Could you advise me on my budget challenge?

(42 Posts)

We got ourselves into a right mess over previous years and are currently paying our debts back through a dmp. I'm a pretty frugal person these days having learnt the hard way and spend very little on frivolities or treats. Honestly I'm quite mean with my money now! Anyway I decided to sit down and do a proper budget tonight as with incomings into our account from 4 sources over 7 occasions monthly it all gets a bit confusing (especially for me!) and I need to make things easier really know exactly where I am with my cash. So, this is what I've come up with-let me know your thoughts! Family of 4 2 adults, 2 dc's both aged 2 (still in nappies) and a dog.

Incomings total monthly-£2068

Outgoings:

dmp-443
tv licence-12.12
pet insurance 9.16
sky (including tv, broadband and phone) just under 100-(this is absolutely shockwe can DEFINATELY save money on this I will be sorting this out asap)
home ins-29.52 (possibly can find cheaper but house leasehold?)
my car ins-29.58
Council tax-76
water -29.65 (would a water meter be cheaper?)
dh car ins-46.36 (yes we have 2 cars not really looking into getting rid of one atm but have found cheaper ins than this (due the end of Jan)
Gas/electric-56 (am underpaying atm as massively overcharged last year will increase but will be looking around for best deal)
opticians (contacts/glasses etc)-20.50 (would love to bring this down not sure how it's done?)
Mortgage-256.63

total -1108.52.

After this I will add in £20 p.m for mine and dh's mobiles (new sims) and £50 to savings. Total outgoings then-1180

My dh gets paid weekly so I was thinking each week draw out in cash £222. Set aside £100 for all meals, nappies, toiletries, inc top up shops. I will start shopping in Aldi again and meal plan inc freezing extra quantities (saving me more the week after) so this may be overestimated but anything left will go into savings. Also set aside £50 petrol for me and dh (again may be an overestimate).

That would leave £36 each we can have to do whatever we want with (haven't done that for a few years!). Piss up the wall or save towards a night out with mates (dh will do former I'll do latter, and I'll prob get the dc's a few things out of it too.

Does this sound reasonable or is there anything I have missed? Or am I selling myself short? Like I said I am really really frugal (these days) and make a lot of 'extra' by selling on Ebay, dedication to answering surveys (I probably make a few hundred annually) so that helps too.

I am so sorry for the format of my essay budget as I know it must make it harder to read (back to school also I think)

Iamnotanugget Sun 12-Jan-14 07:54:11

Well done for sitting down and sorting out a budget. I can only suggest a few tweaks. Have a look on money saving expert as that has a list of everything the average household buys, for example what about birthdays, Christmas, the dentist, clothes and shoes etc, are these coming out of savings?

Sky, you're right, this can easily be reduced. We took the brave step of getting rid of paid tv altogether. We have unlimited broadband and free calls for around £20 a month and we have Lovefilm for £8 along with freeview. I don't think we'll ever get paid tv again.

Your council tax you can ask to pay over 12 months. It doesn't save you anything but it would mean slightly less coming out each month.

I suspect a water meter would cost you more. We're pretty good with our water and spent about £38 a month. Do check though. You can usually have 1 installed and then you have up to 13 months to ask to go back onto rates.

For contact lenses it's usually cheaper to wear monthly lenses. The best thing to do is speak to your optician about the cheapest option and then look online at buying solutions and lenses. You will need to pay for an annual lens check though, I think this is about £35 and every 2 years you need an eye test but you can get these for between free and a tenner as there's always vouchers available for somewhere.

Look at giffgaff for your mobile, they are very cheap and may save you an extra £5-10 per month. We pay £12.50 a month for 2 phones and it's plenty.

You need to look at your weekly amount again here. After all your bills you have £888 per month. This is £205 per week as there's more than 4 weeks in a month. If you meal plan, have a couple of cheap veggie nights and try value nappies, which are good these days then you can easily reduce your groceries to £80 max a week but you could go lower.

If you only spend £200 a month on petrol between you are you doing lots of short journeys you could cut out? Your home insurance may come down but I'm sure your energy bills will go up and depending on your mortgage that will go up soonish too. It does look like you can live on your on your income and have the odd treat. Well done for getting this far.

TinyDiamond Sun 12-Jan-14 08:13:04

I think you can do it. It won't be fun on the 'treats' for you and DH front for a while but it is doable with willpower.

