Mother knows best …

It’s Mother’s Day and an appropriate call for a themed blog.

As much as I love to be thrifty, a “How to make the perfect budget bouquet of flowers using tissue paper” type of blog, really isn’t my thing.

Rather than creating a naff blog filled with content I wouldn’t do myself, I’m taking an alternative approach to share the saving tips passed on from Mother hen (a.k.a Goose, Cathy, mam).

Being a single parent with three kids to look after and working a job that paid (and still pays) pennies, mam had to stretch a shoe-string budget to last the month and keep us afloat.

We never had a lavish life filled with new toys or holidays abroad so you can imagine that being surrounded by kids at school with the best of the best was tough at times.  Despite a many “Why are you ruining my life?” diva strop, Cathy suck to her guns to make sure we could still have a great childhood.

Even when we were grown up and making our own money, mum’s condescending “OK then” replies would be heard after an extravagant purchase in a bid to make us take more care over our spending.

Although we had next to no money, I still got to do all things kids should experience, made lots of memories and it was all down to mum’s pre-planning and savvy, saving tips which as if by magic appear below *magical music chimes*.

“Do you really need that?”

It’s the most obvious of the Cathy’s tips, don’t spend money on things you don’t need.

We’re all guilty of it, when we see something we want we need right there and then, but thinking “do I really need this?” could save us all so much agg.

It’s easy to get sucked in by a car with the highest spec or killer trainers, but before you splurge, take into consideration how that purchase will impact the rest of your month. Don’t send your bank account into the minus for something you can get next month.

“Spend your extra pennies on something you can’t get everyday”

When you find that the end of the month has left you with a little pot of gold – don’t spend it on something you can get every day.

Mum would always steer us away from blowing all our extra pennies on sweets and ice cream, she would tell us to save it up and buy something that you’ve eyed up for a while to truly spoil yourself.

“If you want something – work for it!”

Nothing in this life comes for free and you don’t get what you want by moaning. Mum would always make it clear that we wouldn’t be handed anything “if you want it that bad, save your money”.

It’s not so much a tip, more a life statement but an important one that gives you motivation to get what you want and, in the end, will make you appreciate what you’re saving for. The only one who can get you what you want is you and the well-known chorus of Rihanna’s “Work” have never been so fitting.

“Keep your receipts”

A tip I’ve shared before, Cathy is notorious for hoarding her receipts. She trawls through them with a fine tooth-comb to keep track of how much she has spent out of the month’s budget and probably so she can make sure the till operator hasn’t added an extra zero onto her lettuce.

I always thought it was a pointless task, but it really does help put your spending into perspective and show areas where you can trim back spending.

“Get the most out of your food”

Goose loves a batch meal, stretching ingredients to make them last.

Mince was a regular guest in the Fraser family fridge. From one pack of mince mum would make the classic mince and tatties on a Tuesday, followed by mince with spaghetti on Wednesday, mince with dough balls on Thursday. Gold stars for creativity mam!

Don’t worry we didn’t always have constant meat sweats – if mum didn’t feel like torturing us with mince followed by mince, she would freeze batches to drip feed through the month.

“Save what you can, spend what you need”

Mum has always been a meticulous saver and even though she tried her best to drum her saving habits into us, it wasn’t a big deal if we didn’t manage to save. She wanted us to enjoy our childhood and if that meant us blowing our money on frivolous things, well that was our own doing.

You still need to live life and there’s no point cutting yourself off in order to save – it’s all about moderation, spend on what’s important and save what you can. No matter how little you have left, save it as you’re saving at the end of the day. There’s really no point in cutting yourself short.

Saving that tiny remainder of money may not immediately get you that castle but it will get you closer than putting in nothing at all.

“A packed lunch is just as good as a hot meal”

Mum is the sales rep of packed lunches – eating out was not a common thing for the Frasers.

Not a day went by that family shopping trips and days at school would be accompanied by a packed lunch. It would only once in a blue moon that mum would indulge us with a McDonalds.

Eating out every day for lunch soon adds up, so I still take my own lunch to work – whether this be leftovers from dinner the night before or my classic flat ham wrap – taking your lunch to work saves you a heap. Keep eating out to the minimum to save you money and also keep the novelty of eating out.

“Don’t you dare put that in the bin!”

Nothing was allowed to be chucked in our house. If you were looking to chuck anything, Cathy would need to put the item through intense screening to ensure a gold mine wasn’t being scrapped.

Mum always looks for the potential to get the most out of items. Her latest is turning an old bread bin into a small side table come book shelf – she’s thrifty that Cathy!

Whether it be clothes, food or furniture, think before you chuck – you can guarantee Mum will always find use out of it.

So, there’s just a few of mams few tricks of the trade – she’s got lots more up her sleeve that I may reveal next Mother’s Day if I’m feeling nice!

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