I have massively fucked up our finances

(224 Posts)
Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 11:57:06

I've just been scooting along with my eyes shut for ages. I bit the bullet and sat down with DH to go through stuff a couple of months back and we were 14k into the credit cards, and paying interest.

We have a 13k bank loan which we took out to clear the last lot of credit card debt, there are still three years on that.

I also have a car loan that was around 14k, I think that's down to 12.5k now, 4.5 years to go. I am looking into selling the car back to the garage next month and buying a cheaper, smaller car (needed a 7 seater for work but don't anymore).

We then took out a new 0% cc and shifted stuff around, so we're not paying any interest now, but having totted up all the balances today we are now £16k into the cards. I know some of that is fees, but it's also that we've managed to piss £800 away over our budget in the last two months, and we have paid the balance of our holiday (£700).

It's completely unsustainable. About 6k of the debt was court fees, and 5k was our kitchen overspend. The rest is just spending.

Help me. Please give me all your best advice and tips. I seem to just be failing miserably at this. We have over 4k a month coming in and I don't understand how we overspend every single month, it's nuts.

Dededum Sun 07-Jul-13 12:03:22

Go through direct debits and reduce / remove except necessities
Sell car and get a cheaper model
Get ebaying - we are in the process of clearing out our garage, have made 2k already. Its also very therapeutic.
You both need to be working on the same side, get obsessive about budgeting. There are loads of great website resources, online budgeting tools, forum (motley fool, martin lewis website).
Breathe you can do this!

cazboldy Sun 07-Jul-13 12:05:20

cut up the credit cards!

cazboldy Sun 07-Jul-13 12:06:04

also, holiday, kitchen......... not neccessities

FannyFifer Sun 07-Jul-13 12:08:29

Last thing u should have done is book a holiday wtf.

Cut credit cards up.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:14:47

We booked the holiday six months ago, the court stuff happened after that and that's what's tipped us into scary territory. I could deal with it, in my head, when it was less than 10k owed on the cards.

We've already gone through and cancelled some stuff, Lovefilm, wine subscription (I know!) etc.

There's an oven in the garage I'm going to clean up and ebay, should get £200 for that. DH is doing overtime (£250 a day..), I'm earning abit more over the summer than usual, although I'm also in the process of looking for a new job and we'll probably take a small financial hit in the process.

We can afford to pay back the debt, I just need to get in the mindset of not spending anything other than essentials until it's cleared. I was nearly sick when I realised we'd spent £400 over budget this month, I thought we'd done ok.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:17:12

The kitchen was a necessity, actually, the previous kitchen was installed in 1960 and was literally falling to pieces. We had 5k to do it but it cost twice that.

<excuses, excuses>

TheCrackFox Sun 07-Jul-13 12:17:37

Cut up the credit cards - today.

Realistically you need to up your income. Do you have a spare room you can rent out? Look for better paid jobs. If you are a SAHM become a childminder. Take in ironing, walk dogs, house sitting anything.

You need to go through your entire expenditure and cut out all the fat - sky tv, expensive mobiles, a cleaner, gym memberships are all fripperies.

Meal plan to within an inch of your life.

TheCrackFox Sun 07-Jul-13 12:19:49

Set yourself a challenge of buying no new stuff for a year.

I did this when we wanted a new kitchen. It is actually scary how much money can be fritter on unnecessary crap.

Stop using cards, even debit cards. Use cash.

Sit down and work out what you NEED each week, for food shopping (do you meal plan?) getting to and from work etc, lift that IN CASH on a specified day of the week. Thats all you are allowed.

Work out any planned expenses in advance. No going shopping/out for dinner/to the cinema on a whim.

Basically you need to be obsessive with money and stop spending absentmindedly.

RedPencils Sun 07-Jul-13 12:20:37

Do you know what you spent the extra £400 on?

Bluecarrot Sun 07-Jul-13 12:21:00

Make a plan /goal. What can you realistically pay off by the end if this year? Then add 20% and push yourself hard to hit the target.

Moneysavingexpert debt free wannabe forum looks amazing ( I'm not in debt but I use them to give me ideas on saving money)

An income of £4k per month doesnt need to be upped. Spending needs to be cut.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 12:22:52

What is your mortgage?
With 4K a month coming in you should be able to pay off the bulk of this new debt within six months, depending on what your necessities are (car loan, mortgage, utilities). Certainly you should aim for it. You should allocate 100 pounds a week discretionary spending between you. Put the rest away. It sounds like a lot of pain but it will only be for six month. You'll then have Christmas, then you have to have another horrible six months. But by next summer you could be very well clear. You just have to put a very short deadline on it otherwise it will overwhelm you and you will never, ever pay it off. A five year car loan is a joke unless on 0pc.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:23:37

I am a Childminder!

I'm changing jobs and so long as I can get a job with a good enough wage we will be better off, and our food and energy bills will halve.

I am not doing a weekly shop this week and will run the cupboards down, that's about £120 saved. I already meal plan and we waste very little food, but there is room for more budgetting there.

The extra £400 wnet on top up trips to Tesco, the odd bottle of wine, trip to MacDs, train fare for a day out. Over the month all those extra £10 and £20 trips added up. Sickening, really, but I can solve it by not doing those things.

It is the absent minded spending that fucks me up every month. I'm going to start using cash only, that's a really good idea.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 12:23:53

And don't go out and buy a nice new lot of stationary for re-organising your finances for the big austerity push.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 12:24:43

What are your non negotiables? Mortgage etc?

GiveMumABreak Sun 07-Jul-13 12:28:07

Was 5k on a kitchen necessary when u already had 13k loan out and 12k car loan? Holiday also a be necessity at this time?

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:28:48

Mortgage is 1k.
Council tax £160
Gas/E;lectric £140
Water £40
Insurances £150
Car Insurance £60
Tv/internet £70
Phones £40
Car loan £250
Bank loan £250


There is NO NEED for us to be so ridiculously in debt.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 12:30:20

Plus you need to realise McDonalds is not cheap.

Running down the cupboards this week and selling an old oven - sorry but you need a plan not random stuff like this. Sounds to me like you need to change your entire outlook on money.

MortifiedAdams Sun 07-Jul-13 12:30:27

So we have you necessary outgoings - what is your total income after tax etc?

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:30:59

The kitchen predated the car.

The car was a bit of a mental purchase, but I needed a decent reliable car to replace the shed on wheels I was driving for work, and this was before we had to go to court to sort out stuff with my DC, which ended up costing 6k.

And on paper, we could afford it.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:31:31


There was a survey on the Motley Fool which found that 85% of people who took out a consolidation loan ran up their cards again.

There is a good Statement of affairs calculator on there to work out where you are going wrong. For example, Christmas spending / other gifts / travel can really add up.

Just to put it into perspective for you, your leftover income is what we live on a month, for rent, food, everything, and we have savings and are paying for a wedding next year. Me, DP 4 yo and 8 month old.

Not trying to be shitty at all, just pointing out that if you really reign in your spending you can get debt free in a decent timeframe.

specialsubject Sun 07-Jul-13 12:34:48

good news is you have good earning power so you should be able to sort things out.

bad news, in the nicest possible way, is that you are horrendously extravagant! Not to worry, with earning power like that and an evident work ethic you can sort it.

obvious ones:
cancel Sky, all subscriptions, newspapers etc. TV comes through the aerial on freeview, buy a recorder box for £100 or so for that time at 9pm when all the good stuff is on.
no new stuff. Books from the library. No magazines. No clutter. No new stuff full stop. No cinema trips. Days out on foot or THINK about costs.

sell off the clutter.

can you end that car loan early? Decent cars can be had for £2k or son.
shop around for all your insurances.

stop buying clothes for adults until you actually run out. Most people in the UK will die of old age first.

phones; do you need mobile internet? If not, go for a £10 pay as you go simple phone and a cheap tariff. a tenner lasts me several months.

MortifiedAdams Sun 07-Jul-13 12:35:17

So the amount of 'spendable' money each month is £2040 so totally and utterly fixable.

It equates to £470 per week spare.

Start shopping at Aldi - £60pw
Each take out £50 per week for 'pocket money' - £100pw
Petrol (which incidentally you haven't put down as essential, I would!) - £60pw

That leaves £250 per week to pay off your debts - £13,000 in one year.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:36:04

I know, Wannabe. I think that's half my problem, in my head we are comfortably off and so I just spend without really thinking about it.

I'm a dick.

You definitely need to get things under control. Cut up your credit cards. Right now. Ditto store cards. Ditto anything that makes you think you have money to spend frivolously.

Firstly sit and list down your absolute total income (after tax).
Then list your essential outgoings. Write down everything you spend money on. Keep all your receipts, and check those to what you've listed as spent.
If you have savings, hard as it is, use them to reduce your debt.

With regard to your spending: once you know what your outgoings are meant to be, set a food/emergency contingency weekly budget.
Withdraw this amount weekly. Do NOT spend beyond it. If you are under/within it, put aside the excess. Even if it is a few pennies.

I went from earning £50k p/a to earning £0 when I quit my job to return to studying. When I was earning, I thought nothing of buying a £2.50 coffee at least six times a week, lunch from M&S, Pret etc. at £5 a go, and swanning into Space NK for a £20 treat.

Now, we have a monthly income of £600 out of which we pay mortgage, bills, buy food and clothes. I've got much more savvy about what I will and won't spend money on. I home-make some of my 'beauty treats', and get lots from ebay/charity shops. We often do a supermarket shop late in the evening, when they're reducing things like bread, veg and yogurts. All of which can be shoved in the freezer and taken out to use over the next week or so.

