I need to reduce our monthly outgoings and try and make as much extra cash as possible. We've been having a pretty financially wasteful time, but belts must be tightened! This morning I'm going to cancel my personal trainer and my acupuncturist (who I was seeing for fertility/ivf which we've realised we can no longer afford). Everything else I'm going to need help with. Going to go through our outgoings at the weekend, but ill bet there's loads of flab in there :/
I probably seem like I work for the company (I really, really don't!) but You Need a Budget (YNAB) has revolutionised our finances. They give a 34 day free trial and you can buy the full product on Steam for £30. I got mine for £7 because of a flash sale.
It's an envelope budgeting system - you assign your money to each 'envelope' (spending category) as it comes in. If you need money for something else, you have to take it out of that envelope before you can put it in the new envelope. It really makes you think.
So if you have £300 rent to pay, but you want a take away, you have to really consider 'am I going to under budget for rent just so I can have that takeaway?'
Is there a particular amount that you need to save each month?
Things like convenience foods - pregrated cheese, chopped veg etc - are expensive, so cut these out if you use them (I do use some FWIW because I have a disability that makes food prep hard but I resent the extra cost anyway )
Down brand your food, try one step down through commercial brand -> finest -> own brand -> value
I think I need to save about £1500 a month plus reduce credit cards. I don't currently work, so I'm going to look into seeing what I can do (I've no experience in anything useful). I was thinking maybe temp work (to gain exp) but don't know where to start :/
I do from time to time get Pre cut veg, so that's defo something to stop.
Check your bank accounts to make sure old DD's have definitely been cancelled. Look at changing your energy suppliers/insurers/mobile phone contracts etc. We saved almost £100 a month doing that.
also bank accounts. Many accounts have a charge these days, look at the benefits it gives and ensure you relaly need them all or can you swap to an account with a smaller charge?
Meal plan and only buy the ingredients you need for those meals or bulk cook and freeze left overs for later. Also ALDI and LIDL are soooo much cheaper for veg than any of the big four. Downgrade to supermarket label rather than big brands, or to the value range rather than the own brand. Things like tinned tomatoes and kidney beans and bisuits are fine from the value ranges.
Are you getting any benefits or do you think you may be entitled to any - worth seeing somebody at CAB to do an entitlement check. Always worth finding out what's available if you are struggling and there is surprising help available in places - for example we get capped water bill because DS has severe eczema.
I would spend a few weeks writing down every single financial transaction, cash/card/online etc as that's really the clearest way of seeing exactly where you are going 'wrong' - you might be surprised what you find as some spending is so automatic that we don't really think about it until we see it written down.
if times are that hard then be sensible about Christmas. A nice meal and those decorations you already own, and a few small presents for your own children. Tell the rest of the family that due to financial issues, there is to be a 'no crap present' pact this year.
If your mobile contract runs out, keep your phone (or if it's on last legs buy a cheapo one) and switch to giffgaff - I only pay a fiver a month for a recurring 'goody bag' (not a contract so can cancel at any time) which has plenty of texts and 60minutes, plus if anyone else calls me (mobile, landline whatever) I get more free minutes. DH is switching to them when his Vodafone contract ends which will save £20 a month, huzzah
How much is your credit card bill? I would definitely prioritise that rather than saving as the CC is getting interest too presumably?
I've turned off all the electrical items that I can get to easily and I've turned the heating down to 18 ( it's freezing in the house) But worst of all I've been to lidl and still spent £56.99 which I think will last until Tuesday when ill need to shop again, I got bits for lunch today, tomorrow and Monday, and I got a chicken (I'll do a roast tomorrow), curry sauce, I'll use the rest if the chicken and some veg and make a curry on Tuesday and some mince and chilli sauce, so will do that on Monday.
Clearly I can't economise because my usual waitrose shop is normally about £60 and I can walk to waitrose and I had to drive for nearly 20mins to get to lidl...
What am I doing wrong? People feed a family for a week on £50, it's just me and DH and 4 cats and a dog. I got the cat food yesterday so that shop was just us and the dog :/
If you've got any foreign currency kicking around try and change it back. Post office will change 1/2 euro coins and I think dollar coins too.
Have a good clear out and sell anything you haven't used worn etc for a year on eBay. If you have sky, think about either cancelling or down grading your subscription. Or if like me you're in a non vat paying part of uk tell them to take the vat off your bill. I called them and told them we were paying too much over all and asked to cancel and they knocked 50% off for the next 6 months. We are considering losing sky movies and sports. But dh won't give it up.
Use boots card for shopping if you have enough points and need things, give cc to someone else to look after so you have to ask for it if you want to spend. Look for cheaper internet energy supplier or try to negotiate bills/lower cost. Cancel gym membership. Start running. Walk everywhere. You'll spend less if you have to carry.
Also meal planning. Get right inside store cupboards and be inventive.
None of the above is easy. But it is doable. We had to start cutting back. To save for house. In the beginning it's no fun. But once you get used to it it's ok. Think of the end goal.
Bit late but have a look at http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/money-help
It's a step by step guide to facing where the money goes and how to stop excess spending sometimes without noticing ( changing to cheaper gas and electric supplier)
Anticipating need is a big thing. Eg, lets say you notice your tyres are looking a bit thin and you estimate you have 3 months left before they need replacing...start keeping an eye out for sales and you might get a third or more off. Look into bulk buying cat and dog food if you have the storage space. No idea what the shelf life of it is but since you know you will need it eventually... Ditto for household products like loo roll, dish washing liquid or tablets etc (btw, lidl w5 all in one tablet was one of the top in which reviews... But only go there if passing anyway!)
I love Dave Ramseys envelope system. If you google youtube you can hear his whole "financial peace university" seminars. I listened while doing housework first time so its not a big time commitment. My favourite quote of his is "act your wage" Simple but effective I think!