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She’s a busy mum-of-three, and along with her husband and miniature dachshund Ernie, she is passionate about all things home, family, and travelling.
To mark Northern Ireland Savings Week, we are delighted to feature a guest blog post from Emma Martin, of ambleandash.com and @Littlewoodlife, where she shares her inside tips and tricks on how to save and still make valuable memories.
“With three children to think about, we have to always be sure that we are planning and preparing for their future whilst still affording them the opportunities that we can now. As they get older and think about further education, travel and homes of their own we’d love to be able to help them out as much as we possibly can. I think most parents would be the same.
I’m working with Progressive Building Society over Northern Ireland Savings Week, to highlight a few practical, achievable ways in which we are trying to make savings this year. Having built our home in the midst of recession and redundancy, we’re only too aware of how fragile financial situations can be. Having a buffer, however small, is so important to us now, to prepare for all eventualities. Take a look at some of my savings tips below. None of them are rocket science but, as my Granda always used to say, ‘Count the pennies and the pounds will sort themselves.’
Making small savings can allow us to put away extra pennies for bigger savings goals. One way we do this is to meal plan at the beginning of each week. We write a shopping list and stick to it – no deviating from the list! By organising our food budget each week, we avoid unnecessary spending, and really cut down on food waste too.
This past year I’ve really been focused on saving on the little luxuries that previously were adding up each month. I love fresh flowers but have started drying my own and displaying them instead. Hydrangea work really well at this time of year! I registered with my local library and can access all the latest magazines via that for free saving me money, but also cutting down on a lot of paper waste too. And we also upgraded our coffee machine and invested in reusable cups. Bringing our own coffee from home when we are out and about is saving us a fortune in takeaway drinks and is much more sustainable too.
A few years ago, we started active saving – allocating a tiny portion of our incoming finances each month to be redirected to a savings account. By setting up a direct debit and having it moved at the beginning of each month (or as soon as we are paid!) we have grown accustomed to it not being there and don’t miss it. It might not be a lot each month (family life is expensive, huh?!) but a little at a time can add up to quite a bit in the long term.
No matter what we are saving for, putting something away for the future is one of the best decisions we can make. It might be for practical reasons – family security, university fees (yikes!) or a retirement fund, but equally for fun reasons too – holidays, experiences or home improvements.”
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