HandMini Sun 07-Jul-13 12:36:57

Skint, you've done the maths yourself.

4k comes in each month

Approximately 2k goes out each month in essentials.

So you have 2k a month to pay down your debts. I would be ploughing as much of that 2k as possible into repayments. No McDonalds, no trips, no new clothes.

Actually, thats more than our monthly income.

I agree with whoever said that you need to change your whole outlook. Its very very easy to get into the way of spending, and when there is a good sum coming in its easy to justify. Time to be more frugal and honest with yourself.

AnythingNotEverything Sun 07-Jul-13 12:39:25

I'm sure this is going to sound really mean, but just stop spending!

If you get all you debt in one place, lowest interest rate possible, and pay off as much as you can every month, then you could be clear of it soon.

Cancel all unnecessary direct debits - gym, love film, sky, etc etc.

Take your necessary spending out of your budget (this is mortgage/rent, house insurance etc) and spend as little of the rest as possible. No meals out, no cinema, no new cushions etc.

Depending on your necessary outgoings, you should be able to cut your outgoings right back, focus on getting debt free. It'll be hard, but worth it when you get there!

LineRunner Sun 07-Jul-13 12:39:55

I think you going to have to set yourselves a budget for food and groceries, and stick to it obsessively.

When I first got myself into the habit of doing this, I got the actual cash out at the start of the week, put it in a jar, and when it was gone it was gone.

When you get into the mind set, it's easier to get rid of the cards and to start cutting down on fuel bills etc, because you've 'bought into' it all.

Best of luck. Facing up to it must be hard. But it's good that you are.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:40:34

Thank you, all of you.

I'm taking this all on board. I've spreadsheeted all of our income/outgoings and credit card payments. It's totally manageable so long as I can curb the spending, so that's what we'll do.

No non essentials, and maybe a £50 fun budget for taking the kids out etc.

JuliaScurr Sun 07-Jul-13 12:42:52

can you extend the mortgage to include the loans then increase the repayments by direct debits/standing order?

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:44:22

I've put 12k on one 0% card and set up a dd for £250pm, so that's 2 years until it's paid.

The rest is on another couple of 0% cards and I'll pay those off as soon as possible. If I can keep our monthly spend down to below £1k (which it should be ffs!) for food, petrol etc, then we are laughing.

It's really helping to just get other people's perspective on this, so thank you all.


Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 12:44:55

You should set up a standing order now for an 1500 to pay off the debts. within Nine months your debt is paid.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:46:53

The mortgage is fixed for another 2 years, so it would cost us to extend it, I think?

We actually have an endowment maturing in 2 years (60k) but we want to use that to move house (there are 5 of us in a small three bed semi), so I want to get all this paid off before then.

LineRunner Sun 07-Jul-13 12:47:57

£12k over 2 years would require monthly payments of £500 to pay off, wouldn't it?

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:48:00

I just need to not be a dick about spending, really.

tribpot Sun 07-Jul-13 12:48:18

And on paper, we could afford it.

The trouble is, this almost certainly wasn't true at the time - you just have a certain threshold of acceptable debt (which we all do) and it seemed to roughly fit within that. 'Under 10 grand' seems to be what you're comfortable with - I understand why, with your level of income, but you now need to challenge that mindset.

Unless you were completely ripped off on your car loan you should have paid off more than you think - worth getting an up-to-date statement as you need to take a very cold, hard look at all your debt and particularly in the approach to money that got you here. TravelinColour is right, most people who consolidate debt end up taking on more.

I would definitely get over to the Dealing With Debt board and do a full Statement of Affairs.

Don't forget as well about the inevitable irregular/non-monthly expenditure. Often they can drive a coach and horses through a tight monthly budget with no give in it. And then it seems like it's not worth budgeting at all. I use a budgeting / accounts application called You Need A Budget. The site is well worth a look even if you don't decide to go with the app, I think you would get a lot out of understanding the method.

If your DH is more thrifty, you might want to put him in charge of the finances. If he isn't - well, don't feel like you got yourself here all on your own. You probably both need to sit down and think hard about your attitude to money.

Well done on facing up to the problem, that's the hardest bit. You can turn this around with a bit of discipline.

KinkyDorito Sun 07-Jul-13 12:48:27

Stop putting yourself down. It has happened, you have realised and now you are in the frame of mind to deal with it.

I am similar to you and we are dealing with it. As you and others have identified, it's a matter of stopping the frittering. Part of mine is psychological - I have depression and a tough few years within the family led to me cultivating a 'sod-it' mentality where spending was concerned. The other issue is having the stacks of available credit so you can get into the habit of a few treats on top each month. Do cut the cards.

The absolute best place to start is putting an honest SOA on Moneysavingexpert on the Debt Free Wannabe board and go from there. It goes from being this huge grind to a satisfying challenge and the boards on there are very helpful.

We will sort this out! I am sick of living in piles of crap without any money to do what I really, really want. So, life overhaul. I know it is my fault we are in the situation, but I am absolutely prepared to work hard to change it too.

Good luck. We also have the frugaleers thread on here too, do join!

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:49:03

duh, of course 4 years, my brain is not engaged today, clearly blush

(you can see where it goes so wrong now, can't you....)

KinkyDorito Sun 07-Jul-13 12:49:29

Thanks for all your links tribpot. I will check them out too. thanks

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 12:50:59

Thank you! Will check out all those links.

My 'sod it' mentality comes from years of poverty in the past. I used to be really frugal and careful, and when we started earning lots it was like I flicked a switch in my brain to 'spend'.

Bluecarrot Sun 07-Jul-13 12:51:35

Try only using cash - not credit or debit cards. Look up Dave Ramsey on YouTube for his step program which includes a cash based envelope system. You don't need to watch the videos, just listen while you sort out stuff to sell! It's not a unique idea to him but he has some quotes that gave me a push in the right direction to save more of our income.

The summer will be hard as you have the kids to entertain so plan ahead for cheap DIY fun. Painting, free museums and local events, park/beach with picnic etc.

Look for kids club at the cinema. Our local is £1 per child and 1 accompanying adult goes free. Or rent a DVD and make a big fuss over it- kids design posters for the "cinema".make popcorn etc.

DO NOT totally deprive yourselves or else you risk binge spending but looking for ways to do things cheaper - like movie at home instead of cinema, baking a basic cake together instead of going to the coffee shop for a treat etc.

Also, make sure you are claiming everything back on your tax return from childminding- % of water, elec etc. 10% wear and tear etc.

Consider some meals like these a few times a week:


LineRunner Sun 07-Jul-13 12:51:52

Easily done!

Anifrangapani Sun 07-Jul-13 12:52:53

£400 is over our total monthly food budget. There must be room for savings in your top ups. It isn't just what food you are throwing away it is the types of food you buy.

If you buy ready meals start cooking meals from scratch
Use in season foods
Use cheaper cuts of meat
Not for everyone but when fruit and vege are in seaon then make chutneys and jams. We have jars of onion marmalade, saville marmalde, marinaded olives, oven dried tomatoes, mango chutney, piccalilli, red currant jam, gooseberry jam, apple puree lemon cordial. All things that are really easy to make but are expensive to buy. Mangos are just coming into season - £10 for four trays in Rusholme on friday. That is enough for about 20 - 30 jars.

holidaysarenice Sun 07-Jul-13 12:53:50

Get a notebook and write every penny you both spend down throughout the month.

Also remove the savings from your salary the minute they come in. Then they can't be touched. Have only the remaining salary in ur current account so you can see it going down throughout the month.

Do not use those credit cards.

Put all his overtime money straight to paying off the highest interest bill. Not into the pot first.

Anifrangapani Sun 07-Jul-13 12:56:25

Forgot to add we were in a similar position a few years back. By next may it will all be paid off.

As was said by someone else don't not do things just find a cheaper way to do it.

DP has only been working again a few months, and it is so tempting to spend money "to make up for all the times we couldnt" so I can see why this has happened. Dont be hard on yourself and dont be too restrictive.

Take picnics along on days out instead of buying food out, meal plan and try to make cheaper meals, have one night a week where you have some treats, but try to keep costs down on the others.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 07-Jul-13 13:58:40

Money is like intelligence, you always have less than you think you have wink

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 14:02:52

"set up a dd for £250pm, so that's 2 years until it's paid. The rest is on another couple of 0% cards and I'll pay those off as soon as possible. If I can keep our monthly spend down to below £1k (which it should be ffs!) for food, petrol etc, then we are laughing."

I don't think you're ambitious enough - you are kicking the can down the road. You won't make a dent in this for a long time. You'll be only about 3K down by Christmas and then Christmas will set you back 1K and the January will be a catch up so by Feb you'll have barely made an impact.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 14:20:39

No, what I mean is we'll pay the £250 as a minimum and try to save £1k a month to add to it.

Dackyduddles Sun 07-Jul-13 14:24:16

Keep a diary. Write every purchase. I mean every purchase, inc 20 p ones.

If u have to write it down you see very quickly what your doing.

MinimalistMommi Sun 07-Jul-13 14:33:48

TV/Internet= £70
Surely that can be cut?

MinimalistMommi Sun 07-Jul-13 14:34:07

Well, reduced right down.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 07-Jul-13 14:39:24

If you ring up to cancel the tv/Internet package they usually offer you a good discount to stay with them.

You might be in credit with the electric/gas and you are entitled to a refund, don't take any bollocks about overpaying now for winter, it's your money.

