DH 40% pay cut - advice for household savings?

(88 Posts)
SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 09:46:29

DH and I were pretty comfortable, but he lost his job and has started another a few weeks ago on a 40% pay cut (eek). Our income is still fine and i would never complain, but we are tied into a large mortgage and I have got I to bad habits of not counting the pennies too well.

Any ideas of ways we can save money that we may not have thought of? We are down to one car and I will give DH lifts to/from work, cancelling the gym, Sky and no more take away coffees or magazines.

Any other ideas gratefully received!

SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 09:47:04

Aargh typos - I have got into bad habits blush

gallicgirl Sat 17-Aug-13 09:53:34

Make lunches for work rather than buy sandwiches.
Buy meat when it's reduced at shop then freeze it.

Is your garden big enough for you to grow some fruit and veg?

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sat 17-Aug-13 09:54:47

You've probably thought of this but switch to supermarket own brands instead of premium brands. Also writing down what you've spent each day helps as then you see where the indulgences are.

SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 09:57:17

Ooh some very good ideas - thank you, I am clueless really about this.

No, garden is one v tiny patch of lawn!

Bowlersarm Sat 17-Aug-13 09:57:43

Write down everything you spend. It's amazing how much money is wasted - you don't realise in better financial times.

Before you buy anything ask yourself "do I need this?" rather than "do I want this?"

Just two ideas for the moment, check your getting the cheapest deal for utillity bills. try switching to aldi or lidl for food shopping made a big difference in our monthly food bill would even go so far as to say halved it.Thats for 2 adults and 2dc ages 7 and 3. Food quality is excellent and cant taste any difference to any other supermarket.

SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 10:06:06

We were shopping at waitrose, so that is going to have to go straight away! All great ideas - thank you so much!!

Silverfoxballs Sat 17-Aug-13 10:14:09

Do you have to drive him to work? Is that up to 4 trips a day? How far is it and what kind of journey?

Get rid of anything you don't need via gumtree, eBay etc, consider buying stuff secondhand if you don't. We have taken a drop in income , nowhere near as much as yourself but about 15% due to my crappy health. Because I'm unwell it means we cannot fly at the moment so that was an automatic saving of no three week holiday. Couldn't go to my DH annual shindig so no need for new frock nor shoes nor an annual ball I go to. So mine has kind of readjusted itself.

Get yourself to Aldi or Lil if you can.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 17-Aug-13 10:17:45

Shop at Aldi, especially for washing powders and cleaning stuff.

Join moneysavingexperts energy club, they compare electric tariffs and its less faff than the other comparison sites, then switch suppliers if you can.

Basic energy saving tips such as only boiling as much water as you need or switching lights off when you leave the room or not leaving appliances on standby all add up.

I turn our hot water tanks to 60c, it saves money straightaway. I also put extra jackets on hot water tanks and insulate all the pipes that get hot. I only heat the water for 20 minutes now, I used to leave it on all day.

Could you renegotiate broadband suppliers? Pay upfront for phone line rentals? Ask mobile providers to reduce your package?

Join topcashback for money back on insurance policies, I buy aveda from places like rush.co.uk and get cash back. Basically I check everything I buy online or do click and collect on there and get a couple of hundred a year.

I always use aviva for insurance now because with cashback it's only £200 for dh car and £150 for mine and we both have new cars too so not cheap to insure elsewhere.

I menu plan and freeze veg when it's cheap eg carrots are 39p a kg in aldi, I'll freeze a few kilos now chopped up for soups and stews or cut lengthways for roasting and it gets me through the winter soups etc, same for celery or courgettes, onions I buy in sacks of 5kg and freeze them chopped up, the food processor is busy that day. It saves money but it saves me time too.

I've done par roasted potatoes too, I just chuck them in a hot roasting dish with goose fat (bought off amazon for half what the supermarkets charge) and it finishes off that nights roast dinner with minimal fuss and time. Same for stuffing balls, sausage meat ones or breadcrumb ones, I make a batch, freeze flat and use them as needed.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 17-Aug-13 10:25:41

I've just thought, I don't buy handwash anymore. I buy litres of bubble bath from aldi and decant it into pump dispensers. Much cheaper.

The aldi own brand stuffs all cruelty free too, unlike branded products.

A lot of living more cheaply is working out how to do things more cheaply but with the same results eg I downgraded from liz Earle hot cloth cleanser to boots hot cloth cleanser to bodyshop cleansing milk bought at 40% off (with 20% cashback on top of that) wiped off with a hot muslin. Same results, much cheaper. I bought frozen berries from aldi for my cereal in the morning rather than buying fresh.

christinarossetti Sat 17-Aug-13 10:49:46

Start by looking through recent bank statements together and seeing where your money has been going. Then keep a log of everything you both spend for a week.

That will give you good overview so that you can see where easy savings can be made and decide ajar you want to prioririse.

SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 11:24:05

Thanks for all the good ideas - I've been through the statements and things that need to be chopped are:

Supermarket treats which are impulse bought eg cream cakes, mini sushi packs, chic bars, multipacks of crisps

Gifts - we spend way too much!

Is it cheaper to make your own bread? I have a bread maker and need to start using it!

Clothes for DS - he is tall and I have always shopped in polarn o pyret and mostly their sales - way too pricey now.

gallicgirl Sat 17-Aug-13 11:33:01

Yes its cheaper to make your own bread and much yummier. You can also make pizza dough for home made pizzas.
How old are children? Supermarket clothes are pretty good.

specialsubject Sat 17-Aug-13 11:47:52

stop buying clothes. I can guarantee that you don't need any! Ditto makeup and expensive toiletries.

are those four car trips a day sensible? Obviously a second car has running costs (Tax, insurance, fixes) but can one of you cope with a £1000 runabout?

lose mobile internet when the contract ends. Go to a £10 simple mobile with calls and texts. Big money saver.

Bowlersarm Sat 17-Aug-13 11:50:48

Have you checked out money saving expert website? Some inspiring ideas and stories on there.

SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 12:03:02

I've been trying to save on my personal spend since I stopped ft work, so only have a haircut every few months (actually last was in feb blush) and haven't bought any makeup since I got married 5 years ago - still using the stuff I bought for that. Other than maternity clothes and 2 dresses I haven't bought anything since I got pg in 2010.

DS is 2 and has had some tesco things before which were ok.

SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 12:03:47

I've told DS he only needs 2 suits and 5 shirts and can't buy anything more for a good while.

SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 12:03:57

DS?? Meant DH

didireallysaythat Sat 17-Aug-13 12:04:58

EBay for bundles of kids clothes
Mysupermarket.co.UK for non aldi shopping
Menu plan so you only buy what you need and can combine food/use leftovers from one day for the next - this way I saved loads. You don't need cupboards full of foods.
Always Google for money off coupons before you buy anything.

MrsWolowitz Sat 17-Aug-13 12:11:45

Work out what you need per week for shopping, fuel, extras. Draw the money out and leave your bank card at home.

Handing over cash is very different to handing over a card. Also, seeing your weekly funds dwindle is an eye- opener!

ShoeWhore Sat 17-Aug-13 12:13:27

When dh was made redundant we had to have a serious review of the finances.

First I looked at all the direct debits and shopped around for deals on utilities etc.

Food shop - I like shopping online as I can see exactly how much I've spent and am strict about keeping to my budget. Good idea on MSE is to try downgrading your shopping eg if you normally buy the branded item, try the own brand version, if normally the own brand, try the basics range etc - some stuff you won't like but there are plenty of products where you'll barely notice the difference.

YY to writing everything down for a bit. You can get budget apps for your phone which are quite handy.

Plan your food a week in advance, this avoids waste as well. Cook around what you have instead of going out and buying a load of ingredients. Eat veggie at least a couple of times a week. We get a local veg box which is cheaper than supermarket veg plus local so low food miles. Ebay everything you no longer need, I love this and look at it more as re homing. Shop for yourself on EBay and In charity shops, boot fairs etc. I rarely buy new clothes and wouldn't even if I was loaded, we are to wasteful as a society as it is.

Even with a tiny garden you can grow veg. We had our best crop of courgettes ever this year and they were grown in pots.

SunnyIntervals Sat 17-Aug-13 14:29:40

Just had a look on eBay for bundles of kids clothes - inspired idea.

nkf Sat 17-Aug-13 14:32:03

I'd say you need to rebudget with the new income in mind. Then and only then make the changes you need to make.

Theimpossiblegirl Sat 17-Aug-13 14:50:02

Before you buy anything, stop and ask yourself "Do I really need this?" and if the answer is no, don't buy it.

I buy Supermarket take-aways for a treat. Much cheaper than take-away prices and they are often reduced at the end of the day.

Mum2Fergus Sat 17-Aug-13 19:17:52

Lots of good ideas here OP, recommend you pop over to the Credit Crunch threads under Money...loads more ideas and support there too ...

SlatternismyMiddlename Sat 17-Aug-13 19:33:22

I have nothing to add to the suggestions made above but wanted to wish you well.

Something similar happened to us about 2 years ago. 2 years on, as a family we are much happier (although there are some stressful times when I look at the bank account) as DH is alot happier in his work which is worth more than the pay hit that he took.

One of the things I found hardest was saying to friends "no, we can't go on a weekend break to such and such a place/ go to such and such restaurant" when previously we would have jumped at the chance. But that was just my pride! I have got over it.

DTisMYdoctor Sat 17-Aug-13 22:28:46

Make the most of loyalty rewards and cash back sites (e.f nectar points etc), topcashback, quidco. We convert our nectar points and cash back to. Amazon vouchers once a year to pay for some Christmas cards.

eBay any grown out of Polarn o pyret clothes.

Save £2 coins or 50p's or something in a jar for a contribution to an expensive day trip or something you liked to so before the big salary cut.

