Friday 29 December 2017

A Penny Pincher Of A Christmas

I've never been much of a money talker here on this blog - I've never had much of a need to raise the subject before really but, just a week after Christmas and with pay day not even remotely visible on the horizon yet, well, yeah, I think money's high up in my thought processes right now.

We've never been a family who's had a lot of "spare" money but somehow we've always kind of managed.

We have certainly been that family who's struggled to find their next few pounds to buy milk and bread though - not often, but it has happened - and we 100% are a family who has to budget and write down every thing that comes out of the bank each and every time that card it used.

Who said being a grown up was easy eh?!

The fact is, money is blooming hard and I know some people see the fact that I don't work as our main financial issue - I mean yes, I haven't worked now since my maternity leave started in 2015 because I decided to take redundancy to look after Willow myself rather than pay for childcare.

But the truth of the matter is whilst I obviously wanted to be at home looking after Willow, being able to be there for Charlie and not fobbing him off to a school club like I had to do every other day of his whole school life - it wasn't a decision we made lightly.

I had a job I loved in a school I had worked at for almost a decade, a job I was paid really well for and I had an amazing set of work colleges too but when it boiled down to it, the childcare costs and the childcare hours needed for me to be able to go back to work just wouldn't have cut it.

I didn't want to have to drop Willow, my new, tiny little baby, at a childminders at 7am every day and pick her up at 5pm - she wouldn't even know who I was - and then the cost of those hours, hours I wanted to be with her myself, were very crazy-expensive too.

And not to mention the fact Charlie would have needed a school club from 7.30am and then for an hour or so after school too - another £100 or so to add into the equation..., I took a career break...

And it has been amazing spending every day with my little bestie and being able to be at home for Charlie when he gets home from school or if he needs me during the day for anything, but financially, well I can't lie - it's been hard.

The Hubby works every hour he possibly can to keep our heads above water but even despite saving all year round so that Christmas is basically paid for come December, this year we had no option but to tell family members - family members we love and would really love to treat -  that we were only able to buy gifts for the children this year.

And even then the gifts for our own two were on the tighter side - there was very little "oooh I'll just get this to bump up the pile a bit" - especially for Willow.

It actually hit me really hard and brought on more than a few "moments" let me tell you but there just wasn't any other way round it - I mean I suppose we could have taken out a short term loan from lenders such as CashLady but it really wasn't a feasible option for us.

So we did what we had to - we spoke to our families and thankfully, they were all really understanding.

But it made me think a little bit about 2018 - we would love nothing more than to jet away on a family holiday this year (our first in about seven years...) but how are we going to go about it?

What can we do differently to stop the struggle?

Well one thing we really do need to do is de-clutter (I mean who doesn't after Christmas) and, whilst it's not going to make us rich or buy any family plane tickets or anything, popping my unwanted bits and bobs onto local selling pages will not only help clear the house a little but it will certainly help tide us over those last few hard days just before pay day hits.

And I'm going to have a scout round for part-time work too...I mean I'm not too sure if there are actually jobs out there that permit a two year old to tag along, but I can try for nothing at least.

I'm also 100% going to relax on all of the "I can't buy them this" guilt from here on in too - everyone had an amazing Christmas regardless of not having a gift from us and neither of my children thought they had been hard done by - not at all - I need to listen to my amazing Grandad I think and just relax.

Cutting back on a few luxuries in 2018 is an avenue to look down too...I mean we don't do many luxuries to be honest - we don't holiday regularly and myself and the Hubby don't drink, we don't go on nights out anymore and we certainly don't spend money on clothing for ourselves unless totally necessary - we don't even buy each other birthday or Christmas gifts these days...but I reckon there could be an odd corner I could find to cut, just to try to save a little each month...

Time will tell though eh - here's hoping I succeed and we do actually manage to board that plane this year.

Keep those fingers crossed for me...

* sponsored post - all words, thoughts & images 100% my own

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