The Angelicscalliwags Challenge: August Sum Up


Sorry, I know I’ve posted it before, but I love this picture!

Welcome to the August sum up of the angelicscalliwags’ challenge.  The challenge is on to pay off our mortgage by the end of 2017

How did we do this month?

We have currently paid back 17% of our mortgage since January of this year.  Only 83% left.

What have we been doing this month?

I have written our a huge long list of all the groceries I buy in the month.  I have done online shops in Waitrose (expensive but very good quality), Tescos and Asdas (less expensive but not such good quality).  I have discussed with Gary what is important to us quality wise and therefore what we should buy from Waitrose, and what isn’t so important and therefore we could buy from Asda.

Fresh food, in particular meat, fish and veg, we have decided is a Waitrose shop, everything else an Asda shop.  I intend to do an Ocado shop (Waitrose products delivered to my door at Tesco prices) once a week and an Asda shop once a month.  Just by buying some of our groceries from Asda we have saved over £100 on Waitrose prices over the month.

What have the children been doing this month?

This month Gary and I and the children have started to figure out some sort of pocket-money scheme.  I am in two minds about this.  I don’t want to just give the children money and I’m not that keen on paying for chores that are basically their share of being part of our family; that said, I do want them to have the opportunity to handle money more than they have been.

T11 already receives £5 per month from us and is  responsible for buying his underwear and night wear (Pyjamas and slippers) in addition to any products (deodorant, shower gel, shampoo).  He is not allowed to spend this money on anything else and if he manages the money well, when he turns 12 he will be given an extra £5 and his responsibilities will increase.  So far he has managed very well.  The girls, when they turn 11 will be given £5 with the same responsibilities.  This means they must spend their money wisely or they will not have undies or night wear!  I don’t think of this as pocket-money as it is money I would spend on them anyway given I am their parent and have responsibility for making sure their clothing needs are met.  No, this is just a handing over of the responsibility to the children to give them the opportunity to make decisions concerning the clothes they choose to wear, and the products they choose to use.  T11 has learnt just how expensive everything is, and how £5 does not really go a very long way.  He refuses (quite rightly!) to shop charity shops for undies and night wear, and has become an expert on making these things last a bit longer.  He is now becoming our master shopper and is learning he needs to make choices based on quality verses prices, depending which is most important to him and figuring out the best places to shop to buy good quality products at a good price.  He is also learning wise compromises to make.  For example he is able to buy a branded combined shower gel and shampoo 2 for £1, negating his need to buy separate products.  He also chooses to use a roll on over a spray deodorant because it last longer.  These have been great lessons to learn.

However, I also want to teach the older children the reality that whilst Daddy may get a pay check at the end of the month, almost every penny goes towards bills, mortgage, saving for future expenses, car etc. etc.  He simply doesn’t get to spend the money on himself.  Our plan is to give the children 40p for each year they have been alive each week.  For example B2 will receive 80p whilst T11 will receive £4.40.  In order to receive this they will have to have a great attitude towards their school work and towards their chores.  They will need to do their chores well and thoroughly.  Their money will be docked if they fail to do this.  They are required to do chores, and have done many since they were young.  This is not an opt in chores (get paid) opt out of chores (don’t get paid) method.  However, if they are done carelessly their money will be docked.  I hope this will replicate life somewhat, because no body wants to pay sloppy workers!

Each time they are paid, each child will be expected to tithe the amount that they receive (10% to church), put by 20% for gifts and 40% into savings for their future.  The rest they can keep and spend however they wish.

Obviously for the younger ones this will mean there will be very little money left to spend, and they would probably find it hard to buy anything in the shops for that.  To ensure they are still learning and enthusiastic about the process, we have put together a tuck shop, buying in multi-packs of stationary and treats from Wilkinson’s and pound shop and splitting them up.  So for example we can buy 3 novelty erasers for 35p there.  I then split them up and will sell them for 10p each in the tuck shop.  It means the children can buy things with a smaller price tag but are still actually paying a similar amount that I did in the shops.  I will recoup most of the money and be able to replenish the tuck shop once a month without using anything out-of-pocket.  The older ones can choose to spend some in the tuck shop or save and spend it wherever they wish.

Needless to say they are all very excited!  We intend to begin this during the first week back at home school in October.

What will we be doing next month?

The children have their seasonal clothes packages this month, which I will need to be putting together for them.  I have been popping away stuff for the past year, and I think have mostly everything.  We have been blessed to have found ski suits for a couple of pounds in the charity shops, as well as many other items I had been praying for.  We will need to buy wellies and trainers, and maybe some overalls.  The children have chosen to go without a new Sunday outfit and winter coat, happily making do with last years which still fits them.  I’ll try to remember to get a photo of the packs I make up, so you can all see what is possible on a very small budget (less than a couple of pounds per month per person!).  If you want more information about shopping for clothes on a budget see this post.

Slowly but surely we are inching our way to being mortgage free within the next four years.  It is hard sometimes, and certainly we occasionally talk about changing our mortgage term to 25 years, which would give us lots more budgetary freedom.  So far we have resisted.


  1. I’m very impressed by your allotment of money to the kids – it’s so important to teach them how to manage and save money, something most adults (myself included!) have a hard time with. I really like the idea of older kids budgeting a set amount of money for toiletries – I’ll be talking that one over with hubby today! Our kids do get an allowance weekly, and like you, it isn’t for chores, because helping keep our home and garden up to scratch is a responsibility we all share, but they have mostly been managing their money to buy music and trinkets…yes, I really do like the toiletries idea! Thanks for inspiring me!

    1. T11 is really funny with his money! He squirrels it away and ums and ahs over purchases and shops around until he thinks the price is one he’s willing to pay! He’s got more money than the whole family, I think. That said, he thinks nothing of spending his money on drinks for his little sisters when they don’t have the money to pay for them themselves. Tight wad but generous at the same time!!

  2. One request: could you please write a book about thrifty lifestyles etc alternatively could you send some of your brain cells to south africa please… i have NO idea how you come up with all these bright ideas! i feel thrilled when i make it through the day and i can still remember how to spell my own name! seriously Claire… book! write one!

  3. I also like the idea of giving the children responsibility for items you already buy for them. It’s a win win situation

  4. What wonderful ideas. I couldn’t agree with you more. We are thinking of changing the kids allowances. I love your ideas. I want to give them more responsibility over things like socks and skin care products. Also, I will not pay for chores ~ that is part of being in the family ~ as you said.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thanks Dawn. Money is one of those things that is a little tricky for this age group. They need to learn the skills required to handle money, but are too young to work for it outside the home. Hopefully we’ve reached some middle ground.

  5. You guys are doing such a good job with this. We don’t pay our kids for most chores either. There’s the “above and beyond chores,” which are usually ones I don’t want to do (cleaning bathrooms and such) that I pay them to do.

    Unloading dishwasher and general cleaning is part of being in this house. At some point we might pay for that.

  6. I love the idea of the kids buying their own items, with money you would already be spending! What a great life lesson to learn the value of a dollar by learning to budget their money well or go without!
    I think I may have to try that with my kids.
    I love your ideas!
    Great blog, I’ll be back!

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