When Mr Boo and I were just 17 years old we met and feel in love. By the time we were 19 years old we had purchased our first property, a little one bedroom third floor flat – it was our little place to call our own. Over the coming years we somehow managed to pay for driving lessons, takeaways, nights out plus a wedding and honeymoon. In 2006 we finally sold our little flat and found a house to buy and just before we exchanged contracts we found out we were pregnant with Roo.
As we weren’t sure whether I would return to work following my maternity leave we chose to defer my company maternity pay and suddenly realised that money was tight. Returning to work when Roo was just 5 months old as my statutory maternity pay was finishing and we couldn’t afford for me to receive no income. Fast forward to 2010 and Tigger came along and again money was tight on maternity leave but just as I returned to work Roo started full time school and Tigger started a day nursery so thankfully we only had one lot of childcare fees to pay out for.
Then in March 2012 the bottom really fell out of our little life when Mr Boo was made redundant, receiving a telephone call to close the doors to his store at 1pm. Needless to say we were shell shocked and suddenly our priorities in life changed over night.
When I think back to how we would spend our money before Mr Boo’s redundancy I cringe, we wasted so much money on things we didn’t need and had no idea on any given day how much (or little) we had in our bank account. Working out what were family essentials was the hardest part of making changes within our life. As we don’t drink or smoke so to us having a full TV package was our little luxury but when it came down to it, it wasn’t an essential so we bought a freeview box and cancelled our subscription opting to watch DVDs instead of premium TV.
The above infographic was sent to me by Legal & General and today I am happy to say that we don’t fall into that pigeon hole of a typical family. We have been through all our direct debits and cancelled things we didn’t ‘need’, reduced our essential bills by switching insurance providers and comparing broadband and TV packages. Making sure that we put a small amount of money away each week leaves us with a safety net if something crops up that we weren’t expecting.
In many ways we now count the redundancy as a blessing as it made us take a long hard look at our family finances and realign our priorities as a family. Thankfully we are out the other side but realise that is it easy to fall back into the trap of spend, spend, spend without thinking about our family finances.
Rough Guide to Family Finances
Legal & General are looking to help families understand their family finances have produced a free Rough Guide to Family Finances ebook which you can download HERE
Share your #FamilyEssentials to win an iPad
Legal & General is running a competition to win an iPad, all you need to do is share a photo with accompanying comment via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the #FamilyEssentials hashtag – for full terms and conditions please see HERE.
Getting to grips with family finances
Do you want it to be easier to manage your family finances? You’re not alone. As a nation, we don’t talk about our finances enough and many people lack confidence when managing their money. Take a look at this #MoneyHangout on getting to grips with family finances…
Have you got your family finances in order?
Do you find keeping check of your family essentials easy or difficult?
Disclosure: This post is brought to you in collaboration with Legal & General