My children were born in September, October and November, which makes the autumn an insanely busy and expensive time for birthdays, especially with Christmas in December too. People are shocked when I tell them that I have the money saved up for the children’s birthdays usually by the start of the year (and Christmas too), but I have always hated the idea of not having enough money to make their birthdays special, so I have prioritised it and worked out how to budget for birthdays.
Work Out How Much You Need
I always spend the same amount on each of the children as I don’t feel it is fair to do otherwise. I have a set amount that I think is achievable and enough to provide a nice celebration and selection of presents and I write this figure down so that I know what I need to save in total.
Put Away Money Whenever You Can
I am quite good at putting money to one side to save for things that we need. It isn’t always possible to do so, some months are harder than others, and being self employed does mean that my income varies a lot, but I try and make sure I put money to one side when I can as this adds up to achieve my goal.
Keep Track of Your Incomings and Outgoings
People are always surprised when they see just how conscientious I am with my money, but it really helps me to not spend frivolously, and to be able to save for what I need to. I keep a track of all the money that I have in my bank accounts (I have normal bank accounts and savings accounts), and I write down everything that this money is needed for, so for example if I had £50 left in an account and I had £35 car insurance that will come out and £10 National Trust membership, I could put aside £5 that month into my savings. I make sure that savings I have are also all accounted for, so I might have savings for birthdays, savings for a holiday and savings for car issues etc at any one time.
Look Out for Offers
When it comes to buying gifts, if I see something on offer that I know the children will love, I am happy to buy it in advance, which is obviously possible because I have saved the money in advance, but also helps me to keep costs down for the gifts in general. There are obviously key times when there are sales – in January, during the period of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but I also browse the sales and offers on sites such as Argos and Amazon, and when I am in supermarkets as well to keep an eye out for something worth buying.
Don’t Be Tempted to Overspend
It can be so easy to spend outside of your means, especially with so many credit options available but I try really hard not to do this. I have a credit card, because I wanted to build up my credit rating, but I avoid using it, and I will always make sure I will have enough to cover any purchases I do make beforehand. When it comes to the children’s gifts and celebrations, I stick to the budget I have set, making sure to find the best deals and go for cheaper options to avoid overspending.