RandomMess Sun 07-Jul-13 14:42:11

The other thing to learn from that is if you want to move house in the future then presumably your mortgage will go up and you'll have moving costs so even after the debt is paid off you will have less disposable income after bills then anyway so get used to it now IYSIM.

Bluecarrot Sun 07-Jul-13 14:47:51

Hang on, just to clarify

Debt = £42.5k?

12.5k car loan
16k on cards
14k on bank loan

Your take home is £4200 after you stopped work, but not inc DPs overtime at £250 a day?! or week?

Your outgoings are

Mortgage is 1k.
Council tax £160 *is this over 10 months or 12?*
Gas/E;lectric £140
Water £40
Insurances £150
Car Insurance £60 *is this def not inc in the insurances listed above?*
Tv/internet £70 * freeview for a year or two @ £100 for a box*
Phones £40 * check billmonitor and see if this can be reduced*


Food - ?
Petrol - ?
Hair dressers?
School money?

Whats the minimum car payment and its interest rate? How much are you paying each month solely on interest charges?
Whats the minimum bank loan payment its interest rate? How much are you paying each month solely on interest charges?
Whats the minimum cc payment on your 0% card and when does it run out?

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 14:49:02

Skint I'm going to be harsh - unless you put it on the standing order it will slide. And unless you make a big dent in this quite quickly you'll lose heart and go back into Oh Sod It mode.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 07-Jul-13 15:02:34

When you apply for a mortgage now they go through all your finances with a fine tooth comb. We've just done it.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 15:04:28

Posting from the garden so excuse any stupid mistakes.

Dh brings home 2400 Excluding any overtime which is 250 gross per day but not always available.

I bring home about 1800 including child benefit. I work but am trying to change career at the moment.

Insurances are house, life and redundancy.150. Car insurance for both cars is 60

Food is about 600,petrol about 100.

Car loan is 249, about 6pc

Bank loan is 230,again about 6pc

All credit cards are now 0pc for 2yrs.

Bluecarrot Sun 07-Jul-13 15:07:43

Also OP, what motivates you? and your DP?

I have a chart on my wall that tracks income ,spending and savings. I like filling it in daily as things change...except the spending section ;) It motivates me. (I also have spreadsheets etc...but its a bit ott for most folk!)

I also made pretty fabric pouches that hold my "envelopes" - clear pencil cases. It was a small outlay of £3 but I like using them. Paper envelopes fall apart too easy.

MinimalistMommi Sun 07-Jul-13 15:09:15

Get a pay as you go mobile phones and only use in emergency? It's tough to get out of phone contracts though I know.

Bluecarrot Sun 07-Jul-13 15:09:24

One more question - what age are your kids? Will you have childcare costs when you go back to work outside of the home?

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 15:10:17

You can save 1500 a month. If you want to make a serious dent in this you should have that as a minimum and save 120 a month for Christmas.

MinimalistMommi Sun 07-Jul-13 15:10:43

Skint is that £1,800 per month from childminding?

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 15:12:11

Yes, we will. We will be about 800pm worse off, depending on what I can earn. But the long term benefits are worth it.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 15:13:05

1600 from childminding, 200 child benefit.

MinimalistMommi Sun 07-Jul-13 15:18:09

How many children do you mind a day?

Justfornowitwilldo Sun 07-Jul-13 15:19:25

Get real. That's not an insult, it's advice. What money comes in each month? Your outgoings need to be well under that. You should be saving money/paying off debt every month. Healthy finances come from living well within your means. You are consistently living beyond yours.

The fact that you've already had a consolidation loan and you've run up huge credit card debts again says that you can't have credit cards. Full stop. You don't have enough self control.

It's not complicated. Money comes in, money goes out. Stop spending money you don't have.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 15:21:05


I have seven children on my books, but obviously not all at the same time. I work 7am to 6pm four days a week, plus evening and weekend paperwork, courses and training. The impact on my own dc and DH and frankly my own sanity is becoming untenable, hence the careerchange.

Bluecarrot Sun 07-Jul-13 15:22:11

Justfornow - she is facing it all now, and stopping the debts from accumulating higher. She is asking for advice and will hopefully take it. I think its a very positive step smile

Bluecarrot Sun 07-Jul-13 15:24:03

How long have you been childminding for? That £800pm will significantly reduce the amount of time you are in debt and therefore the amount of interest you will have to pay.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 15:27:52

Five years. It's not just about the money though, we have to do what's best for our family.

If I stop spending like a moron then we can swallow the loss AND pay the debt off quickly. I just need to take control.

Ruprekt Sun 07-Jul-13 15:29:09

Cut back on food.

Jacket potatoes and beans

Omelette and salad

Fishfingers and mash

Veggie soup and hm bread

Roast chicken with veg

Chicken risotto

Dhal with rice

Cheap fruit and veg....basics is fine.

No wine. No treats for first week. Just basics.

Packed lunches:

Ham sandwich
Homemade cake
Orange squash

Keep it simple and they won't notice. smile

paintyourbox Sun 07-Jul-13 15:29:31

£600 per month seems a lot for food- how many of you are there? Have you considered batch cooking? Switching to cheaper cuts of meat? Switch to aldi too- that knocked £100 a month off our food bill (which was already pretty good as we meal plan and make lists)

You need to write down every little thing you are spending. Do it for a month and I swear you will be amazed where you are spending recklessly. We were spending a fortune on "treats" from the local co-op on an evening.

Next, you need to figure out which debt has the highest interest. If the cards are all 0% can you just pay the minimum and then throw all your spare cash at the higher interest debts. This will cut the length of time you have them for and also save £££ in interest.

IsItMeOr Sun 07-Jul-13 15:32:26

Well done on facing up to this, and loads of fab advice here.

I just wonder if now is the time to career change, or if you really need that £800pcm until you've got your debts cleared?

I guess it's a balance between whether your spending is linked with compensating for the current work you're doing?

Basically, every month you can stick with childminding should be an extra £800 off your debt - that certainly bears some serious thinking about.

Cindy34 Sun 07-Jul-13 15:32:50

Create budgets, monthly, weekly. Get used to saving up for things you want to buy, avoid impulse buys.

I will go against the grain and say to avoid cash. If you pay using credit card or debit card you are far more likely to get a receipt. Every week go through those receipts and allocate them against the budget, so you know what you have really spent on things.
If using cash, write the purchase down. Get used to documenting every purchase, just as you would have done when childminding.

Set your self goals. At first start with a goal that you can achieve quickly, say in a week, then set a new goal a bit harder and continue like that. Human brain likes to feel rewarded for achievements. Keep rewards low cost but something you all like - so a trip out perhaps, a meal out, a takeaway to have at home. A on-demand movie rental.

Step1 I feel is to know exactly what you are spending money on, so get a notebook and record all purchases and keep all receipts. Create a budget and stick to it.

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 15:48:43

All my cm contracts are ending at the end of term and there's no guarantee I would be earning the same with new contracts anyway.

And yes, a lot of the spends are associated with cming, I'm at home all day or out with the little ones, it's easy to rack up silly spends. And the 600 food bill includes food for the mindees, lunch, dinner and snacks.

I write lots of this off as expenses for tax, which makes my actual income more like 10k pa, but I'm still spending it if you see what I mean, and I find it makes more sense to count it all as income.

Ruprekt Sun 07-Jul-13 16:04:38

Have a box of snacks in the car for days out.

Take cold water every day.

No need to buy stuff.

scripsi Sun 07-Jul-13 16:16:28

You are doing brilliantly to face up to this as that is always hard to do!

You need to stop the days out, eating out (even the MacDonalds) and perhaps also consider cancelling your holiday if that doesn't leave you too out of pocket. Could you sell the car and get the money back on that? You also need to take your own food and drink out with you (I do this and it has made a huge difference) and also try to eat meat/fish infrequently as a treat.

The suggestion that others have made about cutting back on all subscriptions, tv packages etc also made a difference to us.

RandomMess Sun 07-Jul-13 16:30:37

It may be worth looking at The Utilities Warehouse to see if they can provide you with cheaper gas, electic, mobileV and home phone package. GEnuine company and will help pay you out of existing contracts if you switch. No hard sell if they're not cheaper and which recommended for the last 6 years (no I don't work for them!)


There's some excellent advice here skint.

We both have the same problem. The payslip says we are well off so we spend like we are.

I need to get it into my head that i'm poor until the debts are gone no matter how much money is actually coming in.

You need to set up a spreadsheet that tracks all your fixed outgoings, including the bank loans, and you need to split up the rest of your money - make a budget for everything - we do this, and have separate budgets for food, petrol, dh's and my allowances and the boys' pocket money, dinner money, pet costs, clothes, and family fun (essentially discretionary spend). All standing orders and direct debits are tracked month by month.

The spreadsheet dh has set up also forecasts forward for 12 months, and he updates and adjusts that monthly - and this forward planning lets him put in estimated costs for things like the cars' services and MOTs, and budget those in - of course we can still get a nasty surprise when the cars are services, but even so, a portion of the cost has already been factored in, so we aren't having to find the full amount of an unexpectedly big bill.

Set an amount for each of the variable budgets and stick to it - we've had to do this as we need to find upwards of £9K a year for 6 years (rising to 11K a year by the end) starting last year, for university maintenance.

You ought to be able to find money each month, over and above the minimum repayments, to pay off the credit cards as these are the most expensive credit you have.

It might also be worth selling the new car, paying off a chunk of that loan, and buying something older - we are currently running 2 estate cars that are 15 and 16 years old, but were good quality models that have been (and still are) dealer maintained so have good running costs, and neither cost us over £2k.