DTisMYdoctor Sat 17-Aug-13 22:32:11

Oh, at the end of the week see what ingredients you have left that could be used in a different meal the following week. Think about what own brands stuff you can use - I don't find waitrose more expensive that Sainsburys, but I use a lot of waitrose own brand products.

DTisMYdoctor Sat 17-Aug-13 22:34:30

One more thing - watching the pennies can be draining so do factor in some treats (but think about how to do them cheaper e.g instead of a takeaway get a fresh pizza from the supermarket etc).

joanofarchitrave Sat 17-Aug-13 22:41:09

Make sure that the whole family has decent waterproofs and a thermos flask, and always take a snack with you even if you are only going for a stroll, so that you don't 'have' to duck into a cafe if it's tipping down on a walk/day out.

If your family are comfortable and you will still have a car, ask for National Trust membership for a birthday/Christmas present. Makes a lot of days out and makes good stopoffs when going to visit relatives - service stations just hoover the money out of your wallet.

Do budget for gifts - you need to buy some - especially for children's friend's birthdays which add up terrifyingly. However, look out for good cheap gifts and bear them in mind (don't buy loads in advance, you just end up spending twice). If you can get into jam making you can take jam instead of wine for guest gifts - we have just made a shedload of blackberry and apple jam which we will use ourselves obviously but which will also be guest presents. If you get given wine, put it away and use it for presents tbh.

Budget for Chr*stm*s as well. I found the least money I could do it for and still feel like I was having a festival was £250 (that includes ds's birthday which is very close in date). Things are easier now and I budget £400. Look hard at your traditions and if they involve spending money, review them - there is always a cheaper alternative.

I find personally that things that keep me out of the supermarket save money overall - so we spend a bit more than we otherwise would on getting milk delivered and a veg box. We then build the meals around the veg, not meat.

Jan49 Sat 17-Aug-13 23:48:27

When I was carefully checking my spending, I found that my biggest expense other than mortgage was food and general groceries. I could easily shave off £20 just by being careful with food purchases and indulging a bit less in goodies.

DIddled Sat 17-Aug-13 23:52:14

No advice but can I give you a flowers for being so upbeat and positive- and here's hoping things get even better for you soon.

DIddled Sat 17-Aug-13 23:54:35

Actually - as others have mentioned Aldi is your friend. I was a terrible food snob- but Aldi is superb. I buy 75% of my food shop from there now- high quality and excellent value.

Silverfoxballs Sat 17-Aug-13 23:59:08

Regarding gifts, I have a kitchen cupboard and buy almost all gifts in sales and also cards on offer and keep them in my present cupboard.

I bought my niece a lovely make up set for a pound reduced from ten pounds a couple of months ago. I also bought a set of children's books for five instead of fifteen pounds recently.

All saving money is really about planning.

peggyblackett Sun 18-Aug-13 00:02:26

If your ds has grown out of his Polarn clothes, try selli g them on FB. It avoids eBay fees and you should get a good price for them (not your local FB selling site, but one that specialises in branded kids clothes)

Monty27 Sun 18-Aug-13 00:07:07

Wear all that stuff, and use all that stuff, that stuffs your cupboards that you bought when you were more wealthy experienced

I can't even afford the reduced meat in Waitrose now grin

omaoma Sun 18-Aug-13 00:10:45

these work for us:
packed lunches for work save at least £20 a week.
Thermos/vacuum cup and supermarket pastries instead of morning Starbucks is another £5 a day
refillable water bottles and thermos for days out (get good ones that don't leak tho!)
one meal a week is fish finger sandwiches or beans on toast. surprisingly tasty and quick!
do internet/grocery shops on a credit card offering cash back (but pay it off immediately so no interest)
quidco or similar for more cash back whenever you buy anything online
haunt the voucher sites so you can still have a day out/treats every so often
ebay for clothes, shoes (often there are pairs worn only once), furniture - or freecycle
aldi or lidl, or online [cheap] supermarket shops for groceries and bulk buys. i have fab urban markets that do veg and fish even cheaper than cheap supermarkets. shopping online is brilliant for budgeting because you can see what you're spending and no impulse/hunger buys.
supermarket ready meals instead of takeaways.
strict budgets for gifts, cards and paper and bulk buy anything nice in sales in advance (i love paper chase). depending on kids ages, make all your birthday cards out of their artworks.
NB growing your own veg is fun and less air miles but you can end up paying more in pots/compost than on supermarket basics.
sainsburys and aldi (i think) do growing salad in a tray for a pound which seems to last a fortnight for us - and if you keep watering it once it's all cut down it grows back!
finally, work out your household and personal monthly budgets and direct debit anything left into a savings account every time you're paid, even if it's just a fiver. send all the cash back into the savings account too, and anything that's left over at the end of the month. focuses the mind and makes saving a game with a nice prize.

WafflyVersatile Sun 18-Aug-13 00:15:15

That is a big paycut. You need to set out a budget for starters.

