Everyone’s circumstances are different.
Some people are frugal and thrifty because they have no other choice than to save every penny they can to pay bills and for their day to day living expenses.
Some people are frugal because it’s the way they were brought up and/or they just don’t like to see waste.
And then there’s the people who are frugal through choice so they have money available to spend elsewhere that they wouldn’t have necessarily had otherwise.
I fall into that third category which I know makes me very lucky.
We started to live frugally after a couple of family tragedies made me want to spend more time with the kids doing things that make us happy and yes, I know that time doesn’t cost anything but when you work full time to pay the bills then quality family time can be a very precious commodity that isn’t easy to find.
The start of our frugal journey saw us shave enough money from our outgoings for me to reduce my hours at work where I currently am lucky enough to work 8am until 2.30pm most days in a job that I love with a not too bad salary. I get to come home every day in time to collect the kids from school. I work the odd late shift and the occasional weekend but that’s not a problem at all because I spend most afternoons at home.
Quality time with the kids used to involve trips to the park and crafting sessions at home. We used to watch movies and play games and then snuggle together and just enjoy each other’s company. We started to put aside some fun money in our monthly budget for little treats like days out and things like visits to the cinema and the soft play and I’ve done that ever since.
As the kids have got older, our fun money budget has gradually increased to allow for the fact that the things they want to do are more expensive.
A trip to the pictures is no longer £1 each for the early morning shows on a Saturday because the films they want to see now aren’t really children’s films. Mr Frugal took them to see Star Wars before Christmas and it cost a small fortune!
Things like soft play are a thing of the past to us and has been replaced with swimming, climbing and bouncing. Swimming is a regular thing and costs around £5 a week for them both to go but climbing and bouncing at the local trampoline park are much more expensive and have to be properly budgeted for because, whilst I don’t want them missing out on these things, we need to make sure that we don’t spend too much on them or we’ll run out of money for the essentials. 😉
Each month, I work out our fun money budget based on our expected incomings and outgoings and where we ended up from the month before. It’s a pretty flexible section in our budget as the amount fluctuates depending on what else we’ve got going on but whatever amount we settle on is withdrawn from the bank and put in an envelope.
We then decide how to spend our fun money as a family so we may have one big day out or a number of smaller ones. We might even decide to put some away to save for a night or a weekend away but when it’s gone, it’s gone so we make sure that the kids are fully involved in what we do with the money.
We do have our English Heritage membership which costs £7.34 a month and gives us some great cheap days out and I also keep a eye on Groupon for discount vouchers for the places in our area that we like to visit as I know they pop up every now and again but it’s still easy to spend more than we can afford if we didn’t set money aside!
Do you do something similar?
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Image credit: Shutterstock, somrak jendee