How much longer on the debt repayments?

For the £36 a week each could you reduce this to £32 and save an extra £8 for a present fund? to save towards DC and any gifts for parties you get invited to? What month are they 3?

Aldi nappies are the absolute BEST. So much better than the big brands they have won awards too. I was using them until recently. For example a pack of about 44 is £4.49, sometimes on offer so a few pence less. Wipes are 79p. All of their toiletries are good too. For things like washing detergent etc I do a monthly shop at somewhere like b&m and stock up.

Your food spend is realistic I think. Aldi is amazing. Batch cooking is the way to go I reckon. Maybe with a pizza and garlic bread and bottle of wine night for you and DH once a week.

Good luck smile

Thanks for the advice and encouragement! Regarding those lets-call-them-extras. Hmm yes I will have to lookat that. I was probably going to use savings or my 'pocket money' but realistically not keen on either so may I should put some pounds aside. To me, everything in savings would come under one umberella so how would you recommend I save the 'extras'? Not keen on multiple accounts so will probably just put in a jar! Car repairs, tax etc plus household repairs out of savings.

Regarding savings, I have recently been putting any money I have left over in a jar at the end of each day with good results (bank once a month). I won't be able to do that now if living off cash but hopefully will have money left at end of month/week so will save that. Also save all my 1 and 2p's maybe?

I never even thought of asking my optician for advise! I will do that.

We were looking at the triple credit bundle for mobiles on Tesco but will look at Giff Gaff and others now!

I know I have overestimated flood but would rather do that to begin with until I can see exactly what's realistic (think I was probably including extras in this). Also do you know what size aldis nappies go to? Currently on size 5. That price is fantastic and I go through loads of nappies, but bad experiences with nappy rash deter me. NEED TO CHANGE THE MINDSET.

Dh could def cut out the short journeys. I dont use car on my days off, maybe once or twice? There's a morrisons Errol station just gone up locally which is v cheap so will switch to them and get their miles card.

Hmmwhat else? I think I'll start doing n occasional present shop at b and ms etc for the bargains. Stock up iyswim.

I just need to implement this now. Ideally from the first of Feb but it means I need to get about 1100 in my bank for that day. Also dh car tax due now (groan). I have created a seperste folder with dates when all insurances, mots, car tax due not to be caught short. Also dts turn 2 on Feb 2nd but have some funds aside for that. I may have to use savings to start off but not keen at all. Its for the greater good though so will have a good look later.

Sorry if I missed anything out-it makes your head spin doesn't it! Luckily we are a bit used to a bit of a budget as on a dmp not allowed credit cards or overdraft. Been on it a year, 4 left to go (through step hangs who are blinking fantastic!). The amp can be reduced or increased but not going to touch it unless I can increase it.

Thanks again :D

typos are just dreadful sorry!!!!

sandiy Sun 12-Jan-14 10:18:27

I get my contact lenses online from contact lenses .com.£25.00 for 3 months supply and I dont have cheap lenses.I go to specs avers once yearly for contact lense check up and vision test every 2 years.I used to pay 76.00 a month with my independant optician

TinyDiamond Sun 12-Jan-14 10:24:35

aldi nap pies up to size 6. They also do pull ups.

LucyLasticBand Sun 12-Jan-14 10:29:02

i dont think you need to spend £100 per week on a fmaily of four. i dont, on a family of 5.
could you make it £90, i realise it is includng top ups.

LucyLasticBand Sun 12-Jan-14 10:29:46

your £36 to piss up the wall, or put by for emergencies, do you have a fund for car expenses?

LucyLasticBand Sun 12-Jan-14 10:30:42

hair cuts?
ink?
new tyres?

pootlebug Sun 12-Jan-14 10:34:53

Others have mentioned birthday/christmas presents etc. Also clothes for the kids (am assuming for you and DH is less of an issue short-to-mid term as you don't grow so much).

I know you have your £36 per month spends but if you end up spending it all on presents, kids clothes etc, whilst your DH gets to spend his on him, you might justifiably end up feeling a bit resentful.

financialwizard Sun 12-Jan-14 10:57:39

I use feel good lenses for my contact lenses and they are £45 for the year unlessyouareacompleteidiotandsendthemtoyouroldaddress

Our income is very similar to yours. Things you may have missed:

Clothes
Presents
Car repairs/MOT/Service
Life insurance
Toiletries

Our food budget (including nappies for one toddler) is £55p/w in Aldi.

