Home Budget Tips
Please kindly note the below is not financial advise.
1. Have a look at your current expenses. Is there anything that you could make savings on without too much regret? Even small savings add up over time. If you could reduce your expenses by even 20 EUR a month that would save you 240 EUR over a whole year. In fact, when you consider how much tax you would have to pay this becomes even more impressive. Indeed, you would need to earn nearly 500 EUR over the course of a year to be able to spend 20 EUR a month, if you are on the highest tax rate.
2. Could you earn some extra income from your hobby for example? I recently saw a video by a blogger who said that her blogging had become so profitable that she is now fully financially independent. Personally, I have noticed that since my passion became my work, it does not feel like work, most of the time. My work now lifts my spirits. It even relaxes me and I look forward to it. A full time job in paid employment is only one of many possible ways of earning your income. What other extra income opportunities might there be for you? Click here for some more earning ideas. If you need empowerment and inspiration, read my tips on Divine guidance here . God not only revealed to me my vocation but I now also see how He is making it possible and even easy. I am so happy that, for the first time in my life, I can follow my passion because He prepared the way...personal development
3. Do you have health or life insurance? They might seem expensive but they also give us peace of mind. At least we can be assured that we or our loved ones will be looked after, should the need arise. Simple term life insurance gives your family protection against death. It may surprise you to discover that it is actually quite inexpensive. I heard a heart-breaking story about a father of three who died; his wife who used to be a stay-at-home mum had to urgently find a job. I am also aware of the opposite story, where a mortgage was repaid through a life insurance policy after the death of a mother. Life insurance could be a life saver in such circumstances. Choose your insurance well so that you do not pay for what you do not need.
4. Look at your lifestyle. Most likely you could make some smart choices that would allow you to save but keep you happy. We all love treating ourselves to nice clothes or meals in restaurants. Eating at home not only costs a fraction of what you need to pay in a restaurant but in nearly all cases it is healthier. You could plan your major clothes buying or home shopping events to coincide with sales seasons. Charity shops often offer nice, good quality things. You can become more environmentally friendly that way too. I notice that some shops like M&S offer food items due to expire that day, at a significant discount. I remember thinking that even someone with modest means could afford to buy those discounted but still delicious items. A family trip to a cinema may be expensive, but a trip to a park or a beach is healthier and usually free. You may want to switch to off-peak membership in your gym or even find a pay-as-you-go option. Exercising outdoors or at home is also free and will save you time as you do not have to drive to the gym. Even if it is only 10 minutes away, you are likely to save half an hour, or more, in total. There are people who choose a minimalist lifestyle for religious or environmental reasons. It is amazing how little they can spend, so let yourself be inspired by them.
5. Check out social welfare support options. Many European countries offer 6 months of maternity leave payments to cover basic necessities. In addition to the main payment, you may also be entitled to some supplementary payments for heating or healthcare, for example. Find out as much as you can and call a helpline to examine your options.
6. Check if your employer offers maternity payment. Many employers support their employees by offering maternity or even paternity leave. Sometimes this allows a parent to keep her full income while on maternity leave. Usually there are some conditions attached to this payment. For example you may need to return to work in your company for a year or so, afterwards, before your will be able to leave that company. Consider how long are you going to stay off work. Carefully calculate the level of income and expenses you will have, so you can try to predict how long you can stay off work.
7. Check the cost of childcare. For parents this is the most expensive item in a budget next to your mortgage or rent. Crèches may give you some extra peace of mind as they are often regulated, but they are also an expensive option. A retired family member may be able to offer some help and supervise an au pair for example. You may decide to take care of your baby yourself over an extended period of time. This may be your choice if you have savings or if most of your salary would be spent on childcare.
9. Consider what you are willing to do yourself and what should be outsourced so that others can do it for you. Time and money are two key resources that we have. The more you do yourself, the less money you will need to spend paying others to do those things for you. The more money you need, the more time you will take to earn that money. The more time you take earning that money, the less time you will have for yourself and your loved ones. Children need a lot of our undivided attention to thrive. Consider what chores could be abandoned or automated. For example, I iron just a few times a year, as I only buy clothes that do not need ironing. I felt that my quality of life improved significantly when our automatic hoover was cleaning the floors for me. I switched to using a food processor to save time on cutting vegetables for our large family. It does the job in no time and the dishwasher finishes the job. It may be worth investing in those machines if they help you to save in the long term. The more exhausted you are, the more likely you will be to spend money to comfort yourself.
10. Make your will. If you have some property, it might be very important to talk to your lawyer about your and your partner's will. It may greatly reduce stress should the unfortunate need arise.