Profile of a Budgeting Mum: Fi Star-Stone

Hi, what’s your name?
Fi Star-Stone
Any kids?
Yes! Two lovely littlies aged 2 and 3 years that run me ragged!
Do you work? FT/PT?
I’m a full time mum but run a free parenting advice service which is pretty popular, so I feel like I’m a work at home mum at times!
If you don’t work why don’t you?
I gave up work to be a full time mum because I wanted to be there full time for my little ones. I have all my qualifications and experience and to go to work and put that knowledge into someone else’s children while someone else looked after mine didn’t make sense to me.I’m lucky to be able to stay home. Really lucky and when they drive me a little crazy some days, I remind myself of how fortunate I am to be able to stay home.
What are your child care arrangements?
If I’m on the radio or have appointments for the website my mum looks after them. I’m lucky that she’s only around the corner and she loves having them, (a of course, they love going to see their ‘Nanna and Popops!’)
How do you manage for money?
I plan a budget and stick to it as best I can. This means I am a fabulous bargain hunter. I find what I’m after then use money saving sites or low cost online stores to get the best deals. From holidays to the littlies clothes- I’m always getting the best deals.
art for kids, art for babies, messy art fun
Do  you worry about money?
My husband works very hard and so I’m fortunate not to worry too much about money to a point that we can’t pay bills or similar worries. However, this is because we budget and stick to that budget together. We don’t overspend and we are very careful. When we decided that I’d give up work, we knew it wouldn’t be easy, but it’s actually not been as bad as we thought it would be financially.
We moved from London to the Midlands which made things much easier – I don’t think I couldv’e given up work if we still lived there.
What do you waste money on?
Shoes and bags. They are my big naughty waste of money but when you budget well, there is often room for occasional treats. And I do mean occasional!
Have you made any big financial changes since having kids?
Yes! Giving up my career meant a huge cut to our joint income. Less holidays, dinners out and shopping. I used to clothes shop all the time when I worked. I realise how wasteful I was with my salary back then, compared to how much money I save now we have children and I don’t work! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my old wage, but if I had to choose the wage or the full time loveliness I have now – The littlies win hands down!
How do you make extra cash?
I don’t! Opportunities have arisen many times with my website to make a good income, but to earn the money I’d have to do it full time. The littlies come first, so until they are at full time school, they come first and extra income comes second.
Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?
1. Shopping!
Shop around for the best deals from presents to nappies you’re far better off spending time shopping around than buying the first thing you see!
2. Activities!
Don’t think you have to join all the expensive baby groups and clubs to give your little one the best start and best fun. Yes of course it’s important to get out and socialise with your babies and toddlers, but look around for free or low cost activities. Most playgroups are free or only £2, swimming is free for under fives, and you’ll only cost around £4 – much cheaper than a term of baby swim classes that can cost up to £100! Parks, woods, and libraries are all free too!
3.Think before you spend!
Before buying that ‘essential baby/child item’ stop and think ‘Do I really need this?’ expensive toys are often short-lived. Pots and pans and bottles filled with beads make great music toys, and bits of material, bubble wrap and ribbon make fabulous sensory toys. You don’t need to buy pricey products to give your child the best experiences.
Thanks so much for you answers Fi!
Fi is mum to Betsy 3 and Oscar 2 and runs ‘Childcare is Fun’ – A fun website for littlies and their grown ups with the added bonus of a free parenting advice service.
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‘Highly commended’ in Nanny of the year Awards 2006 and 2007
Top Ten bmi baby family blogs
Bronze Award website winner 2011 Mumpreneur UK
Recommended by Best Bear and Families magazine online.
Nominated in:
The Mumpreneur Awards 2010/2011 The Business Mums Awards 2011 The MAD Blog Awards 2010
Finalist in:
 Motors ‘Most deserving’ Awards 2012 for the Childcare is Fun! FREE parenting advice service and charity work.
 Stafford county Council ‘unsung heroes’ awards 2012 for the Childcare is Fun! FREE parenting advice service and charity work.

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