Budgeting saved me

Leaving full time work to become a full time mum was life changing. My expectations and reality were worlds apart. I thought I was so prepared but was I wrong. My organised life turned to chaos as our new bundle of joy had a mind of his own and demands.

I thought when the baby came I would have a clean house, at all times, which was a challenge when I was working full time, get to sleep when the baby was sleeping and have time to work on my business and socialise. The reality was so different, waking up at 2 am then an hour later the baby is up again was full on for me, I don’t cope well without sleep.

My mother in law was a life saver, she would come over and look after the baby, help me with house work as well as give me a chance to get some much needed sleep. I looked forward to weekends when my husband would have daddy time with the our son and I could jump into bed and go to sleep for 5 or more hrs with no interruptions, it was like winning the lottery. Looking back I can now Iaugh at how my expectations where so far from reality.

Having a plan helped minimise my stress and anxiety. A list of all the bills I have to pay and the money I receive, was crucial in helping me manage. A budget assisted in dealing with the anxiety and me enjoying the transition from full time work to full time mum.

I’ve learnt that in order to succeed I need to have some goals,make a plan and review the goals whenever my circumstances change. Reviewing my goals on a regular basis is important in ensuring I’m prepared because life is unpredictable. My main goal was to find ways to save money.

Over the last 5 months, managing finances is something that’s been close to my heart and I had to plan, to ensure when I stopped working, I would not be stressed and have enough money to survive. My expectations and reality with this were worlds apart too. For me the arrival of a baby and going on maternity leave left me feeling anxious. I had conflicting emotions about what to do. I kept asking myself “Do I go back to work and put our son into a day care centre? Do I start my own business and work from home so I can look after our son? Should I do nothing and survive on Centrelink payments?”

I needed to research each option and see what the pros and cons were. I would make a decision and then change my mind, this process is still ongoing. I didn’t know that as soon as you are pregnant you needed to enrol into a childcare as most of them are full and you have to go on a waiting list. After my son was born I started looking at childcare centre availability and costs. I was shocked at how much  they cost and I had to wait till next year to maybe get a spot. Another option off the table. Note to self, if I have another baby, place them on a waiting list half way through the pregnancy.

I found myself looking at special catalogues and checking prices of products, at times this was tedious but worth it. The main expenses I wanted to save money on were formula ,fruit and vegetables. My son experienced really bad wind, another curve ball I wasn’t expecting. We tried a few different formulas and they didn’t seem to minimise the wind. My husband started researching what other people had tried for their babies. He suggested we try the ALDI baby formula, Mamia. I was hesitant and not too keen to try it. My belief was that cheap products equaled cheap quality. Was I so wrong, the formula cost half the price of the other formulas, creating great savings and was much better for our son, the crying stopped and I was grateful for a quieter home. I learnt that I should try products with less known brands as they can save me lots of money.

My 5 top tips for grocery shopping

  1. Plan meals for the week
  2. Check catalogues for specials
  3. Create a shopping list
  4. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach
  5. Reward yourself for sticking to list

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Linda White is a seasoned accounting professional. Specialising in bookkeeping for small businesses, Linda adds value to both businesses and individuals by providing finance and money coaching. The knowledge gained through her bachelor of business (specialising in accounting and marketing) and also her graduate diploma in business accountancy, enables Linda to add value to process and efficiency.

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