IsItMeOr Sun 07-Jul-13 19:21:46

Ah, I see why it makes sense to change career at this point. Good luck finding a suitable other job - I know it can be tough finding something right now.

Also, I do appreciate that childminding is certainly not an easy job!

Xenia Sun 07-Jul-13 20:23:54

At least you are taking charge of it now. If I can drive a £1k car anyone can. Also no need for holidays if you can't afford them. Make sure the new car you buy does not cost more than £1k. Use all the proceeds of the one you sell back to the garage to pay off the £16k of debt. Look at whether a remortgage of the house (if you have your own house) would be cheaper than the credit card debt. No more house extensions/new kitchens etc.

frissonpink Sun 07-Jul-13 20:39:03

Wow, you can't live on £2k a month !? (after bills etc)

We live just on £1200 a month. That's two of us with a baby. There is nothing left over for anything really. That's £1200 for all the bills - the mortgage alone is £600. We've had to cut the food down to £50 a week, and that includes nappies etc for the baby.

If we had £2k a month spare, I'd save £1500 of it a month and still be having a whale of a time grin

Great thread though - picked up a few ideas to help us save even more pennies so thanks everyone!

Skintorama Sun 07-Jul-13 20:41:12

I know, it's embarrassing and I feel completely shit about it.

It all changes from now.

frissonpink Sun 07-Jul-13 20:44:56

Good for you grin Seriously, you could give yourself £500 a month to have 'fun' with and honestly, still have fun.

Get those debts cleared off. Think how fab you'll feel then. AND rich! You'll then have money to play with properly grin

Anyway. I'm a big believer if you have it, you should enjoy it. So hurry up, you can clear those debts pretty quickly imo with such a large income. Then you can go back to enjoying things within your means!

Were you trying to keep up with the Jones?! grin

Kasbaah Sun 07-Jul-13 21:05:19

Think positive-there are worse problems to have but at least you are tackling yours. Good luck!

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 21:22:39

Couldn't agree more about the car. But I suppose you're tied into a deal where all you can do is upgrade or downgrade? I would just lose it and buy a 2nd zafira if you still need seven seats, you can get one for about 2500 i think.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 07-Jul-13 21:23:27

I must admit i would reiterate my advice to make a massive effort to make a big dent in it quickly. You will feel so great and it will give you momentum to keep going.

BellaVita Sun 07-Jul-13 21:30:52

Well done you for facing up to this.

I totally know where you are coming from re getting carried away on the spending, tis easy done.

I am finding that our food bill has shot up by loads. Two teenage boys who eat shed loads and one of them finished school on the 10th May, just going in for revision and exams. My food bills are topping £150/170 a week and I am shock, but DS1 constantly has his head in the fridge.

We have just changed our mortgage over to capital and repayment and we will have paid it off in 12 years, actually less than that because we are overpaying, but it does feel good to know we will be getting rid of it.

BellaVita Sun 07-Jul-13 21:32:02

Don't forget you can always come and chat....

SimLondon Sun 07-Jul-13 22:17:48

Budgeting is key - but it's hard. I used to have a print-off from whatsthecost snowball calculator showing each debts monthly repayment until dfd and i put a line through every month after paying that month.

I also used to budget for possible expenditure eg haircuts/clothes/car running costs/ unexpected and weekly pin money spends - the last i used to withdraw in cash once a month and split into 4 or 5 little money bags.

Quodlibet Sun 07-Jul-13 22:33:40

Are you calculating your income as your net ie post-tax income? Or are you basing your spending on what comes in every month - which is a very different thing.

I find it staggering that you could budget £5k for a kitchen refit and then overspend by £5k - making your kitchen refit equivalent to what you have just said is your net annual income (£10k). Or did I misunderstand that?

Quodlibet Sun 07-Jul-13 22:41:22

Sorry that isn't very helpful.

I suppose what I mean is perhaps an over-inflated sense of what you are both earning is contributing, as well as a lack of awareness around your spending?

SomewhereBeyondTheSea Sun 07-Jul-13 22:54:22

It sounds as though the boundaries between your work and personal finances are blurred. Understandable in a business like childminding. But I think you need to conduct a thorough reappraisal of your business costs and then adjust accordingly. It sounds as though you're basically subsiding the childminding work.

GinOnTwoWheels Mon 08-Jul-13 06:10:27

OP have a look at this thread for lots of moneysaving ideas in addition to those given here.

Good luck!

Skintorama Mon 08-Jul-13 06:52:11

I earn around 1600 every month, and out of this I pay for all the costs associated with childminding, food trips out etc. When I do my tax return I deduct all of these, plus wear and tear, heating, council tax (all proportionally) and it brings my taxable income down to under 10k. I suppose it would make more business sense to talk about my income as net but it seems a bit false, as most of the cm expenses are expenses I'd have anyway if I was at home with ds2.

Dhs income is 2400 net.

Skintorama Mon 08-Jul-13 06:56:57

I earn around 1600 every month, and out of this I pay for all the costs associated with childminding, food trips out etc. When I do my tax return I deduct all of these, plus wear and tear, heating, council tax (all proportionally) and it brings my taxable income down to under 10k. I suppose it would make more business sense to talk about my income as net but it seems a bit false, as most of the cm expenses are expenses I'd have anyway if I was at home with ds2.

Dhs income is 2400 net.

Skintorama Mon 08-Jul-13 06:57:17

Uh stupid phone, sorry.

nkf Mon 08-Jul-13 07:03:01

Ignore all the lectures about what you shouldn't have bought. Start from now.

Write down everything you spend on a daily basis and then use it to create a monthly spreadsheet of expenditure. Cut back where you can. Moneysaving expert has a budget planner which is good.

List the debts and create a plan for paying them back. Google the snowball debt method. That has suggestions.

Don't debt again. Ever. Not even once.

You will be free sooner than you think.

Good luck.

Skintorama Mon 08-Jul-13 07:17:17

Oh, and the kitchen wasn't really an overspend, I inherited 5k when my Grandad died and we decided to use it for the kitchen. When we looked into it and got quotes and did research, 10k was the realistic fugure we arrived at, that's what we budgeted for (there was some building work involved as well) and that's what we spent. It went on a 0% card and we shoudl have paid it off by now but see above for my general twattery.

Skintorama Mon 08-Jul-13 07:17:39


Skintorama Mon 08-Jul-13 07:56:04

There is actually loads of room to trim the shopping budget. Things like, I use a whole pack of eight chicken breasts for one meal for seven people. That is ridiculous. I'm going to halve that and they can have more rice, potato, pasta or whatever.

Ditto all the meat, actually, I'm making sausage pasta for tea and I'm going to halve the amount of sausages, I doubt anyone will even notice.

I reckon I can HALVE the food costs without anyone even feeling it.

I'm going to start leaving my purse at home and only taking money for parking and entry fees when we go out, so no quick trips to the shop for a snack or drink, I'll take stuff out with us.

No wine....(this is an easy way of saving loads, actually blush)

We are going on holiday at the end of the month but it's self catering and we can actually use the kitchen and supermarket instead of eating out every day, and there's no need to pay for any activities (we dont' usually to be fair) so it needn't cost us much more than a week at home, although it will cost a fair bit in diesel to get there. Too late to cancel without losing all our money though.

The rest is just saying no to the frittery spends. I know we can live on less than £500pm for food/petrol/spends because we've done it before. I just need to retrain my brain.

Preciousbane Mon 08-Jul-13 09:30:08

I think it is very brave to admit you need a mind set change, I was a bit aghast at your situation but as someone pointed out the time for lecturing is over.

Have a couple of meat free days a week and try and get to an Aldi. We are not teetotal but hardly ever drink, booze does add up so is an easy save.

My mindset is thus, is it good value? It doesn't matter if it is one pound or a thousand is it worth it? So I have always taken drinks and snacks 100% of the time were out and picnics some of the time.

I was however fine with DH spending almost 1k on equipment for his home hymn because he uses it nearly every day and going to the closest gym would use petrol, the membership fees and be less time efficient. I have however balked at spending two quid on items I consider bad value for money.

I have a value for money equation for social events as well that means I turn some down. I am always amazed at the guilt on some of the hen night socials that people can't afford. Beware collective spending, you have less control over your own purse.

confusedofengland Mon 08-Jul-13 10:53:03

One small thing you can do is to have a sealed money tin into which you put all your change/£2 or similar. We have one which can only be opened with a tin opener, for £2 coins. It has been going about 3 months & has, I'd estimate, £200 in it. We haven't missed that money, but we will certainly notice it when we open it & use that to put towards credit cards.

If you can do 5 little things each week that save you £5 each, that's £25, which is £1300 per year. As the big chain supermarket says, Every Little Helps smile

That never worked for me confused. We never have cash on us. Everything is paid for by debit card. We're financial nightmares!

MrsPennyapple Mon 08-Jul-13 14:23:01

OP, I'm glad you've mentioned wine - I noticed you had a subscription (now cancelled) as well as buying top up bottles, that will have been adding a fair bit to your spending.

And yes, you can definitely stretch the meat out a bit, I've been guilty of cooking a 3-pack of chicken fillets for a meal for two adults and one toddler. Realistically, you do not need one chicken fillet per person, so now I buy the 3-packs and open them, and freeze the fillets in twos, in freezer bags. (Any less than that and DH complains that the meat is a bit sparse, he's a proper carnivore.)

I was given one of those money boxes that you have to smash open to get at the money. It said on the box that if you fill it with £2 coins it holds £1000. We've had it about 2.5 years and it is now nearly full. I'd never have had the patience to save all that in a normal money box, I'd have raided it long ago, but the mental block against breaking it has really worked for us.