If your mortgage commitment is very onerous on this new salary is it possible to remortgage to increase your terms to 25 years again to bring down your monthly repayments?

I'm not a financial expert so this might be terrible advice.....

SunnyIntervals Sun 18-Aug-13 08:49:54

Thanks all! We are still in the fixed period for our mortgage - moved into new bigger place recently and I think it's too soon to move as we will would have to pay the redemption penalty for the mortgage and stamp duty.

I am reading everything everyone has said and making careful notes. Thank you all so much!

Budget-wise we of course can't continue with our current expenditure as we will be spending more than the household income. I've calculated a new budget based on dropping sky, gym, halving food spend and eating packed lunches. No meals out, no buying clothes, etc etc - essential items only.

We spent all our savings when dh was out of work, so I do want to save a little back up so we can buy clothes occasionally when needed etc etc.

mameulah Sun 18-Aug-13 10:55:01

Last year I made a gift spread sheet and it saved me a fortune.

Then, over a week or so, I bought everything and wrapped it. I then put them in black bin liners so that the wrapped paper would keep clean and I knew nothing would have been tampered with.

I did this late October because our ds was due mid November. Thank goodness though because he didn't appear until the end of November and I wouldn't have been fit for doing any Christmas shopping.

The best part about this was not wasting money on extra unnecessary bits and pieces, as tempting as all the Christmas goodies are. And you have made a calculated effort to source bargains so the amount you are spending is less than it would be if you were just hitting the shops in December.

mameulah Sun 18-Aug-13 11:00:29

The other thing I am going to start doing is, alongside meal planning is batch cooking twice a week. Then I will try and, every fourth week, feed everyone with (as much as possible) food that we already have in the house.

That should mean we eat during the fourth week for 'free'.

I am hoping to put that money towards Christmas.

And get rid of as many endless unnecessary gifts as possible. I have a friend who each year spends at least £70 on big tins of chocolates for people.

I know this isn't a Christmas thread but Christmas is a huge expense. I always try and think what Martin Money Saver says about making sure you have a Happy New Year and not just a Happy Christmas.

Oh yeah, and don't buy washing powder tablets. Buy bottles and pour half the amount in.

LottienHuw Sun 18-Aug-13 11:22:05

I write menus for the whole month (we are paid monthly) and display on the wall so everyone know what theyre eating everyday.

I shop weekly so I can make use of 'close to use by dates'. I budget a specific amount of money for each week and my menu for the week will be made based on my budget for that week.

I write my list and use mysupermarket to price up my shopping. I write down the current price for my products in the supermarkets then I go to homebargains/lidl/aldi and I buy my products at the cheapest price. It does mean I occasionally have to drive to 2 or 3 shops but I can save around £45 per week by doing this.

Mum2Fergus Sun 18-Aug-13 11:24:15

Totally agree that planning is key. Planning helped me reduce our weekly shopping bill from £100+ to approx £50 with the savings letting me pull together last of house deposit.

I don't work Mondays (well, paid work anyway!), so this is my shopping/cooking day-batch cook and freeze meals for rest of the week. I also try to have a freezer week every month, no cooking/shopping, using only what we have in.

Packed lunches for DP and I save a fortune.

Switched to value/basic brands wherever possible.

Bulk meals with veg, cutting down on meat.

Cut all luxury utilities eg Sky TV, gym, etc.

Shop around when tied in periods are up for mobiles, gas/electric, insurance, etc.

Swapped 2 family cars for 2 wee runabouts, this alone saved nearly £4000 a year!! DP joined a carpool too.

omaoma Sun 18-Aug-13 13:38:32

join a library for films and books or visit your local oxfam, particularly if you are in a nice area (will probably have good clothes then too) smile
shop around for ALL your utilities, broadband, phone, mobile bills (but try to avoid BT! They are the very devil for tie-in contracts).
alter and possibly lower your expectations. do you need the very highest spec of phone or would one or two notches down do? do you both need a data contract or can one of you cope just with calls/texts and using wifi? that'll probably save you £40 pm immediately. there are some very excellent deals on slightly lower models of smartphones without data. mine is about £12 per month, nothing for the handset, still replaces my iPod which died and i can use tintinernet wherever there's free wifi/ DH has a full 3g deal with iPhone which we can both rely on if out and about.
money supermarket is good for advice on utilities etc.

omaoma Sun 18-Aug-13 13:39:20

I just found a green gym in my local park - outdoor gym machines for free! another park does free tai chi in the mornings. much more fun than being inside (in this weather at least) as well

omaoma Sun 18-Aug-13 13:42:20

yy to Mum2Fergus- signing up to Zipcar for occasional use is still miles cheaper than owning a car if there's one near you, even if it seems expensive per hour.
there's also something called whipcar which is even cheaper and involves renting other people's cars.
not great if you can't plan in advance but i worked out we would still save £1000 a year on insurance/upkeep even using Zipcar regularly and hiring one for holidays/visiting people.
actually i worked out using taxis for journeys within 10 miles was still much cheaper than owning a car, espec with the price of petrol

TheFallenNinja Sun 18-Aug-13 13:54:22

I work on the principle that my weekly shop is a battle and in this war it's my duty to spend as little as possible for the things I want.

