As a mum of three and the CEO of my own consulting business, Olivia Jenkins Consulting, there have definitely been moments in time where I’ve had to get savvy about my spending and saving habits — especially in the early stages of motherhood and entrepreneurship!
The good news is that there are a few simple tweaks you can make to your day-to-day spending habits that yield big results when it comes to staying fiscally responsible and on top of your finances.
Here are my personal top “money-saving life hacks” that I’m eager to share!
I always suggest allocating your savings every week from your main account into an account that you don’t have easy access to via bank card or transferring. This makes it harder to withdraw funds on a whim and forces you to plan in advance if you want to dip into your savings.
Organise your meals in advance so that when you do need to grocery shop, you only buy what you need. This not only saves you money, but it prevents food waste and fridge clutter. Another great way to save money as a parent is to keep your eye on the catalogues that circulate for your local or favourite supermarkets. Make a note of what is on special and where, and remember you can always freeze certain things for a long period of time and sealed package items will often last a while in your pantry.
The key to shopping while saving money is simple: planning! Plan your highest-ticket purchases for when you know there will be good sales — you can even research this and schedule it out for the year. For holidays and other big events (like birthdays) where you know you’ll be spending, start the process months in advance so that you can take advantage of seasonal sales and other deals.
Discount codes can help you save a lot here and there, especially if you’re a big fan of online shopping — I know I’m guilty! You can find working discount codes in Facebook groups and through your favorite influencers on social media. Browser extensions like Honey are also great options — it will automatically detect coupon codes and other deals!
Shop for your higher-end summer staples during the winter and vice versa. You’ll be able to purchase classic items you’ll have forever at a steep discount without compromising on quality or brand. Look at buying basics up to size 10-12, knowing that a white t-shirt or a navy overcoat is not likely to go out of fashion. However, be careful when it comes to shoes — kids’ feet can change so quickly. Being smart with what you buy and for what point in time can save you plenty.
If you’re spending heaps on coffee every day, invest in a nice coffee maker for your home. You can get the same taste at a fraction of the price — you’d be surprised at how quickly those $5 almond cappuccinos from the coffee shop add up!
Expecting mums, this tip is for you. You may have the idea in your head that you need one of everything that's available on the market. Realistically, you may only use a heap of these items once or not at all! A great idea to help you prepare for your new arrival is to take a friend shopping who has children already. Aside from the obvious benefit of hand-me-downs, they'll tell you what's ridiculous and what you genuinely can't live without.
Family holidays are undoubtedly more expensive than back in the day when it was just you and your partner travelling. However, planning a holiday for the whole fam doesn't need to be difficult. Subscribe to holiday destination websites and wait for deals to pop up so you can book in advance. Last minute holidays are going to be a nightmare to do on the cheap. Typically, you can also save on your family escape by jumping on flight bargains which means you can spend more on accommodation.
If you’ve decided your kids will be attending private school and it's a non-negotiable for you, consider setting up an education fund as soon as they're born. You'll be surprised how quickly it adds up before they start school, and you'll have plenty more funds available if you're happy to wait for them to go to private school for their high school years only. Many banks offer kids' saving funds for this very purpose and there are also other financial institutions out there that specifically work with setting up accounts so parents can save for their children's future education.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Remember, saving and spending is all about balance. There are times I make exceptions to all of the above rules, and you should treat your own financial guidelines the same way, so long as you have an overall budgeting/saving plan in place for your family.