feel guilty about cost savings when .......

(21 Posts)
superbagpuss Sat 02-Nov-13 07:08:00

at present I am working while dh looks after the DC
we are trying to live on just my salary each month and are reducing on expenses accordingly, which means this Christmas we cannot be as generous as we used to be

however we have built up a savings nest egg, I don't think we should spend it on day to day expense and have only used it to buy a new washing machine and to fix the car

is it wrong to say we have no money and to cut back on spending to match our incomings and ignore our savings?

MrsPresley Sat 02-Nov-13 07:15:50

Keep your savings, you don't know what is round the corner!

Moreisnnogedag Sat 02-Nov-13 07:27:26

Don't touch your savings unless unexpected emergency! It's there as a last resort and if you start dipping into it you'll be amazed at the things you start justifying using savings for <bitter experience>

AnythingNotEverything Sat 02-Nov-13 07:40:26

It depends on what you mean as a nest egg. If you've a year's salary in the bank and are scrimping and saving living on rice and lentils, then you've probably taken it too far.

Do you have plans for your savings? Do you work in a insecure industry? Only you can judge how big a financial safety net you need in case of emergency.

superbagpuss Sat 02-Nov-13 08:07:06

we are saving for emergencies and for a bigger house
a holiday next year would be nice too

we eat well, but have cut back on meals out and takeaways

I guess we are just trying to be sensible with what we have

BoundandRebound Sat 02-Nov-13 08:09:01

It would be wrong to use savings if you can afford not to use them

TiredFeet Sat 02-Nov-13 08:12:43

I think you are being sensible, its so easy to erode savings very quickly. Its hard saying 'can't afford' when technically you can but it is good to keep the end goal for those savings in mind.

superbagpuss Sat 02-Nov-13 08:54:53

tired feet

I think that's the issue
technically we can afford to buy more, but then the money would be gone

Thatsinteresting Sat 02-Nov-13 08:59:01

We don't even think about our savings as they are for n emergency and once they're gone, they're gone. Right now we live on one salary and wouldn't be able to replace anything we took out of them. So we have no money. Tbh the dc are still small so like 'stuff' but don't understand value and family already have what they need and would rather we provided a better future for our dcs than gave them more stuff.

Littleredsquirrel Sat 02-Nov-13 09:24:39

I think your approach is absolutely right and it sounds like financially you are both very sensible.

Zoze Sat 02-Nov-13 14:54:12

I completely understand your dilemma as we're in a similar position. Our income has halved as I'm now on maternity leave but we do have reasonable savings. However, all the plans and decisions we have made are based on these. So I'll take a whole year off and then start looking for a new job, we can only afford to do this by dripping £500 per month from our savings into our monthly income. It also means cutting back on what we're used to but it does sometimes feel wrong.

My family will have a rough idea of our savings level as 1/3 of the savings came from my dad retiring and a 1/3 from an inheritance, so my sisters have had the exact amount so it feels wrong to go on to them about cutting back, although I have mentioned we're using the money to live on. Friends and my in laws have no idea about the savings so we will pretend that we are having to budget.

I haven't cut back on my family this Christmas as they all do a lot to help us and support us so I have taken a bit extra from savings but the others will have less this year, but I think they'll understand.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 02-Nov-13 15:09:09

I think it depends and it sounds as though you are in a situation a bit similar to ours when ours were tiny (a long time ago now). We went from two to one income and I had savings. Over the next eight years I dipped into them to buy the odd treat for me and the DC or the odd luxury that I didn't want to account for. Probably about £1,500 a year. DH and I are not exactly the last of the big spenders but I don't agree with scrimping on food and heating, etc., when it isn't necessary.

The IL's lived very poor (DH and his sisters remember being hungry as children and they were given the bare minimum at uni, etc) and they let everyone think they were poor. The house was run down, the car was run down, they didn't go on nice holidays, etc., all in the name of being poor and not having a lot of money. When FIL died, it emerged there was a million in the bank, salted away over 50 years of miserable living and watching the pennies.

