The run up to Christmas is a great time to have a chat with Thrifty Mumma aka Jamie, blogger over at Thrifty Mumma Thrifty Bubba. She has given me some useful tips on how to be more frugal alongside telling me the story behind her blog.
Let’s start with Jamie’s top money saving tips as I’m sure you’ll want to know. Jamie says:
1) Be honest: own any debt you have. Don’t put your head in the sand. See what the total is and then work on how to reduce it.
2) Look at your lifestyle: anything that counts as a luxury needs to go e.g. gym membership, Sky package, takeaway coffee etc. Swap to a budget supermarket like Aldi or Lidi and buy own brand products – they sell most things now and you can save you a lot of money.
3) Look at what you have that you could sell: have a major clear out and sell things on eBay, Gumtree, car boot sales, Facebook Buy and Sell groups.
4) Start early for Christmas: stick to a budget. If you are hosting, ask people to bring stuff. Remember, it’s about presence instead of presents. Look back at what you remember about Christmas – it’s not necessarily a present or something that has been bought.
These might all seem a bit obvious but we don’t necessarily put them into practice. Money and debt are perhaps taboo subjects but important ones. Jamie covers loads of practical ways of saving money and being thrifty over on her blog and YouTube channel. Her recent vlogs include a, ‘Why You Should…’ series which is far from preachy and more advisory. Jamie says, ‘I share hints, tips, bargains and finds as I meander my way through motherhood on a budget. I’ve written about everything from how to save money with a family to breastfeeding tips and top hacks for cleaning your house on a budget.’
Jamie started her blog in October 2017 while on maternity leave. She has always loved writing and gained a degree in Journalism before going on to work in PR and Marketing, writing articles, running business blogs and social media accounts. She then did a PGCE and worked in a primary school. She says, ‘I started my blog because I was passionate about writing and children and it felt like a natural next step for me to be able to document this exciting new adventure.’ Jamie’s daughter is now 18-months old. ‘My blog has allowed me to be a stay at home Mumma to my gorgeous girl – it only works if it works for her. We’ve shared some incredible experiences together through blogging opportunities so I’m very grateful to be able to use my writing skills in a creative way and enjoy this precious time with her too.’
Jamie is incredibly approachable and warm. The aim is for her audience to feel this too. She said, ‘I always interact with those who take the time to engage with my content as I feel this is so important. I also want things to be achievable for my followers: I share things that have helped me in the hope that they will help others too, especially parents, and they are all simple to do!’ Her accounts are also affordable as it’s free to subscribe to the blog, YouTube channel and social media accounts. ‘I absolutely love sharing how to save money – a lot of people think saving money is something that you need to have a lot of money to do. However, it’s never too late to start – pennies soon turn into pounds!’
When asked how she maintains a thrifty, debt free lifestyle Jamie said, ‘I have always loved charity shops and car boot sales. My parents instilled in me how to look after money so that we were able to go on nice holidays.’ I have always been keen to have nice things but not at full price. A lot of my clothes have been picked up second hand, sometimes brand new with the original tags on but at a much cheaper price. I see it as a lifestyle choice, I don’t see it as a hardship. I hope to pass on my love of being thrifty to my daughter, hence my blog name!’
I asked her how to balance this as people often don’t have the time to hunt for bargains, especially working parents. She said, ‘I guess I’ve grown up with a love of doing it but if you are in trouble financially then it makes sense to rethink your lifestyle and see where changes can be made. I enjoy opening people’s eyes and breaking down barriers. You can go online for fast fashion but it’s often ‘flash in the pan’ and you might not wear it often. Social media can sometimes seem aspirational and make you feel as if you need to spend more money to achieve a desirable lifestyle. However, I hope to share how you can live well on a small budget. You can find some great things at jumble sales – I recently bought an unopened Estee Lauder make-up palette for £1.50 while others are spending huge amounts for the same product at the new John Lewis. It’s amazing what you can find if you’re willing to look!’
Future plans for Jamie include continuing with her blog and YouTube channel along with supporting local hospice charity Sue Ryder. She has recently supported them on a national Christmas campaign to raise awareness of hospice care. Her father passed away at the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice after a diagnosis of cancer in 2010. Through her writing and vlogging, Jamie has helped Sue Ryder to raise awareness of hospice care which is completely reliant on charitable donations. Sharing her Dad’s story, Jamie has written a beautifully moving piece about her family’s experience of the hospice over the festive period that has now formed a national postal and digital campaign. Jamie is also working on another project for Sue Ryder which is in the pipeline. You can read the Sue Ryder piece here.