I regard a supermarket visit as a mugging with a veg aisle, I check the end of all aisles for offers, then go and see if it is actually a good value offer or, as is often the case, there are better regular priced deals.

SunnyIntervals Mon 19-Aug-13 00:38:04

Just reading back through all your great ideas and making a to do list to put them into practice.

A few people asked about the car. Our car is 8 years old but going strong. DH no works in a village 15 mins drive away, but with no public transport links. I think it will be cheapest for me to take him there and back.

SunnyIntervals Mon 19-Aug-13 01:06:08

About to go to bed, so just one final thank you. DH and I have agreed that our Age of Austerity starts tomorrow. I am a bit daunted, but we are still lucky - lucky DH still has a reasonable salary and lucky he has a job at all.

Just started by doing by computer Internet shop and getting the spend down by £40!

thanks to all of you!

HoneyStepMummy Mon 19-Aug-13 14:36:26

A few more tips that may help you out!

- Any clothes that aren't going to be ebayed or donated (such as stained t-shirts) get cut up and used as rags. I use them for pretty much all household cleaning. Once used I put them in a plastic bucket in our laundry room and wash once a week on a hot wash. I barely ever buy paper towels or wipes etc anymore. I use a sponge for washing dishes which I sterilize in the microwave for two minutes once a week.

- I stock up on whatever laundry detergent is on sale. The only difference I notice between the store own brand and the premium brand is the price.

- I use store own brand cleaning supplies and watered down bleach or vinegar in a spray bottle.

- Try switching to using a Mooncup. You'll save a ton on sanpro.

- My DH bought a hair clipper a couple of years ago and cuts his and DS' hair himself. I colour my own hair, do my own nails, use work out videos instead of the gym, make my own sugar scrubs, and do drybrushing and my own facials. BIG savings!

Did you say you are using makeup from five years ago? Makeup harvests bacteria. I would hate for you to get an eye infection from it. I would chuck out any old mascara, it's very cheap to replace. Sharpen any makeup pencils, and chuck out old foundation and lipgloss. For compact powder makeup like face powder or eyeshadow you can scrape off the top layer with a sharp knife. Wash all brushes and applicators with hot soapy water.

HellonHeels Wed 21-Aug-13 14:23:08

Does your DH have a bike? If he could cycle one way every day and you collected him for the other journey that would cut your car use / fuel costs down. Would also be a good replacement for the gym, for your DH anyway!

My main moneysaving tip is to work out the costs of annually-paid items eg car insurance, car service, divide by 12 and SAVE that amount into a separate account every month so at renewal you have the lump sum available.

This kind of longer-term budgeting also works for dental treatment, haircuts, school trips, holidays - work out how much you realistically will need to spend in a year and save a 12th every payday. If you have the money put aside you won't have to use credit cards / overdraft or be left totally short for the month.

Chippychop Wed 21-Aug-13 20:53:32

Definitely menu plan it stops you emergency shopping. Cut down on biscuits - buy once a week and don't restock until the next time.

Try tk max for pressies

LoveSewingBee Wed 21-Aug-13 22:09:07

Start making things yourself (could include biscuits, clothes, presents) and whenever possible fix things when broken (Incl. clothes).

If you start looking at things in a different way, eg how can I make such a thing myself your urge to impulse buy may go.

Look at Pinterest and Martha Stewart for ideas.

Good luck.

Fridayschild Thu 22-Aug-13 21:30:35

Enlist your family to battle Christmas. With my parents, siblings and their spouses we have agreed that each adult will buy only one present for that group. There's nothing secret about it, so you know to ask if you want something special. We also have a top limit. It saves time as well as moneygrin

Children exempt from this scheme!

joanofarchitrave Thu 22-Aug-13 21:52:05

TBH I think making cards, biscuits and clothes nearly always works out more expensive than buying them. Mending clothes is worth it, on the other hand.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Thu 22-Aug-13 22:00:00

Agree completely with joan that making things can often be more expensive. It depends on how good you are, whether you already have a lot of the material/equipment needed and so on. Certainly if you take into account the time spent on it it's often not worth it as a money saving tactic - though making things can of course be very satisfying and it is also potentially a low-cost way to entertain children (baking etc).

We had a household appliance go kaput a few years ago and started working out what our budget should be for a new one - several hundred pounds, we thought. Then I called a repair person from the local paper and they came and fixed it for £30. Definitely pays to look at repairing.

LoveSewingBee Thu 22-Aug-13 23:23:37

Making things can be expensive and can be very cheap depending on how much you can recycle.

