I was dealing with a partner who wasn’t good with money (the reality of the financial strain hadn’t hit him yet)- so it was really me that planned ahead. We planned on me taking 6 months maternity leave as things were already tight. I saved every cent I could spare throughout my 9 months of pregnancy (I found out really early). I paid off any debt I had lurking around and made sure all bills were up to date before my due date. I used the 4 weeks of maternity leave before baby was due to cook, prepare and freeze meals so there were minimal food expenses at first. I stocked the pantry full of essentials (flour, oats, sugar, coffee etc).
I divided up a portion of my savings to pay myself an allowance each week to live off for personal use. I took control of my partners income, wrote a budget of things that needed to be paid (rent, petrol, bills, food, savings) then he got a small amount leftover for his personal use.
Food shopping each week entails me mulling it over all week before doing the weekly shop on a Sunday so food is fresh for the week. I often ‘window shop’ online at Countdown so I can see exactly how much I’m spending and what I’m buying before heading to the supermarket. We eat alot of mince meals as it goes a long way (and can be bulked up with veges, oats etc to make it stretch further). We often eat leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day too.
We did all our baby clothes/furniture.essentials shopping on Trade me or on second hand pages on Facebook - nothing was bought new. I stoked up on Infant size nappies (as bub may grow out of NB quickly and many will go unused) and wipes.
Anytime we have a date night or an outting I will use coupons. Checking out the daily deal websites (Grabone, Groupon) are excellent for finding 1/2 price meal deals etc. It also pays to check these websites if we need car maintenance or something done to the house (carpet cleaning, something fixed) as there’s always all sorts of deals going.
We switched to a prepay power company (Powershop) so I can monitor our daily power usage and pay in advance or when we have spare money. There are also power specials up for grabs on occasion and our power bills have dropped significantly. Its like a personal challenge to bring the usage down, I check it each day!
We top our vehicles up with petrol once a week, I try walk to the shops when I can or try do several errands in one hit so I’m not heading out all the time wasting petrol.
All my accounts are with BNZ and I have an account for everything (His acc, my acc, baby acc, bills, food, savings, credit card). It makes it easier to track incoming and outgoing expenses. Each week the same amount is divided into those accounts. Any money leftover at the end of the week goes straight into savings.
I’m basically frugal wherever i can be!! Things are listed and stuck to the pin board so we both have a clear visual of our budget and what expenses we have each week