I'm not sure I've got anything to add, as you have had a lot of great advice, but I have been in debt and got myself out of it with four years of very frugal living, so I know how hard it is. You're on the right track though, your new attitude is right, and I think you'll be able to do it quite quickly. Good luck smile

A detailed budget is your friend, Skintorama - allocated amounts for all the variable costs like food, petrol, fun, clothes etc, and mark off spends from each budget against it, so you can see if you are overspending. You can juggle money between the different pots if needed (unexpected bill etc), but the basic is to set amounts for each budget, and meticulously record what you spend. It has worked for us.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 08-Jul-13 14:30:07

I never see the point in lecturing, were not kids. Some people genuinely don't know how to save money off the household budget.

A handful of oats in mince dishes disappears, it doesn't make it go further but it's more filling, dh doesn't ask for pudding when I do this.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 08-Jul-13 15:18:06

But I think when someone has very poor financial self-control, a reality check is more helpful.

HoneyStepMummy Mon 08-Jul-13 15:29:10

We all have different mindsets and attitudes regarding money. OP I think your biggest problem is that you seem to be disorganized when it comes to finances. I don't think reusing teabags or jotting down every single 20p you spend is going to help you, it's just going to distract you.
You didn't get into debt because you are a bad person or a fool, but because things happen (like legal fees).
I would suggest that you try to cut down your biggest expenses first, and set up a realistic payment plan for your debt. Also trying to increase your income in sensible ways (like a better paying job) and putting the extra money towards paying off the debt is much more realistic then making a few pennies on Ebay.

Nerfmother Mon 08-Jul-13 15:40:48

If you search my username you will find we are in exactly the same mess. Over four k coming in, debt and bills are three eight. Can't cut out anything else.

I am not suggesting jotting down every 20p - and I apologise for not making that clear.

Dh and I do write down everything spent on the debit card, even if that is only a small amount (I play Candy crush and sometimes buy a 69p booster - that goes out of the bank account, so it gets recorded, not because 69p is a break-the-bank sum but because enough small amounts can add up frighteningly fast).

Money in my purse/dh's wallet comes from our allowances - if I take £10 out of the cashpoint, that gets written down - I don't write down every time I spend £1 from my purse on whatever.

We really have found that it helped to be this controlled and rigorous over recording our expenditure - we are not perfect, but usually get to the end of each month pretty close to where dh thinks we should be (he runs the spreadsheet and knows the totals - I know where to find the info if I need it, but don't have it committed to memory as he seems to have).

HoneyStepMummy Mon 08-Jul-13 16:41:58

SDTGis- I'm sorry if I sounded rude or like I was putting down your advice- not my intention at all! I was trying to say that for someone with a serious amount of debt their focus shouldn't be on the pennies but the pounds. And you are right- being organized and knowing what you spend is key in staying on top of your finances. So again- I'm sorry!

Something that works really well for me is making Mondays my financial days. I go over my latest bills, statements and receipts. I pay what needs to be paid, see what we are spending our money on, file what needs to be filed and see what we can cut back on. This helps me balance our finances for the rest of the month and allows me to put more into our savings account if we have extra.

I don't sweat the really small stuff like if DH buys himself a coffee once a week while he's working. But I do go over our cellphone bill etc in great detail. We were able to save $30 a month by making just one very small change. Just by shopping at Aldi's helped cut our grocery bill by 40% a month.

OP in your situation I would focus on getting those credit card bills paid off before the car loan. Having a spreadsheet that tracks your progress will help keep you motivated. You also need to have a serious talk with your DH and DC. The whole family needs to be onboard. Agree not to buy each other birthday gifts. Explain to everyone that you'll be eating simple meals (some great suggestions on this thread) and not eating out at all. Christmas will be lean- have the kids make cards or send e-cards online, and again agree not to buy each other gifts.

I also think that learning how to do things that you would otherwise pay someone else to do is a better use of your time then making pin money ebaying or ironing for someone. My DH figured out how to fix our microwave when it broke, saving us from buying a new one. When we renovated we did all the painting ourselves, saving thousands and just paying for the cost of the paint. My DH cuts his and his son's hair himself, and I do my own mani- and pedicures and colour my own hair.

I have noticed that people who overspend often shop without looking at the prices of things. They can't understand where all their money is going, since they're not out buying luxury items or clothes etc. But every day things like toothpaste, bin bags, cleaning supplies etc. can be really expensive and the prices can vary a lot from place to place. If you don't feel like chasing bargains then try getting all of that stuff from Poundland or Aldi. I really couldn't care less what brands I use as long as they work and fit into my budget.

Skintorama Mon 08-Jul-13 17:01:18

Some brilliant stuff here, thanks all of you for taking the time to post.

I have put all my credit cards in a bag in the freezer (!) so that I have to actually think about every single purchase, I'll either have to have the cash on me or make a specific trip to the freezer to get the cards out. We needed milk earlier and I sent DD with the correct money, rather than nipping over myself and getting milk, wine, snacks, more fruit etc.

I have cancelled this week's food delivery, which would have been £120, because we have plenty in the cupboards and freezer. I'm going to set a limit of £60 for next week's shop, we have nappies and cleaning stuff so that's just for food.

I have two interviews next week and if I get either job it will mean the loss of around £800pm to start with after childcare BUT I still think it will be better for us financially, I'll have much less opportunity for random spending and plus (big plus) DH will be doing the shopping and cooking and he is a million times more frugal than me. Also it will be a defined income rather than my self employed income which is unsteady.

As soon as I have a job and can stop CMing, I can sell most of my equipment as well, car seats, double buggy, travel cots, toys. And of course I can hand the car back to the garage and replace it with a small cheap car, I have already spoken to them and they are happy to buy it back and clear the finance.

jb707 Mon 08-Jul-13 17:19:29

£800 a month is £9600 a year. Are you sure you will be better off? It's quite a pay cut.

That' good news about the car skinto

HoneyStepMummy - you didn't sound rude at all - I wasn't clear and I needed that pointing out so I could be clear. I knew what I meant - but the. I would, wouldn't I? blush

Skintorama Mon 08-Jul-13 18:05:54

It depends how you look at it, because actually if you look at my profit from CMing compared to my prospective wage from employment, then I am better off (marginally).

And the life benefits are going to be massive, no more house full of children and toys and equipment, my children will be happier (they hate me cming, mostly), DH can come home to a quiet house with just his own DC in residence instead of ww3 every day, I'll be happier...

MinimalistMommi Mon 08-Jul-13 18:13:01

skint CMing can be very hard, stressful work. I did it for a year and the impact on family life Monday to Friday is pretty big. I understand why you're looking to career change.

You're doing so well, Skintorama.

AdoraBell Mon 08-Jul-13 23:45:01

OP Firstly, well done for facing up to the problem.
Secondly, stop beating yourself over the problem.

I can't add much more but in terms of grocery costs see if you can get away with halving the amount of meat you use by slicing or chopping . I use 3 chicken breasts or thighs for 2 adults and 2 preteens, fe. Cheese can be grated for sandwiches, less than half the amount of slicing. Chocolate can be grated over a desert, just a couple of squares instead of everyone taking pieces of chocolate randomly.

Switching to supermarket basics for cleaning products will help, halve the amount of washing powder. Using a sponge or shower puff thing means you only need a few drops of shower gel rather than a handful. Don't buy expensive hand creams and body lotions, a drop of olive oil from the kitchen is better for your skin anyway.

All grocery items you buy, go down a level and if that's okay drop another level until you find the find things you don't want to compromise on.

Good luck, onwards and upwards.

BadLad Tue 09-Jul-13 04:07:46

Hi OP,

No advice as such, but in case it might encourage you, taking control of your financial situation is incredibly satisfying.

Watching that debt come down and then, once it's gone, watchin your savings / assets increase is a great feeling. Really makes me wonder why I didn't do it sooner. I'm not exactly Scrooge McDuck, carefully dusting around neatly arranged piles of one-penny coins, but I do enjoy updating the spreadsheet with my worth on it every time I get paid.

And it's a great habbit to get into - it quickly becomes second-nature. Do it now, and hopefully you will never get into such a situation again.

Best of luck.

kickassangel Tue 09-Jul-13 05:31:40

You sound like you have never really built up a contingency fund. Things like legal fees, repairs etc do crop up. Once you have paid off the debt, you should start putting money into savings for unexpected big expenses. If you don't need them you can pay money off the mortgage or use it for a car without paying interest, which will save you more money in the end.

Smartieaddict Tue 09-Jul-13 12:08:52

Thanks for this thread OP. We are in a fairly similar financial situation to you, and it has given me the kick up the bum I need to have a good look at our spending and try and sort things out, rather than continuing to bury my head in the sand and hope for a lottery win!

Skintorama Tue 09-Jul-13 16:44:45

Good for you, Smartieaddict. Glad the thread has been useful. It's been a good kick for me.

Today has been great, I have spent £1.60 on parking and that's it. Took the mindees to the park, packed a lunch from what we had in the cupboards, took water to drink and asked the cafe to refill them (free) instead of buying lunch and drinks as usual. Dinner is fishfingers and rice n peas(minimal cost).

I've enrolled on a free Business and Admin course to boost my chances at these interviews, the upshot of this is I will spend my free time studying instead of either drinking wine in the evenings or online browsing (which usually means shopping), the acceptance for that came through today so that's all good.

Oh and my exH is in arrears with CSA so we're getting (maybe) the £130 or so he owes us in a couple of weeks.