For example, if clothes really cannot be fixed, you could use them to make other clothes or a nice bag, backpack, cushion, quilt, bunting, handkerchiefs, etc. I always keep all buttons, recycle zips etc.

For example, this afternoon we got a few cardboxes from a supermarket and used them to make a box and cover for tissue paper boxes. We then covered the box with pieces of wrapping paper and varnished it. Nice present for people who use tissues. Another cheap way of making presents is using paper mache, it is a lot of work but you can make lovely things really cheaply. For my next present, i am going to cover the handles of cheap teaspoons with Fimo clay in nice pattern, I saw it on pinterest, looks really nice.

Making cards does not need to be expensive (although postage may be). You can dry flowers (use ordinary kitchen paper and leave in heavy book wedged in bookshelves for a few months) and glue them to a card or cover card with pieces of different paper, write message with coloured pen, carefully cut out glue on top and varnish, or let kids make drawings and cut these out and glue on card. It really does not need to be expensive.

You can make nice decorations, including beads, with air drying clay. Paint afterwards in bright colours as base layer and then paint small flowers or dots or stripes in contrasting colours, don't forgot to make a hole before they dry so you can make a bracelet. If too heavy, you can use a core of alluminium foil and put clay round it.

So, if you do enjoy these types of things or if your kids enjoy them, it does not need to be expensive.

SunnyIntervals Thu 22-Aug-13 23:43:04

Bee, your presents sound lovely!!

Thanks very much again for all the further good ideas.

MinimalistMommi Fri 23-Aug-13 08:17:11

Any hints on the courgette growing damn?

MinimalistMommi Fri 23-Aug-13 08:38:45

OP, cook double of whatever you make for dinner to have the following night. If you do this over six nights, you only pay for three lots of ingredients rather then six lots of different ingredients. Even though you are doubling the recipe and so buying more, it's still lots cheaper then buying for six separate meals if that makes sense. We often eat the same thing over two night as we do a lot of veg stuff which isn't freezeable.

Also eat as many vegetarian meals as possible as they are MUCH cheaper. For example I can make an organic lentil soup for about £1.00 which serves four! If things get really drastic and you need to cut back more become temporary vegetarians and you will see huge difference in your food bill.

Also make sure you are actually choosing 'budget' meals to cook, it's sounds obvious but some recipes are a lot cheaper then others to cook and buy for. So sit down and add up how much your family favourite cost to actually out n the table and choose the cheap ones. Have a really 'cheap' snack meal once a week too, something easy like cheese in toast with salad to have in front of the telly, or toasted sandwiches...just something simple and very cheap.

Also wen you are shopping in veg aisle check weight of what you're buying! For example, I was in Waitrose the other day buying tomatoes, I actually 'needed' cherry toms according to recipe which were 250 g but when I saw that 450 g of large tomatoes were the same price I chose those. I choose the veg where I get the most 'weight' for my money and I also stock up on frozen peas and frozen sweetcorn. Also choose the cheap veg like carrots and the cheap fruit, make sure you always have plenty of bananas in the house, as they are so cheap. While you're going through hard times, buy apples and pears and oranges and bananas rather than blueberries and strawberries and grapes if that makes sense.

starfishmummy Fri 23-Aug-13 09:28:26

When doubling up on meals make sure the second part is put away before you dish up. If my Dh spots that there is some more he will decide to have "just a little more" and then there isn't enough left for another meal!!

Sunnyshores Fri 23-Aug-13 20:55:46

You've got an amazing attitude and there are some great tips on here, I'm sure you will make huge savings.

I've got a few ideas, not quite as austere, but probably savings from your previous spending habits.

Outlet centres - GapKids, Clarkes, have great savings. I think Sainsburys have the best quality kids clothes of the supermarkets.

Beauty students at colleges do cheap manicures, massages as part of their training- a fun night out with friends albeit in less than glamorous surroundings! Toni & Guy hair salons have model evenings for freebies.

I buy all greetings cards annually from Phoenix cards online - £1 a card

School friends birthday parties - look out for special 2 for 1 type deals in WHSmiths (books, games) or Boots (girlie smellies) and buy in bulk for the year.

Family presents - buy a crate of wine and split. I tend to make up a hamper of foodie items (could make own jam, chutney etc as suggested earlier). Outlet centres again for Molton Brown, Lush, Crabtree...

School uniform - most schools have a second hand shop, even M&S for the basics are cheaper than the school suppliers.

IamMummyhearmeROAR Sat 24-Aug-13 08:13:13

Card Factory for cards- 7 for a £1!

Buy loose washing powder( I only buy brands when half price). I then half the recommended dose

Buy Tesco Value dishwasher tabs, then half them!

Start prepping for Christmas now- a small thing in your trolley every week, whether that's cranberry sauce, jelly, or chocolates if you can resist them till the big day!!

