Blogger Q&A: The Diary of a Frugal Family

By Emma Lunn

Cass Bailey is a married mother of two young children. When the credit crunch took hold, she decided that she and her family should live a more frugal life -- and set up The Diary of a Frugal Family blog to document their journey.

Through the blog, Bailey chronicles everything from savvy shopping, to selling belongings on eBay, to planning affordable family outings, to avoiding the pitfalls of payday loans. Bailey also shares how to cook balanced meals on a budget -- and even writes a separate blog about food -- Frugalicious Food. frugal-family

Since starting the Diary of a Frugal Family, Cass has managed to change her family's spending habits so much that she has been able to reduce her hours at work, enabling her to both drop the children off at breakfast club and pick them up from school.

How did she do it? We asked Bailey for some tips on living frugally with a family. What was the most drastic or life-altering thing your family has done to save money?  

Cass Bailey: We haven't really done anything drastic as we've cut down in lots of little ways -- the biggest money-saving thing for us has been meal planning.  What are some less painful things you've done to save money that were surprisingly effective?

Bailey: Planning our meals in advance and only buying the food we need. Turning lights out and switching appliances off rather than just turning them to standby.  Using cashback websites for things we would buy anyway. How are you teaching your kids about money?  

Bailey: They know that things cost money and that we don't always have the money to buy them what they want.  My eldest receives pocket money and is saving up for her holidays at the moment. What are the key times of year when families might overspend?

Bailey: School holidays are the time when we can overspend -- we plan for Christmas and birthdays and buy things in the sales where we can. But the holidays are times when we just want to have fun and, although there are lots of things to do for free, even just one day out to a theme park can completely blow our budget. What are some things you've sacrificed -- and do you miss them?  

Bailey: I don't think we've sacrificed much at all. We cut down to one car, but we haven't really missed it too much.  What is your top money-saving tip for families?

Bailey: Meal plan and budget.  If you don't have a budget and know how much you've got coming in and going out each month, then you're bound to overspend. Do you think there is enough financial advice aimed at families?  

Bailey: It's all out there if you take the trouble to find it, but no, I don't think there's enough information given to families and youngsters living on their own for the first time.

See related: Many UK families close to financial ruin; Credit cards: Who wears the trousers in your household?

Published: 29 February 2012