It's all adding up.

Badvoc Tue 09-Jul-13 20:06:22

Op I can really relate to your posts.
We have almost £3k coming in each month and I am aghast at how much debt we have and how little money there is at the end of the month (ie: none)
I have also been in denial a bit but tbh other stuff has kept me pretty busy (ds2 very ill, parents ill, I was rushed to hospital...it's been a fun time sad)
One thing I find really tough is the food bill...we spend £450-500 each month for 4 of us. I do meal plan but with all the other stuff (toiletries and cleaning stuff) it's always well over £400.
Have just had to buy ds1 some shorts for our (uk) hols ...dh went mad!
I only buy clothes from asda/tesco or e bay. It was 3 x shorts @ £9 each from tesco. With any luck they will fit next year too.
I also got 2 t shirts for £2 each.
I genuinely don't know what he expects me to do re clothes. They have to be dressed!! sad
Buying the new uniforms at the end of the month will be fun sad
What with a money pit of a house (had to spend £10k on new boiler, new roofing, new back windows etc in the past year) I am feeling pretty stressed out.
It's not like we are frittering money away on non essentials (IMO)
We now have no savings left, £7k of cc debt and also owe money to he parents.
I don't honestly see how we will ever pay it back sad

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 09:35:49

Bad start by slashing your food bill dramatically. If you eat meat, eat less meat or even better, once a week until you're back on your feet again. Vegetarian food can be very healthy and very cheap.

About school uniform, do they wear white polo tops? You can buy two for £3.00 in M&S and they have 20% of right now. I guess a supermarket like Asda will get you cheap trousers.

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 09:54:47

I am really enjoying this new way of thinking. The credit card (the one I use for monthly spends) is still in the freezer and hasn't been used since Saturday, last month (and the month before) we spent £1400 on it, this month I am aiming for more like £400 although anything up to £800 will still be a win.

I am cooking lamb curry for dinner, but swapping the amounts round so it's more lentils than lamb, the pack of lamb was half price last week so £2.50, the whole meal is probably about £4, that's for seven people.

Badvoc, how old is your DS? My DS1 is nearly 11 (but small) and is growing fast, I need to sort through his stuff but will no doubt have lots of t shirts and shorts to pass on, if you'd be interested?

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:04:26

Skint was that £1400 on the credit card?

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 10:14:16

I picked up ds2s uniform when sainsburys had their 25% off and he can wear white polos thank goodness but ds1 goes up to middle school and they have to wear logo polo shirts!! And rugby top! And football boots! Gah.
Need all sorts of things we didn't need when I was there - albeit that's 30 years ago smile
I am going to try and sort the food bill out...I think that maybe it will go down after sept as both boys will be at school all day and not raiding my cupboards/fridge!
Just this morning I have had to get apples and bananas as we ran out.
It's not much but it all adds up doesn't it?
My dh will not eat veggie food....no point going there. Ds2 is a veggie albeit he doesnt realise it...he just won't eat meat or fish!
Dh and I went through all the insurances a few months ago...we are on the cheapest deals.
Ditto utilities.
I am cutting down on petrol costs...walking when I can and when ds2 will agree to!
Will have to find at least £10 per week from sept for ds1s dinners (he has always taken sandwiches before)
It just feels a bit insurmountable ATM.

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:19:09

Not being funny, but reduce the shopping fund and then tell your DH to go and get the meat and rest of the food and see how far he gets. Needs must and all that. You have to cut costs and food budget is most obvious place to do it. I'm a bit hmm that he's moaning at you about clothing the kids but, oh no, he couldn't possibly have some meat free meals to ate the budget. I would be angry

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:19:48

help not ate grin

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 10:19:54

Skint...that's so kind of you. Ds1 is 10. But I am sure there are other people in more dire need than me. I feel so silly complaining about money when dh earns above the national average.
We have had a run of bad luck wrt to the house since we moved in, certainly, but a lot of it is bad planning on my part and not being strict enough with myself.
Is anyone else already stressing about Xmas!?
I am suggesting secret Santa for family...hope they agree.
I love to buy for the children but certain family members are soooo hard to buy for (I am looking at you fil and bil) and dint really need anything.
Have found a great gift for the dc but it's £170 so am going to ask for us all to chip in to get it. It's a joint gift and I think they will get a lot of use out of it.
Aibu? Does that sound sensible?

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:20:32

Bad is he not allowed packed lunches at new school shock

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:21:41

£170 is a lot, but not if family member are happy to chip in, that sounds like lovely solution.

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 10:21:44

Minimal...dont get me started!
He seems to think that I should be able to get clothes a for a 10 year old who is nearly as tall as I am for £4-5!!
I got some great stuff for ds2 from e bay but there isn't so much for older dc ime.
Pils have offered to buy the dc school shoes so that's great.

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 10:22:38

Yes he is, but he wants to have hot dinners. I don't mind per se but it's not an expense I have ever had to think about before iyswim?

worldgonecrazy Wed 10-Jul-13 10:26:30

As soon as you have paid off a bit of credit card, lower the limit of that card, so if it's £16,000 next month phone up and lower it to £15,000 so that you cannot run up debts on the card. Keep going until it's done and then cancel the card. Once you're out of debt keep maybe one card with a £2,000 limit for emergencies only. I once read a tip about putting the card up in the loft so you can't get to it without effort.

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:28:03

Bad you need to be looking at the overall picture, your oldest Dc can have hot meals when you're not £7,000 in debt an you have payed the money back to your family. Sorry for sounding harsh but it sounds like there are excuses for why extra money that 'needs' to be be spent because of people's 'wants'. Like your DC and your DH are stamping their feet and you're going along with it.

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 10:32:42

I guess so.
But providing money of school dinners is normal, surely? If I wasn't giving him money for that I would be providing the food in his lunch box?
I don't really see the difference.
Yes dh can be a pain about things. He has no real idea about how much things cost.
I to,d him the other day that since the financial crisis our grocery bill has gone up 30% for the same stuff and he didn't believe me!

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 10:34:01

World...I am not sure what our limit is tbh. We aren't near it yet. That's a good idea about lowering it though. Will hey dh onto it.
We are also going to move it to a 0% card too. Tesco have a good one on offer ATM.

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 10:38:12

Yes, £1400 on the credit card. The budget should be 1k at the absolute outside, that's food, petrol, treats and incidental expenses (haircuts, dentist etc).

This month I am aiming for £400 (which would be fab) but more realistically £800 (just to avoid depressing myself when I go over £400).

I think we can achieve it: £200 on food, £100 petrol and £100 for our holiday with a bit of wiggle room for stuff. The month ends on the 7th August so I'll keep you posted with how I've done.

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:41:27

Bad packed lunches will definitely cost less then a hot school meal from school. And providing a packed lunch is 'normal' too hmm
Yes, you husband earns above the national average but at the end of the day, you're in debt so now you have to think of every expenditure with the 'we're in debt' hat on until you've paid it back and that means cutting back. If you want to clear it quickly, it means cutting back everywhere.

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:42:37

Skint I'm so confused about your situation, I need to read back over the thread. Why is more money being spent on a credit card?

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 10:44:30

Oh I know...I didn't mean to Imply packed lunches aren't normal! He has taken them for 3 years! smile
This month will be a disaster again as we are off on our (uk) hols on Saturday.
Hoping to take lots of picnics and be on the beach a lot!

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:48:53

Sounds great Bad grin

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 10:49:44

Am praying for good weather!

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 10:49:48

I use the Tesco credit card as spends every month and pay it off in full. Except some months when I've overspent i don't quuiiiiiite pay it all off.

We use the Tesco points for days out and Christmas so I'm going to keep using it, but I;m just going to keep a much tighter rein on what's going on it, incidental shopping (milk etc) will be done with cash to avoid impulsively buying extras wine and I'm leaving it in the freezer unless it's to buy petrol. The weekly (or fortnightly now) food shop is online and goes on that card.

giddywithglee Wed 10-Jul-13 10:51:53

I made an excel spreadsheet and went through our monthly statements to work out what we were spending on.

I broke it down into 4 columns: regular unavoidables (bills/mortgage etc); one-off unavoidables (car tax, MOT etc); supermarket shops; other (frivolities such as clothes, haircuts, toys for the kids). We looked at the unavoidables to see if we could pay less anywhere (switching utilities providers, for example); then got the shock of our lives when we looked at how much we were spending on food and drink, so I set myself a challenge to do a weekly shop and I'm not allowed to 'pop' to Waitrose/Tesco for other items during the week unless they're vital!

We realised that if we cut down the ridiculous amount we were spending on food we could justify the occasional treat and still be within budget.

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 10:54:08

That's us exactly, Giddy.

Roughly £600 a month in Ocado, and then maybe another £400 on popping to the shop for wine, extras, fags (I don't smoke often but occasionally when I'm drinking I'll go through twenty in a night), specific meals (ie I'll fancy a paella so get the ingredients extra to the weekly shop, could easily rack up £40 on crap in Tesco while I do).

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:54:45

Fair enough Skint. But the not paying it all off sounds like a slippery slope....we're here the crack the ship on you LOL grin

giddywithglee Wed 10-Jul-13 10:55:02

PS also do things like online food supermarket shop with Sainsbury's so get nectar points. When our buildings and contents insurance were up for renewal last year Sainsbury's were offering a deal (which I think they are again at the mo) where you get 50% discount for no claims PLUS double nectar points every time you shop. So I swapped to Sainsbury's. The nectar points add up really quickly and can be used for loads of things - they normally pay for all the kids' and their cousins' birthday and Christmas presents and the occasional one-off, like when our phone handsets broke recently.