Find your library - I catch up on the glossies when I take dds

Murtette Sat 24-Aug-13 21:52:36

How broke are you? 40% is a huge cut but for some would still mean they have enough for a few "luxuries" whereas for others it would be very much a hand-to-mouth existence. It also depends for how long you think DP will earn this amount - is he likely to go back up to previous salary anytime soon?
When DP lost his job, we immediately reduced the overpayments on our mortgage as, whilst it means we spend more in the long term, it saved us money each month; we kept Sky as its DP who mainly watches it and he was home more than before; I followed the credit crunch and took all the tips from that about using washing powder rather than tablets etc; we reviewed who we gave Xmas and birthday presents from &, after speaking to some of the recipients, cut that back (we were in a stupid cycle with friends where we were each buying the other's DC presents and all the children had too many things anyway); six weeks or so before Xmas & birthdays, I actually sat down & thought about what I/the DC would like/needed &, when asked, allocated something from the list which included (for 3yo DD) hat & gloves, PJs, play doh, colouring stuff & relatives got her annual membership for the local farm.
DP has been back at work for a few months now and whilst a few frivolous items have re-entered our lives, quite a few are gone for good. My bras now come from Sainsburys rather than bravissimo and seem to fit as well if not last quite as long. The majority of DD's clothes now come from S'burys too although this autumn she has a couple of boden & JoJo items too.
I wouldn't bother with growing your own. I have produced 20 pea pods, one courgette and 3 runner beans this year. Luckily, it was supposed to be more about teaching DD about where food comes from rather than us rather than self sufficiency but its been an expensive trial! And I think DD has learned more about the destructive nature of slugs that where food comes from!

Murtette Sat 24-Aug-13 21:54:07

PS what magazine do you read? Annual subscriptions can be a real bargain (red are currently doing 12 issues for £12 if its a gift) and were something I really missed.

apprenticemum Sun 25-Aug-13 09:55:08

Depending on what time of day you shop, the knock down chiller can be a boon. Around mid morning seems to be best. I always grab the mince and freeze it. When I have a large supply, I then have a megga cook up for the freezer. Try this... Loads of onions Sweat off and put aside, Brown the mince and drain the juices off in a cullinder and put the liquid in the fridge. (Some of the cheaper mince is quite fatty so by chilling, you can get the fat off and return the good stuff later) Return onions and mince to pan, add chopped mushrooms (loads to bulk up) tinned toms (buy cheapest unchopped and chop yourself) garlic bay leaves oregano chilli thyme salt & pep, the mince juice and anything else that comes to hand. I sometimes bung a tin of condensed tomato soup if it looks thin and simmer till it looks rich. If I am feeling extravigant I splash out on sun dried tomatoes and chop them in. This is your base which you divide three ways. The first pot up in 2 person portions for Spag Bol.The second make up into Lasangne which will require a cheesy sausce on the top. The third, add more chilli, Kidney beans, Borlotti beans, and any other tinned beans to bulk it up and you have chilli concarne. Freeze the lot and you have something tasty for whenever the cupboard looks a bit bare. I picked up a massive paella pan for the job from a car boot sale and it works a treat.
Also get yourself a slow cooker (I have 3 for bulk cook ups) Cheaper cuts of meat are tenderised by slow cooking. I also add mince to stews to bulk up the beef and go mad with the veg to make the meat go further. I have to say that my family much prefer my cooking to the prepared supermarket meals and I can customise the ingredients to suit our particular tastes.

apprenticemum Sun 25-Aug-13 15:07:19

Oh, I forgot the most important tip. Do your weekly shop on a Monday. When I used to do it on a Thurs or Fri and tended to make impulse treat purchased because the weekend was coming. By swapping to Monday, you are forced to focus on the full weeks requirements rather than the weekend. If you have to pop to the shop for the odd item at the weekend, you are more likely to keep spending to a minimun as you are doing the big shop the next day. I was flabbergasted how much less I spend.

SunnyIntervals Sun 25-Aug-13 16:34:30

Thanks so much for all the further brilliant ideas!

We've had the first 'austerity week' and I've been amazed how much I've been frittering away on coffee, cake and lunches out. Has been hard, but in a way I feel happier with less waste.

We've reduced our spend to a sensible budget each and I'm shopping ahead for gifts for Xmas as otherwise there won't be much going! Managed to do dmil, dsil and DH already. As DS is only 2 and will get loads from others he is only getting one present from us.

SunnyIntervals Sun 25-Aug-13 16:35:04

I didn't fritter this week - I mean, when I stopped and didn't spend I realise how much I've been wasting before blush

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 25-Aug-13 18:23:47

That's brilliant news, well done!

It's not so bad being frugal.

SunnyIntervals Sun 25-Aug-13 18:24:50

Thank you smile

YoungBritishPissArtist Sun 25-Aug-13 18:41:41

Have a look at www.agirlcalledjack.com She had to feed herself and her toddler for £10 a week. The recipes are brilliant! Not sure how big your family is but you could double the recipes where necessary.

fossil971 Sun 25-Aug-13 18:56:50

We are in this situation unfortunately. Came down to earth with a bump grin. I work but DH's income has gone down by 75%. Great thread!

