which will help our finances. Now the kids are bigger i did feel a bit guilty working my 3 days. And the clubs and things they love to do are sooo expensive! We would like to move house too!

    • January 26, 2018 / 13:44

      Oh really Cat, that’s interesting. Good luck with the new arrangement!!

  3. newgirlintoon
    January 25, 2018 / 21:26

    It is SO tough isn’t it? We’ve recently opened a joint bank account and now manage our finances together rather than as individuals. It’s definitely helped us a lot and this month we have paid more off our credit card than we’ve ever managed before but there’s still a long way to go!

    As Simon said it feels like we’re forever paying stuff off and when will it end .. hated to tell him that we’ll probably be like this forever! HA!!!

    • January 26, 2018 / 13:43

      Haha, at least you are realistic though. I think that’s half the battle.

  4. January 26, 2018 / 22:41

    It’s a struggle to cut back on spending. I’ve also started taking lunches to work but I have a real problem with going out for snacks – hits my purse and my waist in equal measures! But I am updating the spreadsheets every week and have also started skimming our bank account this year. So far in January I’ve saved approx £100. 🙂

      • January 29, 2018 / 09:31

        It’s when you move your excess pennies from your current account into your savings. For example if you had £1107.20 in your account then you would move £2.20 (or £7.20) to make your balance a round figure.

        • January 29, 2018 / 09:32

          Oh that makes sense! How often do you do it though?

          • January 29, 2018 / 09:35

            I’m doing it daily at the moment and moving the £2.20 type pennies

          • January 29, 2018 / 09:36

            Oh wow, quite the commitment

          • January 29, 2018 / 09:43

            I’m an accountant by day so spend my life with spreadsheets! 🙈

  5. February 11, 2018 / 21:00

    Great honest post Nyomi and I agree that life just gets in the way sometimes. We tend to look at our finances in February as we have 2 birthdays in January so it’s never going to be a frugal month. We always try and save but then I have a habit of booking holidays !!! x

    • February 16, 2018 / 17:57

      Thank you Tracey. I love your zest for life, you keep doing those hols – I love watching them!

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