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 10:55:16

Ship? Whip I meant! Damn auto correct! At least it will have made someone laugh...

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 11:09:11


No, no more overspending, from now on I will be BELOW budget and teh extra will go to paying off the previous overspends...

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 11:13:14

Yes, that's more like it!

giddywithglee Wed 10-Jul-13 11:16:06

Minimalist I did wonder what you were on about!

Skint, the other thing I've started doing is a bit geeky but:

before I do the food shop, I plan our meals for the week. I try to make them balanced nutritionally ish!) band also ensure that we have a couple of meat free days, and also that if I am buying something that I won't be using all of in one meal, it will be used up in another meal to minimise waste. I write them on a blackboard in the kitchen (anyone reading this who knows me will instantly know my real identity from this).

Then we are not allowed to deviate from the list, although I don't specify which day we will have which meal so there is an element of allowing for what you feel like eating. It doesn't always work (ie if we've had a glass of wine on a Saturday evening and suddenly a takeaway looks a lot more appealing!) but it really has saved money from the days when I just used to buy loads of stuff and decide what to cook when I opened the fridge.

mateysmum Wed 10-Jul-13 11:24:09

Put a notebook and a small plastic bag in your handbag. Make a note of absolutely every penny you spend. Keep all receipts in the plastic bag. Ideall transfer the spends to a spreadsheet with the same categories as your budget. Then compare the two every week.
A bit of a faff but you will probably only need to do it for a couple if months to realise where all the money is going.

Voicesinmyhead17 Wed 10-Jul-13 11:27:54

Skintorama we have £70k of unsecured debt on top of our mortgage. What you have is eminently manageable on your income. I would swap places with you tomorrow.

GoodtoBetter Wed 10-Jul-13 12:46:12

Been following this thread with interest (and think you're doing really well Skint). We aren't in debt, in fact we have savings but not enough to buy a house and I'm on a very low income and DH is unemployed. We live in a bit of the eurozone with massive unemployment so bugger all prospects for DH. We manage but need to keep a really tight rein on our outgoings.
What I'd like to know is how to do an excel spreadsheet...is it easy?

Talkinpeace Wed 10-Jul-13 12:48:59

Cut the cards up

then plug your numbers into my spreadsheets - they are on the Site stuff board
and see what you need to do to clear the bills ASAP
(paying the minimum will take you up to 18 years to clear them by the way)

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 12:49:04

I was just going to ask the same thing gtbb!

Talkinpeace Wed 10-Jul-13 12:50:58

would you like me to write one and put it on google docs?
post onto the site stuff thread what you want and I'll have a go ...

GoodtoBetter Wed 10-Jul-13 12:52:57

DH handles it at the mo by literally writing down EVERYTHING we spend every day and then plotting it all out by hand. Even down to 75cents on sweets for the dc.

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 12:55:26

This is a really good basic (free!) Excel course. It's really simple once you get the hang of it.

GoodtoBetter Wed 10-Jul-13 12:57:36

That would be great Talkin. I'll look on site stuff now. Like I say, we aren't in debt and we have savings but I only earn 1170 euros after tax and there is no unemployment benefit (or any other benefits for that matter) and we spend a little over my salary (rent , bills, food etc) every month. I worry eventually we'll run through our savings and be sitting still on one v low income and still renting. sad Hence the iron fist on spending.

GoodtoBetter Wed 10-Jul-13 13:01:25

Thanks Skint. I'll have a look.

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 13:13:06

Skint can I just go shock at £400 popping to the shops. I don't think you should be allowed to pop to the shops now...

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 13:33:09

I know. It's hideous.

I'm just looking at last months statement. It is literally £20 here, £35 there, a couple or more times a week. All on stuff we could well do without or that should be accounted for within the household budget.

I had just got into a habit of not counting the 'small' spends. But of course they're not that small when they're all added up.

if you knuckle down you will be straight in no time.

just need to stop spending

good luck op

you can sort this

giddywithglee Wed 10-Jul-13 13:52:16

skint I completely get the supermarket thing. I'm at home all day on mat leave at the mo with 2 small children and I walk to the supermarket as a reason to leave the house. I go I for one thing and come out having spent £15-20 quid.

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 14:15:30

Giddy I you want to go out to the supermarket for a walk, just go to buy a newspaper and leave your purse at home so you're not tempted.

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 14:17:26

'If' not 'I' grin

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 14:19:31

Oh yes, if I'd have taken my purse with me to the park yesterday I would have DEFINITELY bought drinks, and probably icecreams. I had four children with me so that could have been £20 easily.

As it was, I took change for parking and that was it. And the kids were most put out at being given water and fruit grin

MinimalistMommi Wed 10-Jul-13 14:32:24

Skint I have a pack of six strawberry splits in my freezer which cost £1.30 from Waitrose so my DC's get an icecream when we get home grin

GobbySadcase Wed 10-Jul-13 15:59:17

I managed to cut the food budget in half despite living in a market town where Sainsburys is the 'budget' supermarket (waitrose is the only other option).

Food deliveries from ASDA. Mostly smart price. The rest of the stuff we get from the market - fruit and veg every Thursday, once every six weeks I go to Chichester for the meat, buy in bulk and portion it up. It's good quality too, none of this watery chicken that I used to get with supermarket meat.

I'd love an aldi or lidl round here but I think the local snob contingent would have a coronary...

Talkinpeace Wed 10-Jul-13 15:59:32

on the right puter now .... here's the link to the existing spreadsheets

Skintorama Wed 10-Jul-13 17:20:46

Ooh Gobby I think we might be living in the same town..

BadLad Thu 11-Jul-13 05:40:27

Tv/internet £70
Phones £40

Assuming that phones means mobile phones, this is 110 quid a month that in the mid-90s people didn't know they needed.

I find that attitude helps me cut down on my spending quite well. Did I manage without it.

PigOnStilts Thu 11-Jul-13 05:49:28

I inadvertently halved my shopping budget when we went on a health kick and quit fish, meat, booze and cakes. I was amazed at how much cheaper it is, I've gone from spending 120 pw to about 60.

giddywithglee Thu 11-Jul-13 07:43:45

Also shocking was how much less we spent when I was pregnant and so not drinking wine - the last few months the shopping bill has shot back up again blush

Skintorama Thu 11-Jul-13 09:53:23

Morning all.

Yesterday DH went to the shop and I asked him to just take £5 and get bread, milk, a cucumber and maybe some cereal for the DC if he had enough. So that's all he got, with change to spare.


Today I am going to attempt spaghetti bolognaise with half the usual amount of mince (one pack instead of two), I have mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes and pasta to bulk it out, I might throw in some couscous for padding too and see if anyone notices...

GinOnTwoWheels Thu 11-Jul-13 11:13:34

Good point BadLad.

How many years do we need to go back to get to a time before Costa/Starbucks invaded the high street. I hardly ever go to these places because they are such a rip off, but I keep reading about people who go every day, sometimes more than once shock.

Even one £2 coffee during every workday could cost £40 pm just on coffee and some people could be spending more than that if they have bigger or fancier coffees or cakes etc.

Ipp3 Thu 11-Jul-13 11:20:12

You just need to have a budget and keep to it. I allocate all my salary into notional budgets, fuel, shopping, weekly pocket money, monthly fund for 'nice,thing such as meals out or new shoes, hols money saved over the year. And I keep to that budget.

MinimalistMommi Thu 11-Jul-13 11:21:03

Skint next time chuck in some canned lentils (rinsed) to bulk your mince out.

Badvoc Thu 11-Jul-13 11:22:33

Anyone tried the piggybank method on MSE?
It's seems a bit mad to have 6+ accounts though....

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 11-Jul-13 11:38:30

Sounds like a good start skint. DH and I decided to go on a spending cut about a year ago and the way we did it was write down all the main areas of expenditure and look at how we could trim them ( didn't last as apparently the money was being saved to buy DH a sports car).

Some areas we found we could cut back with minimum effort and save loads - we like eating out, but restricted this to once a fortnight using special coupons, that saved loads. Others saved a bit, but took a lot of effort i.e. cutting shopping bill by going to Aldi/Lidl - reality was I had to do two supermarket shops and as I work it took too much time. Now I do Tesco Click and Collect and try to get most of what I need for the week - I find not going into the shop helps to focus my mind.

We looked at the list again and prioritised the stuff that saved a lot and/or was low effort for us.

You do need to keep in some treats, otherwise you will end up resenting it and overspending, so the idea of having a fun budget for the kids is good. They could be involved in picking what they do. I hate frittering away money so find that making sure that I always bring a bottle of water and snacks wherever we go saves a lot of money. I do like a coffee when we are out, so I either bring it with me - DH and I now have those insulated mugs, or go somewhere cheap rather than Starbucks.

Lots of good advice on this thread.

PigOnStilts Thu 11-Jul-13 11:39:07

What you should do is buy a chorizo, add slivers if it to lentils chickpea stew etc to gi e meaty flavour. We don't nee chunks of meat really just the taste ImO also adding marmite or bobtail can sex up otherwise bland meal

FriendofDorothy Thu 11-Jul-13 11:52:10

We really struggle with food shopping bills too but that's because we have no cheap supermarkets. Rigorous menu planning is what has worked for us!

