Profile of a budgeting mum: Kate Crane

Hi, what’s your name? Kate Crane

five f's blog

Any kids? I have two children; a son aged 6 and a daughter aged 5.

Do you work? FT/PT? I am self-employed as I set up a business offering virtual assistant and business support services to clients earlier this year.It’s still very much part time as I only have one client at the moment, but I’m hopeful of getting more work quite soon. It’s pretty flexible and I work from home.

Why do you work? Because I need to. We currently earn less than our outgoings and we’re living off savings. I’m hoping I will break even soon.

If you don’t work why don’t you?

What are your child care arrangements? I have no formal childcare. My husband works shifts which means that if I went out to work, the childcare needed would not be required half the time unless I could find some really flexible arrangements. I do my work whilst the children are at school, in bed or being looked after because my husband is at home. It works for us for now.

How do you manage for money? We’re OK but I need to earn more. My husband’s job in the NHS is not that well paid and we’ve been living off my savings and redundancy payout from 2009. Luckily, we have a small mortgage and I keep outgoings to a minimum by comparing as often as possible. I plan all our meals and I’m constantly on the lookout for bargains. My supermarket bill was just over £50 this week and that included two small presents and cards for school friends. We also have a Costco card which pays for itself many times over if you know what is actually cheaper than buying it in the supermarket.

Do you worry about money? Yes, all the time. I’m often thinking about it.

What do you waste money on? As little as possible. Regular “extravagances” might be going out for a coffee (!) but our last extravagance was our summer holiday, although a cash prize I won covered the cost of that.

Have you made any big financial changes since having kids? Yes. We reduced the mortgage down as little as possible before I had my son, by combining our houses down to one. I worked full time before children then went back part time and we were still comfortable. Then, in 2009, I was TUPE transferred to work for the organization that had previously been my client. I saw the writing on the wall (there were 6 managers out of 10 staff, and I was the only part timer) and took redundancy. The payout wasn’t fantastic, but I’ve managed to eke it out this long.

How do you make extra cash?

I sell old baby equipment and unwanted toys at my local NCT branch’s nearly new sales. The timing will be great as the next one will be November when I’ll need money for presents.

I also write sponsored posts for my blog. Some don’t like this but my blog, my rules. I try to make my blog work for me and my family. I’ll accept stuff for review that is really useful to us or will give us opportunities we couldn’t otherwise afford. For example, I recently got sent a code which I used to buy school uniform for next to nothing. We’ve also been to blogger events at attractions which have provided a free day out. Blogginer offers so many fantastic opportunities that otherwise would cost a fortune and I’m really grateful for that.

Finally, I enter online competitions. I don’t win a lot but recently, I won a £1000 cash prize from a magazine and a £50 Asda voucher. I’m still using £1000 of store credit from a women’s fashion retailer that I won in 2010 which has meant I’ve got outfits for a few occasions that have cost me nothing. It all adds up and it has provided us with some things we’d like to buy but couldn’t justify spending out on, like our Wii.

Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?

1. Plan your meals weekly and write a shopping list based on what you actually need. I write a weekly meal planning post on my blog and stick to it as much as possible. We throw very little food away, it saves me time, and I don’t waste as much petrol on extra trips to the supermarket.

2.Check out the reduced bins at supermarkets. I freeze any bargains that I know we will use, or I will adapt the meal plans slightly. I am not proud and am lucky to have a small chest freezer to take advantage when opportunities present themselves.

3. Before any major purchase, ask yourself if you do really need the item. If the answer is really yes, do your research through price comparison websites and cashback sites to keep the final cost down as low as possible. It can make a huge difference to the final cost.

 

Thanks so much for you answers Kate.

Kate blogs at The Five Fs. The Fs refer to the five things that she is most passionate about in life and provide the subject matter for most of her posts; being family, football, food, fitness and fun! Kate lives in Lancashire with her husband and two children.

 

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