Deciding to change your career and your life is never an easy move and much thought goes into the process along the way. When I started teaching I thought I would stay in the classroom for my whole working life. As a family though we were exhausted, we needed to make some changes and I wanted to give the children more attention. The early starts and long days were leaving Erin battered with chest infections and illness. We knew we needed an overhaul. It is hard making those changes in a society that promotes consumerism and whilst I had had enough of the the eldest being a ‘latch key kid’ and was continually shocked at just how much of my wage went on travelling to work and childcare costs. Plenty of sums were done before I left teaching though to ensure that we could make these changes.
We could not afford to drop my wage entirely and I knew that I would have to start chasing more work as a freelance writer. The pitching for work was new to me but has kept me in regular work and as a blogger and copy writer you will need to have regular clients. We did acknowledge that the big holidays would have to be downgraded somewhat, no more trips to Florida for a few years but we felt that what we were doing in terms of me being at home more for the next few years was more important than our two weeks in the sun all inclusive somewhere. My goal was not to change the family lifestyle too much but save costs where we could, without the children missing out. Therefore they still do the dance lessons, the hockey courses and the school residential they want to. We do have a good income but it now has to stretch a little further. It has worked for us and I am sure it could work for many if they really want it to. It is so easy to go along with the tide and sometimes stepping back and evaluating how you are living is important for everyone’s physical and emotional well being.
One of the first things I did was audit where we were spending money each month. I knew that we were going to be able to reduce costs easily without going without. I have changed our food and eating habits. One of the things I wanted to change was how we were eating. I was relying on convenience food too much, things that just went in the oven. Now I cook more from scratch and stretch out meals with healthy veg. This quickly reduced our overall weekly spend. We also have healthy snacks like my fruit smoothie that Anne Robinson championed during my The One Show appearance.
Secondly I ensured we had good deals on our home energy bills. Using resources from sites including Go energy shopping can save you up to £200 a year. The site not only has the comparison tool but has a glossary of the terms used and handy online guides. I think one of the reasons for staying with suppliers is that you think it will be a faff changing but really it is not. Do the same for internet providers and home insurance as it comes up for renewal. These are passive savings as you are not going without just making sure that you have the best deals. Changing suppliers and making smoothies rather than buying them is a little time consuming, but I had the time and it was money I wanted to save. Therefore doing your research and getting the best deal made financial sense. One thing Anne Robinson said was that making these changes was time consuming for busy mums. I am a busy mum I have three children – but making these changes ensures that I can be at home with them rather than being caught in a work cycle that kept me paying more for things. Now I have altered my mindset and we are all much happier now.