GoodtoBetter Thu 11-Jul-13 12:56:37

We have a shopping centre attached to an ikea so if we want a coffee/snack at that shopping centre we go in ikea and use our ikea family card. Week days the coffee is free and kids can have a hotdog or a doughnut really cheaply and it's got all the kiddie paraphenalia.

annielostit Thu 11-Jul-13 13:37:52

Its been so interesting reading this thread. I've just been thorough a bank statement and on one account have 'lost' £400+ this month with out what's we put on a credit card (Paid off in full each month). We should be saving more than we do and after this weekend, away with friends, I am taking food and drink for one night.its cut back time. No more popping into shops for a pint of milk that costs £18,back to menu planning skrimping and saving if I don't have my hours at work reduced by the tune of £5000 next year it will all be OK. Thanks for the advice offered, not good with a spread sheet but can do the original pen and paper trick.x

Talkinpeace Thu 11-Jul-13 13:41:00

Am about to write and post to Googledocs a "mumsnet budgeting spreadsheet"
please add your input to the layout here

AdoraBell Thu 11-Jul-13 13:52:54


I bulk my bolognaise out with grated carrot added with the onions. 2 carrots will replace a fair bit of meat.

Skintorama Thu 11-Jul-13 14:04:31

I'm going to chuck in two onions, two carrots and some celery for good measure. MIght throw in a handful of couscous at the end.

I've just done next week's shop online and got it down to £104 (it's usually £120-£160). I should be able to make it last two weeks, actually.

No wine, less meat. I already buy the essentials range. This is to feed five of us, seven on weekdays.

So the next two weeks look like this:

Today: spag bol
Friday: Paella (4 chicken breasts, bag of frozen prawns)
Sat: Sausage pasta (six sausages)
Sunday: Roast Lamb (have lamb in freezer already)
MOnday: Lamb Curry (from the leftovers)
Tuesday: Veg chilli
Weds: Fish fingers & oven chips
Thurs: Chicken w/mushrooms, mash
Fri: Pasta pesto w/peas
Sat: Paella again
Sun: roast chicken
Mon: Lamb curry (with diced lamb from freezer, we have this most weeks grin)
Tuesday: Fish and chips
Weds:Mac and cheese


Two weeks on £100 shop plus what's in the cupboards/freezer.


Skintorama Thu 11-Jul-13 14:17:10

Actually I've just played around with that, added another tenner on and it now takes us up to our holiday, so two and a half weeks.


ThursdaySpaghetti bolognese
FridayFish and chips
SaturdaySausage pasta
SundayRoast lamb

MondayLamb curry
TuesdayVegetable chilli
ThursdayChicken w/mushrooms
FridayPasta pesto
SundayRoast Chicken

MondayLamb curry
TuesdayFish and chips
WednesdayMacaroni cheese
ThursdaySpaghetti bolognese
FridayVeg chilli
SaturdayChinese pork and noodles
SundayRoast chicken

Skintorama Thu 11-Jul-13 14:17:52

Sorry, copied it straight over from excel and it didn't format well, but you get the idea.

Skintorama Thu 11-Jul-13 14:27:10

£114 shop, to be precise.

Talkinpeace Thu 11-Jul-13 14:34:42
Badvoc Thu 11-Jul-13 17:26:26

Right...been to collect meds needed prior to hols.
Have drawn out cash for our holiday next week and I am not taking my purse/cards so when it's gone it's gone!
Getting a grocery shop delivered so hopefully won't need much extra food.
Fingers crossed!

AdoraBell Thu 11-Jul-13 17:40:34


I notice you have roast chicken written down for next weekend, do you not get any left over meat from your chickens?

I know my OH would eat the whole thing if he thought he could get away with it, but I pick off anything left and it goes into soups, salad, pasta bakes, curry, risotto, sandwiches etc etc.

Last night I did 2 chicken breasts, rice, sweetcorn and green beans for all 4 of us, that was enough. Chicken was chopped and marinated. I could have done more chicken but decided it looked like enough once I'd chopped it, no one needed more.

Skintorama Thu 11-Jul-13 17:42:44

Where are you going Badvoc?

We're off to Center Parcs at the end of the month and we're going to properly self cater ie cook instead of going out for expensive meals.

Badvoc Thu 11-Jul-13 18:19:56

We are off to Northumberland.
Hoping for good weather.

charlotte123 Fri 26-Jul-13 07:24:14

Hi. I was exactly like you (don't think I ran up the as much debt)! We are in the early days of budgeting (2months) but doing really well. Everyone is on board -hubby and 2 sons (11&8) which I think is key. None of us feel we are going without but really think about purchases before making them. Got a couple of heavy months approaching with new uniforms and costs associated with the move to senior school and entertaining the kids for 6 weeks! How key thing to making it work is keeping track of everything you spend.we have a spread sheet that each night we update. I'm a real spender on absolutely anything and everything but feel great for holding back and waiting to make a purchase. In less than a month I've saved enough cash to pay for all the new uniforms! Good luck but keep in mind hat you need to adopt new habits so that you don't end up like this again. It takes a lot of hardworking and discipline on everyone's part but in the end you will end up so much better off financially.also - no excuses!!!!! X

Sleepyhoglet Sun 04-Aug-13 17:13:19

I've just read the whole thread. Hardly ever do that on long ones! We have almost identical income to you of £4000 and couldn't ever imagine being in debt, but this has really opened my eyes. S for that thank you. I too can be a bit frivolous with spending, and as we don't have children right now that's ok, but has made me realise I will have to be more sensible in the future.

Sounds like you are doing well OP. keep it up!

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Sun 04-Aug-13 17:20:00

Skintorama - When we went self catering I took our slow cooker so I could set it up first thing and we could go off for the day without the awful thought of having to "cook".

We took loads of food with us so I didn't have to buy it on site

Skintorama Thu 02-Jan-14 09:11:22

Hello all, I thought it would be good to update this thread.

I did get a new job, and quickly got promoted, and then dh changed his hours at work to save nearly £300PM in childcare.

Our new budget is £900pm for food, petrol and stuff, which means we are paying down just over 1.5k, some months 2k (overtime and commission) on the various debts. September was horrendous, we overspent by £1400 (!) so that was a setback but it is reducing nicely which is good to see. We update our spreadsheet on the 1st of every month.

We have found a house we'd like to offer on, and if we do we'll absorb the debts into the mortgage, but that's not ideal. My aim is to halve the debts by next April, which is when our endowment matures, and use that to clear them and move. We are going to see the house at the weekend, it seems to tick all of our boxes so if it really does we'll go for it (and then use the endowment to pay a chunk off in a year).

A nice kick start for the new year is the two months of no council tax, and dry January as usual, possibly Feb too.

We're not perfect, but we are doing ok.

This thread has been invaluable and I've reread it many times, thank you.

prettymess Thu 02-Jan-14 16:31:51

Aww, thanks for the update and good luck for 2014!

HandragsNGladbags Thu 02-Jan-14 22:19:05

Well done you! All the best for 2014!

Skintorama Fri 03-Jan-14 10:42:09

Just found out officially that can sell our endowment , or just cash it in, and get almost the full 60k.

Which means we can start 2014 debt free, move house and save a huge amount of money over the next few years

I call that a result...


Trills Fri 03-Jan-14 10:52:14


handcream Fri 03-Jan-14 11:04:14

Sorry to be the voice of gloom - if you sell your endowment how will you pay off the interest only element of the mortgage. The reason I am saying this is that my DM took our an interest only mortgage with NO endownment and she has now no way of paying the mortgage back.

Also, a relative cashed in his endowments because he didnt believe they would pay out the full mortgage. Problem was he cleared his debts and went on a very nice holiday indeed. However now the mortgage has come to an end he has no way of paying it back.

Skintorama Fri 03-Jan-14 11:08:16

We switched to a repayment mortgage 5 years ago and kept the endowment as an untouchable savings account.

I thought we'd have to slog it out for another 16 months but the few grand we'll lose by cashing in early is offset by the interest we'll save by clearing everything. That and having a couple.of grand spare every month.

handcream Fri 03-Jan-14 11:13:18

That is great Skin. I hope you dont mind me mentioning it, its just that I keep coming across people who dont understand that when you cash in an endownment its not 'spare' money. My degree educated BIL thinks the goverment will sort out any shortfalls and that it will all turn out OK in the end.

My other relative got himself a very cheap interest only mortgage when others had a much more expensive repayment. He kept boasting about his low repayments. Well years later he is struggling...

handcream Fri 03-Jan-14 11:15:43

Well done for converting as well. We were warned about a shortfall so we took the potential worst case shortfall and converted into a reapyment.

Our endowment has now matured a few months ago and we are fine with about £10k to spare because we took the worst case scenario.

Skintorama Fri 03-Jan-14 11:20:52

Meanwhile we've had a repayment mortgage AND paid a crippling amount into the endowment. I knew it was a good idea when I thought of it but took my eye off the prize and felt like we were drowning in debt...

We're going. to continue putting the same amount away each month, in fact we should double it. Our income has doubled since we initially took on the repayments plus savings, so it should be easy, especially without any debts.

Skintorama Fri 03-Jan-14 11:22:02

Ours is overperforming, which was an unexpected bonus.

ImpatientOne Fri 03-Jan-14 11:23:50

Well done Skint and thanks for the update - it's great to hear how people get on further down the line.

My DH totally changed my attitude to money when we got together and now I look forward to our monthly review of the household budget spreadsheets blush

twentyten Fri 03-Jan-14 11:24:09

Well done! You deserve your sucess.Happy 2014

isitpimmsoclockyet Fri 10-Jan-14 19:06:38

Well done! Just don't slip back into bad habits, and focus on how much better life will be debt free!!! xx

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