As a stay at home mum of 2 little boys and (spoiler alert!) with bub #3 due in October, life is very busy! It's all too easy to rely on takeaways and cut corners to make things a little easier. However, I have found all those little things cost money and can add up very quickly. My solution has simply been to become more organised.
Over the past 12 months we have made lots of positive changes that are already having a great impact on our financial situation. Things like buying some of our basic food items from Aldi, making my own laundry powder and other cleaning products and cutting out most the processed (and pricey) food that we used to eat.
The bottom line is I want to be able to stay home with my kids, at least for the next few years, and keeping track of our money is a crucial part of that. MyProsperity is a free, simple and secure way to handle your finances.
So how does it work?
You visit the MyProsperity website and sign up for free, which only takes a few minutes. The hardest part was coming up with a complicated enough password (which is actually very reassuring as I know it will be secure).
You link up all your existing bank accounts, credit cards, loans, shares, super and property. The program finds your accounts, gathers all your transactions and even values your car and house to give you an up to date picture of your net worth.
What is especially useful for us is seeing exactly where we are spending our money.
Despite having made a budget some time ago, it required a fair bit of work to open up the spreadsheet and manually enter our purchases. MyProsperity does all of this automatically and even categorises your spending as groceries, petrol, entertainment, travel etc. I did find some of my purchases were wrongly categorised. Anything I purchased online for example, was listed under online services rather than clothing or healthcare. It took about 10 minutes to go through and correct these categories so they are ready for next time.
Will we stick with it?
Definitely. I feel like we have only just scratched the surface of what MyProsperity can do for us but already I am loving having all of our information in one place and being able to see at a glance where our money is going. Seeing it all laid out is a great incentive to try and spend less!
My top 3 tips for spending less on food:
1. Make your own
Lots of basic foods can be so easily made at home - pizza bases, stewed fruit, granola, cakes/muffins/biscuits and even almond milk - all at a fraction of the price you will find them at the supermarket and much better for you too.
2. Plan your meals
We have started shopping fortnightly and writing out a complete meal plan for that time. I do mine in Excel but you can just write on a piece of paper if that's easier. I choose a main meal for each night, making sure there will be enough leftover for my husband to take for lunch the next day. I then check the freezer and pantry and list out any ingredients we will need to buy. I add in anything we need for breakfast, kindy lunches and to stock the pantry with essentials and then I'm done. I print the list and head off shopping. At the end of the fortnight the fridge is practically empty and we haven't wasted a thing.
3. Cut out the crap
As I have mentioned before, we have made a real effort to cut out snack, junky and processed foods. I am very proud of the fact that Oscar's kindy lunchbox has never contained anything in a packet. I buy yoghurt in 1kg tubs (and planning on switching to homemade soon) and spoon it into his own little container, I make wraps and sandwiches, cut up fruit and vegetable sticks, add a homemade treat like a muffin or just some rice cakes with cream cheese. I did a review of the lunchbox we chose for him here and it has been working brilliantly with no need for any extra packaging or even gladwrap.
Full disclosure - I received a $50 Myer giftcard for my time in reviewing MyProsperity. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I have published this review in good faith.