We budget £200 'blow' money for the month.

The things that crop up over the year we add up and divide by 12 then stick that amount in easy-access savings each month so when we do the car MOT etc we already have the money there and don't have to put it on a credit card and take it out of next month's money, if that makes sense.

How long do you have on the DMP? I think it'll be tight but doable while that's going and then much better once it's gone. Do you have the option to do overpayments? Have a look on the MoneySavingExpert site and read about debt snowballs. The sooner the debt is gone the better.

Clothes, car stuff and what not will come out of savings. Presents I will put a little aside e/w and buy in bulk. I pay 10 for a dry cut every 2-3 months (I have long hair) and colour and blow dry at home. Colour about 5 so all in for me its 15 every 2-3 months (weekly 'spares'). Dh costs 4 (!) and the dts 4 but only for one the other almost bald still grin. Toiletries also in £100 budget

I already have saved a good amount so not starting from scratch with just plan on saving as much as poss I realise that could come from leftover food budget and when there are more weeks to the month etc.

Regarding opticians, how much do specsavers cost for an eye test?

capsium Sun 12-Jan-14 12:20:56

You could question whether you need contacts. If they are just for occasions you could ration yourself and use dailies. Internet opticians are great for cheap glasses.

How much do you use your phone? A pay as you go can be very cheap if you hardly use it (£10 lasts me about a year - uncommunicative grin ) or you can modify your usage. I would always email from home - no extra cost.

Pound shops / Savers often have brand name shampoos etc, sometimes hair dyes.

You might not want to make these particular cuts but they are an option.

capsium yeah I won't be ditching the contacts grin. I wear them more than my glasses <vain>. But I will certainly look at cheaper options.

Pound shops are good though I do find sometimes can get even cheaper just by buying the economy stuff in supermarkets <not so vain when it comes to personal hygeine!>.

I spend about 10 p.m on pay as you go so am just looking at cheaper tarrifs etc. The Tesco triple credit is good as am forever unable to text/phone until pay day!!

I sound a bit rightoys and trying to justify myself in the last few posts. Im not sorry and appreciate the advise its just some I already do iykwim.

I AM sorry!!!!

New plan after reading lucylasticband post bit more carefully. £90 for food. £10 p/w into present fund. If this starts becoming too much (Im a meanie and dont buy that many presents I do need to keep for Christmas though) it will also become clothes/shoe fund. Does that seem better do you think? Savings in account then for everything else inc car things

LucyLasticBand Sun 12-Jan-14 13:02:38

i am the last person to give advice, but i did fill out a DMP but havent fulfiled it, yet, can you check out your spendings via your DMP or money saving expert, just as reminders to what you actually spend.

LucyLasticBand Sun 12-Jan-14 13:03:32

i had to buy printer ink, now that is an unexpected expense, to me anyway, £20, and I initially brought the wrong one! so that was £40 unexpected!

I don't have a printer! (I 'utilise' family for this they love me for it!). I hope to increase the dmp at some point (after living on the budget for a while) but definitely do not want to decrease it as want it paid. Atm we have 4 years on it left so Im just accepting of that and include it in my outgoings whilst trying not to cry at my previous mistakes and counting down the time left. This is actually the first time ever I have sat down and done a 'proper' monthly budget, I don't think even the dmp one was accurate. All my other budgets have been weekly!

Im a huge fan of mse and the money show even though a lot of it is blindingly obvious I think it's very motivational in taking those steps. I can imagine Martin Lewis yelling at me now "you've made a budget NOW STICK TO IT" (He always loks a tad on the edge though...)

How much savings do you have? Depending on the figures and given interest rates I'd be very tempted to take all of it apart from a couple of grand and put it on the debt. You will save so much more than you could earn in interest by doing that.

because of the amp a lot of the interest is frozen thankfully. If I could save a good amount more I would pay back some debt by increasing monthly payment (creditors frown upon you making one off extra payments as they then assume you can always do it and may make things harder for you). As we can't have credit card, overdraft or any borrowing I do like to have a really good amount in savings for all the unexpected things. If my car broke down and cost 400 I wouldn't be able to borrow from anywhere. Savings help me sleep at night grin. Dts DONT.

Fair enough-sounds sensible!

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