I think it's a question of balance OP and not overstepping the line too far either way. Presumably your DH can go back to work in a few years when the DC are a bit bigger and even if it's only school hours he will probably be able to pull in a couple of hundred a week. If what you have salted away means that you can live nicely and fund one of you being a stay at home parent which I think is lovely, then I don't think it's a bad thing to let the cushion you have extend to living a bit better than scrimping but letting it fall short of a flash car and expensive holidays that you can't fund out of your earned income.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 02-Nov-13 15:10:35

I thought Zoze was the OP when I wrote my post so please interpret it as being for both of you.

ChippingInLovesAGoodBang Sat 02-Nov-13 15:32:02

I think it depends how you do it and what others take from the conversation.

If you say something like 'We would like to cut back this year and only buy for the children/token presents - is that OK with you?' it is entirely different to saying 'We aren't buying much for the children this year & not for anyone else as we can't afford it' - then people will possibly buy bigger presents for you or more for the children etc so you don't 'go without' and that's not really fair if you aren't in a position of 'need'.

^^ Hope that makes sense.

Many years ago my friend kept saying 'I can't afford x', 'We are cutting back on the food shop as we can't afford it', 'X needs new shoes but I can't afford them' and I was single and in a good job so kept buying her DD bits & pieces to help out or paying when we went out etc - which I was happy to do, no problem at all. Then one weekend they went out and bought a very expensive stereo system (yes, showing my age I know!!). They had been saving for it, so what she had meant was after saving for the stereo system they were a bit short of money... had I known I definitely wouldn't have bought the things I bought for them when I genuinely thought they were struggling but from her POV they couldn't afford those things...

superbagpuss Sat 02-Nov-13 16:17:54

thank you to all the replies

we are making sure people don't think we need help buying things, but are cutting back on luxuries to try and stay within my wages
I don't believe our children go without, they have good food, heat and new clothes when needed. I'm just more likely to get supermarket clothes rather then gap

Ragwort Sat 02-Nov-13 16:36:25

You are being very sensible - we have substantial savings blush but due to being self employed have a very erratic (and currently very low!) income, we try not to use our savings, although at the moment we have to use them to just get by, but there is no way I would use them for expensive clothes/gifts that sort of thing. I would hate not to have the 'security' of savings behind us - yet my DB and his family who earn considerably more than we do spend everything they have - they have no savings at all and constantly moan that they are broke confused - but ignore the fact that they have new cars every 3 years, wear designer clothes, eat out 2-3 times a week, have every latest technological gadget going etc etc etc.

I don't want to sound sanctimonious about this, we do have nice holidays and lovely food to eat, also used some of the savings recently for private healthcare rather than waiting for a non-essential op. on the NHS grin.

specialsubject Sun 03-Nov-13 10:51:57

cutting back on retailmas is the best thing to do. Just tell people that you need to be careful, so this year no presents for adults and set a limit of £5 for kids. This means giving time and being inventive, which makes for much better gifts anyway!

and do keep those savings. No job is secure and you can't eat sparkly tat.

Preciousbane Sun 03-Nov-13 11:06:57

There is nothing the matter with supermarket clothes, especially for dc. I can see why an adult would buy an expensive coat as it can last a good five years but dc are just growing all the time.

When it comes to spending on a gift for adults, you can't really get anything amazing with say 25 quid you can certainly buy something thoughtful. It just seems a waste.

Keep your savings and also don't tell anyone you have them.

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 03-Nov-13 20:57:24

Honestly, OP, I think you need to stop thinking of generosity in absolute terms. If a £5 present is what you can afford, that's every bit as generous as a £50 present from someone who can afford that (and no less likely to be appreciated!) And if what you can afford is £5 (or even nothing), spending more isn't generous, it's profligate, and even a bit tacky.

Call round your friends and family, explain your situation (no need to mention your emergency fund), and talk about all of you reining it in this year. Do a secret Santa around the family, or set very stringent limits... Either way you all get to the fun of presents with much less of the expense. Or just arrange get-togethers over the holidays... I know I'd rather have a mind pie, a coffee and a chat with the people I love than any amount of unsolicited tat. Anybody who doesn't understand all that shouldn't be on your Christmas list anyway. Money has no place in your relationships!

superbagpuss Mon 04-Nov-13 17:52:37

brown sauce
we are having a family secret Santa this year, much more fun grin

BrownSauceSandwich Mon 04-Nov-13 21:30:54

We love the family secret Santa. Less money, less panic, more thought and less tat!

Ps: mince pie, NOT mind pie hmm

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