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The Value of a Budget

It's easy to spend all that is earned and as a result have meager savings. Or even live on credit, always in arrears.

But doing a budget can result in:

  • Increasing your knowledge about your own financial situation

  • Encouraging you to save because there is tangible evidence of your progress

  • Reducing your impulsive spending due to increased accountability

  • Peace of mind

  • Achieving larger financial goals & freedom of choice

Woman Working

Surprisingly, even with examination, many of our utility bills and recurrent bills didn't change much. For example, I wasn't prepared to have lesser health coverage, so that cost remained, however I did change funds to one that gave better returns on expenses paid.


I did however change mobile phone providers reducing our costs to a third. By investigating my options I received more for less, and it was especially worthwhile because in our family, mobile phone costs were multiplied by four.

And I found there were some other areas in our life that were able to be adjusted.

Mechanic Fixing Car

I realized if my husband and I dropped in for a morning coffees each, that cost between $60 and $70 a week, totalling well over $3000 a year.


If we ate our lunches out at just $10 a day each that added another $100 a week to our  costs. Again that added up to around $5000 a year.


And if we ate out, or had takeaway once a week at the cost of just $50 a week, that added up to another $2500 a year. When I added just those things together, I saw I was spending a month's worth of holidays a year on some form of takeaway.


By adjusting our takeaway habits, we created a financial buffer. that otherwise wouldn't have existed.

Some people can't survive without their morning coffee. And I'm not saying don't have it. Just know what it's actually costing you and plan around it.

Beach House
Calculate Savings

We began to keep track of our regular bills: electricity, water rates, council rates, telephone and internet, house insurance, car insurances, car registrations, car repairs, health insurance, etc. And I was surprised at how much they added up to over the year. We estimated and allocated a yearly amount to cover all our bills. We also began to save a 'just in case' account, which was money there that we didn't touch unless something big happened.

It may be sobering if you add up all of your bills. Like me, you may find that there's not as much left over as you hoped.

But rather than putting my head in the sand as I'd previously done, I looked at ways of cutting costs or expanding my income.

I examined every area of our expenditure over the year, in addition to those already mentioned above: Petrol, food, entertainment, eating out, education costs, hairdresser, cosmetics, shoes and clothing, house expenditure, home repairs or renovations, gifts, donations, superannuation, furniture and appliances, medical bills, medications, sports, child interest fees, pets, tolls, public transport, holidays, gym memberships, celebrations and other miscellaneous costs.

N.B. ASIC provides a great budgeting tool.

Go to :


We drove older cars rather than new cars. (If we'd chosen newer cars, we would have been working just to keep the cars on the road. At one point, while both boys were in Uni, we were paying for repairs, insurances, registrations for four cars.)


Something simple we did was we went to the same mechanic over many years that I knew was trustworthy. By having a positive relationship with him that made a financial difference to us. He helped us plan the changing over of vehicles before they became unsafe to drive and we ensured he regularly serviced our cars so that we had less repairs than we otherwise would have.

Latte Art

But I think the thing that made the greatest difference to our financial lives was that by doing a budget, we developed a greater incentive to pay down our mortgage.

I can tell you a true and sobering story. When we bought our first home we took out a mortgage. The bank manager said because we were new mortgage holders we didn't need to pay our first monthly payment. We thought, what a great bank.


However six months later when we got our first statement, that first month's payment had been added to the beginning of our loan. That meant that we owed more than we borrowed, and our repayments weren't even covering our loan.

As it turned out, the guy couldn't have done us a bigger favour. We began to pay double payments whenever we could and we tripled the equity in our home within the five years we owned it. We wanted to be rid of the debt as soon as possible.

One simple thing that we did with our second mortgage was we paid our mortgage fortnightly, rather than monthly. That meant we made one month's extra payment over the year. And by doing so, it would have saved us over ten years on repayments. So instead of paying it off over twenty five years, it would have taken us fourteen and a half.

And I developed more confidence in asking for the best deal possible. I managed to get a 1% lower interest rate because I knew it existed and I asked for it.

Young Businesswomen

DISCLAIMER: N.B. The financial information on Best Parenting is what I did and what worked for me. It may not however work for you in your financial situation. For financial advice specific to you and your situation you need to seek advice from a financial advisor, or accountant.

Professional Male

For our latest mortgage we took out a home equity loan. We found this to be a great facility for us because we exercised discipline.


Any money we earned came directly off our mortgage, and it was calculated daily.


But beware, a loan like this can also be a disaster for those who don't exercise discipline, as some keep redrawing funds against their house, and they end up still owing the original amount twenty years later on.

Yet if they had a budget, and stuck to it, they would know they were living beyond their means before it turned out to be too late to do much about it.

For some more Money Saving ideas go to the links below:


Best Parenting is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. It highlights what successful parents do differently to those who struggle. Best Parenting provides free online resources for busy parents who want the best practical advice on: how to give kids a best start in life, better tips for parenting toddlers, effective child rearing strategies, behaviour management tips, successful goal setting and organizational strategies for successful families, easy family dinner recipes, self-care tips for time-poor parents and free kids learning games. The aim of Best Parenting is to provide quality practical parenting tips and advice to best help children and families succeed, using the convenience of a website.

This website provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. Best Parenting does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or with every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this website to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Similarly users of this website are advised to follow any recommendations for seeking professional advice as all information on this site is generic. Best Parenting is an independent website and is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems.


Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.

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