Today is Friday - it's also payday woohoo yippeee whoot and all that.
I'm not very good at budgeting in fact at one point I managed to get myself into around £22,000 worth of debt! That's a lot of money to owe and I wish I could say I did it through need but the fact is I got in that state by being irresponsible, not managing my money properly and not really thinking about it. It's taken me 2 years but I am now in a much better financial position I still owe around £5000 on cards and a loan but these are being paid off and I anticipate being completely debt free by mid 2016. I have learnt from this and now work to a budget. It's hard going but I actually love grabbing a bargain. I've pretty much managed to reduce my gift budget for family and friends down to under £5 per person. I've done this in a number of ways:
I'm a member of local freecycle groups - these groups are where people give items away for free to others - you can list any unwanted bits and someone who would like or need them can ask for them. It reduces household waste and stops items that could be used being binned. It also reduces the cost associated with getting rid of a bigger household item e.g. our local council charges £35 to take away an old bed!
So from the group I have had lots of stuff (I have given stuff too!) including some toys and clothes for my great nephew and niece. Drake got a fab remote control T-Rex for Xmas this year from me (it wasn't working but I took it apart and managed to fix it) which he loved, harmony got some Mickey mouse dvd's plus a Mickey & Minnie cuddly toy (both put through the wash) which she likes to play with.
I'm also a member of local selling groups on FB like bargain basement - again you can get all sorts of items for incredibly low prices from bundles of clothes at £2-£3 for a full black bad, to tech and other bits that people want to sell on quickly.
I also love browsing my local charity shops - I live in a kind of affluent area that borders other similar areas so the charity shops get some great stuff in them - my favourite one is Cancer Research Wales where trousers cost £1.50 - I bought a fab pair of Next trousers for work from there recently :D
I take lunch to work - I worked out I was spending nearly £80 a month buying lunch in work. I now buy 20 tins of different soups a month plus a bottle of squash and multi packs of snacks and take them to work each day - I spend around £20 a month now and I could probably cut that even more if I went for value range but I am not so keen on the taste of the value soups.
I walk more rather than driving which not only saves on petrol and parking but also fits in with the healthier me too
I dont use credit ever - all the cards I had before have long since been destroyed - my overdraft was paid off and removed from my account - now if I want something and I don't have the money I save for it. (The only difference being my holiday which I have paid off a bit at a time - currently £500 left to pay and it's due August but will be completely paid off by March payday)
Anyways it's lots and lots of little things which are adding up to me becoming more financially responsible and learning to manage my money better :) and that's a positive. If you are not used to having money when your suddenly offered credit cards, overdrafts, loans etc from every direction it's so easy to take them and see them as a quick fix - learning to work with a budget and within your financial constraints is a skill that really should be taught from a young age. According to the money charity the average debt per household excluding mortgages is £6016 in the UK with over 9 million people in 'serious debt'