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As much as we’d love to experience the wow factor lifestyle of Posh & Becks or Kim Kardashian, most of us have to watch our pennies every month. If you have children you’ll know how important it is to manage your budget if you’re planning on treating them for birthdays and Christmas.

Sticking to a £10 daily budget can really help – we’ve come up with a few ideas that could make a world of difference. 

Understanding why it is difficult to stick to a budget

It can be difficult to keep track of your spending on a daily basis. You need to feed yourself and your family, pay for petrol to get to work, pay for kids clubs, and they may be nagging you for the latest mini-lego figure! It’s only a few quid here and there right? Wrong!

Know what you are already spending

First thing is to understand where all your money goes every month. Most of us will know how much our monthly bills and direct debits are, but how often have you checked what you’ve spent on random daily purchases?

Make a note of everything you’ve bought during the last couple of months. If you can, separate the spending into categories such as food, gifts, entertainment, clothes, petrol, and parking. You’ll be surprised how much you could cut back on any of these.

Food 

To stick to a £10 a day budget, you want to avoid buying food every day. Instead take £40 to the shop at the beginning of the week and challenge yourself to get the most food for the least amount of money so it lasts the whole week.

If your local store is a tad expensive, then find somewhere cheaper. Shopping at Lidl or Aldi could make a huge difference as well as looking out for special offers or reduced items –take them home and freeze them even if they are nearly on their sell by date.

Look for food that you can make 2 or 3 meals out of during the week.

For example,

  • A bag of frozen chicken, frozen mince, and frozen sausages could cost only around £2-£3 each.
  • A bag of frozen veg should last the week for the family and only cost a couple of pounds.
  • A couple of boxes of cereal should last the family a full week.
  • Bread can be a useful part of any meal. You can often get special offers on two loaves so freeze one until you need it.
  • 12 eggs should cost around £2 and will give you a couple of versatile options for meals throughout the week such as omelette and egg salad.
  • Bags of salad can cost around £2 because of the convenience factor; but you can buy a lettuce for 50p and carrots for 40p then chop them up yourself to make a salad.
  • If you buy a lot of fruit juice or fizzy drinks then consider squash instead – it lasts a lot longer and can actually be better for you due to the higher water content.
  • Plain pasta and rice is cheap, filling and can accompany many different meals.
  • Tins of beans are useful for a cheap meal. Most kids love the messiness of beans on toast!
  • When you buy cleaning products don’t stick to the brand you always buy, look for what’s on offer from the supermarket’s own brands.

Oh, and bring your own shopping bags as that will save you an extra few pence!

Buying the shops’ own brands

Don’t be afraid to buy the shop’s own brand – a packet of the shop’s own brand of biscuits could cost around 35p compared to £1-£2 for the McVities version!

Snacking

Snacks such as biscuits or chocolate can quickly add up. The extra sugar and fat can make you crave even more. Make sure you eat three nutritious meals throughout the day and if you have the urge for something extra then try a piece of fruit or a crunchy carrot or even a slice of toast.

Working lunch

If you buy lunch every day at work the cost quickly escalates. A pre-packed salad or a sausage roll and drink at the local bakery can easily add up to £15-£20 a week. Make your own lunch or bring leftovers from last night’s dinner – these can all add up to considerable savings.

That daily coffee

Just like lunch, that coffee from Costa every morning on the way to work could add up to £18/week! Bring your own flask of tea or coffee to help save your pennies.

Toys and treats

It’s tempting to buy your children something when they’ve been particularly good (or particularly nagging!). But even the smallest toy can blow your daily budget. Find other ways to reward them, such as a games evening or having a friend over. Also talk about what they want for their birthday or Christmas, it can deflect what they desperately want right now and gets them excited about writing their lists to Santa!

Petrol

You can’t avoid the cost of petrol if you need to drive to work, but keep an eye open for cheapest garage in the area and avoid making those extra purchases when you’re there. For short journeys try opting for walking or cycling with the family to cut down on petrol or take the bus.

Clothes and parties

It’s hard to stick to a daily budget if your eldest child needs a new pair of school shoes or your youngest has a birthday party to go to on the weekend. But try to anticipate any extra expenses and plan for them. Putting aside £1 a day for a few weeks could really help you make ends meet.

Treating yourself

Once you’ve broken a budget it’s hard to control it again so give yourself an incentive. Reward yourself and the family if you manage to achieve your weekly budget. Use some of the money you saved towards a movie or a game you can all play together on the weekend.

We know only too well how quickly things can add up, but sticking to a £10 a day budget is well within your reach if you follow 118 Twins’ tips to help you stay on track.