MyFamilyClub – What’s it all about then?

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Gemma JohnsonIn a nutshell, MyFamilyClub is here to help parents save money. It really is that simple and there are no mixed messages.

At the heart of this, is MyFamilyClub’s Savings Pack, which we’ve carefully put together to help parents make savings exactly where they need them most – in day-to-day spending.

Of course I have a pack myself – I chose the retailers where I know I shop frequently (Boots, Marks & Spencer, Toys R Us, Morrisons and Pizza Express are just a few of my selections), then make sure I load up my Savings Pack gift cards with money before I go out to shop. Every time I load them up, I get a little bit extra thrown in for free – meaning I make savings of up to 10% in the shops.

So what do I use my gift cards for most, and how do I make savings?

Luckily my son is well and truly out of nappies but my little girl who is nearly three has decided that she is “my baby” rather than my “big girl” and has refused point blank to come out of nappies. So my nappy and wipe bill are huge, as I keep a stock of Pyjama Nites, bed pads to go under the sheets and pull ups for Afro Baby.

I load up my Boots Card each month with around £94, but with the saving I get through MyFamilyClub it means I get £100 spending out of that. I use it to get all our shampoo, conditioner, shaving foam, nappies, bed sheets, wipes, baby bath, cream, toothpaste, toothbrushes and multi vitamins from there. I also go through tights during the week like nobody’s business as I am always snagging my legs on something or someone before I have even left the house. Although I am only saving £6 per month, I also get to collect my advantage points and use my Boots Discount Card at the till to pay after redeeming any in-store promotions such as BOGOF or discounted prices.

I have a Boots right opposite my work so my spend is now increasing as I occasionally pop in for some of their naughty low fat chocolate bars, onion ring crisps and smoothies.

Other cards always in my purse are M&S, where I buy all of my husband’s pants and socks, some of my son’s school uniform, underwear, socks etc. and monthly yummy treats for the family such as their delicious mousses, the Bavarian smoked cheese and other yummy bits I can’t find as nice anywhere else.

Overall, I would say I am saving around £72 a year at Boots and around £30 – £40 per year at M&S and that’s without indulging my stocking filler habit at Christmas!

You can see a full list of all the shops you can make savings at here.

Saving money

So why our focus on helping parents save money?

Money and time are two of the things most parents would love more of. I can vaguely remember what my life was like before Spaghetti Legs came on the scene some four years ago. I did what I wanted, I went where I wanted and I bought what I wanted. Never a real thought as to whether I really needed it… Or what the conseqences might be of doing things just “because I felt like it”. Oh my, how my life has changed!

Along came Ted. What a wake up call! I can remember my mum coming around to celebrate our happy news and me bursting into tears because she told me not to have the bath too hot. I actually had a tantrum on the spot wailing “I can’t do this, I can’t do that, what else can’t I do…?!” rant, rant, rant…

Selfish little Gemma was about to go through a major shift in priorities and responsibilites, and for the first time look to the future rather than living in the moment.

MyFamilyClub started off as a self-indulgent journey: me trying to work out how can I get a piece of my life back, how can I reclaim a teeny weeny bit of my identity, how can I save money and get on top of my finances and how, how, please tell me how?! can I carve out some time for myself?

As I started to explore, define and listen to other parents’ tales, I’d hear things like: “I don’t even have time to go to the loo”; or “Sometimes I don’t get to brush my teeth until 12am (that’s if I even remember)”; “I can’t go out as we can’t afford a babysitter”; and “ I’ve had to slash our grocery bill and am eating less to stretch the food further”.

I was saddend and shocked by the reality of how much life changes when you have another mouth to feed, clothe, love and support. I remember thinking “life shouldn’t be like this; being pregnant and having a child should be a wonderful, liberating and joyous experience (amongst the  stinky nappies, tantrums and severe manipulative behaviour)”.

The more I learnt and felt vulnerable about what was to come for us in the future, the more I wanted to do something about it.

MyFamilyClub’s journey

MyFamilyClub has been a really interesting journey and we have a collection of fantastic writers crafting content that will really benefit parents around the UK who want to get to grips with their finances and stretch their budgets further.

I wanted to make sure that we developed a solution that would be available to all parents whether purchasing our Savings Pack or not; it’s important for me that MyFamilyClub doesn’t exclude anyone, and that there is still help available if you want to just come along and nosey around.

As a busy mum of two children (whom you may already have read about in my Introduction to Spaghetti Legs and Afro Baby) then you can be assured that as my needs grow and change as a mother and as my own family grows, so will my desire and inspiration to find new solutions, services and products to help you look towards the future with a little bit more of a plan. And hopefully, I’ll be able to help you gain some insights into how to get back in control.