We reviewed all direct debits and have cancelled or not renewed lovefilm, couple of less-favourite charities, English Heritage, travel insurance etc.

The biggest thing is to make a budget and stick to it. Plan meals and all shopping ahead.

Only shop in Aldi for almost everything. And stick to basic stuff there.

Only go out for cheap outings (more of an issue in the summer)

Claimed all expenses that were backed up and paid in any cheques lurking round the house.

Best thing - take a packed lunch or picnic EVERYWHERE. I must have been spending a fortune in the canteen.

Got a smaller, cheaper car and renegotiated insurance (the loan is on our offset mortgage so we can pay it in small bites)

Take £20 less out of the cashpoint and make it last a week

Sorted online banking on my phone so I can always see my balance - rather sobering when tempted in the shops.

Unsubscribed to all my ebay alerts and marketing emails.
Sorted out some stuff to sell on ebay.
Don't take credit card out of house.

Stopped buying toiletries until I've used everything up and going to hairdresser except cheap trim.

Love your breadmaker - you can get lovely Allinsons flour in Aldi and get an Allinsons tin of yeast from somewhere. The main thing is it cuts down on your top-up shops, which are never for "just" bread. And it's a touch of luxury AND you can do two lovely big pizza bases in it too.

apprenticemum Sun 25-Aug-13 19:28:36

I know it sounds a bit sad but I get quite a sense of satisfaction from not being wasteful and making the pennies stretch. I think it does us all good to get a bit of a wake up call from time to time. It sounds like you have the bit between your teeth, rather than whine about your situation you are doing something positive and for that, I aplaud you.smile

fossil971 Sun 25-Aug-13 19:48:34

apprenticemum, I wouldn't feel bad. There are (hardcore) people on the Moneysavingexpert website who've made it their life's mission!

I think with the world changing as it is, we will all be having to be a bit more frugal in the future so we might as well get in some practice.

BlackberrySeason Tue 17-Sep-13 19:26:39

I am the op but have nc!

Just wanted to share how I am getting on in case it inspires anyone else going through similar.

These have been our biggest savings:

We have switched to making all our own bread, which because of our previous over-use of the lovely but pricey local bakery, is saving us £400 per year! The bread is very tasty too!

Neither of us are buying any more lunches to eat which is saving us £1,000 a year. The packed lunches with homemade bread are lovely and healthier - dh is much slimmer and prefers the packed lunches.

Cancelled Sky - going to terrestrial channels only which saved over £400 per year.

Cancelling gym for us all is saving £1,200 per year.

Switching electrical suppliers is saving £75 per year.

Other savings:

Switched to powder rather than liquitabs
Switched a lot of our regular shopping down to cheaper products.
Eating our way through what we've got tucked away in the freezer
Using library instead of buying books
Only using cheaper petrol stations and planning ahead to make sure we fill up at those!!
Planning all Xmas gifts ahead using Reastie'a fab thread!
When we visit people taking homemade cake or bread rather than a bottle of wine - people have reacted with great enthusiasm to this and I may do biscuits for the next few times.
Collecting up and spending our loose change before breaking into notes
Switching lights off every time when leaving rooms
Bought DS's clothes on eBay.

Any further saving ideas fretfully received of course, but thanks so much to you all again for all the tips so far smile

BlackberrySeason Tue 17-Sep-13 19:32:15

Not fretfully - phone blush - gratefully!!

lightningstrikes Tue 17-Sep-13 20:41:19

I have just started batch cooking and freezing with menus from here. It is saving us quite a bit of money and time. Plus I don't have to think about what we are going to eat most of the time as it is just there. I'm totally converted.

everydayaschoolday Thu 19-Sep-13 02:39:47

The autum National Childbirth Trust (NCT) sales are approaching. Google NCT for your nearest groups. You do not have to be a member to sell or buy, and I get lots of good quality clothes at bargain prices for the kids. I'm also a seller, and generally make around £80 at each of the spring and autumn sales. It's good if you need to have a clear out of (decent condition) kids clothing, and especially toys for the autumn sale, as people are buying for christmas.

valiumredhead Fri 20-Sep-13 20:59:05

Aldi - so much cheaper than Tesco. For example their microwave rice pouches are 49p, Tesco own brand is 99p.

Don't mean to be pernickety but if you are watching the pennies why would you buy a microwave rice pouch? Just get a bag of rice for a pound that works out about 10p or less per portion.

stargirl1701 Fri 20-Sep-13 21:16:32

eBay for Polarn O Pyret when you need bigger clothes for your DC.

ancientbuchanan Fri 20-Sep-13 22:03:14

I am no expert but if you need something like a piece of furniture, consider freecycle. We gained hugely from our street handing on games and clothes between young families, bikes too. Everyone learned on the same old tatty bike that changed hands at decreasing amounts.

I use my slow cooker. Cheaper cuts of meat are fine.

Use tinned tomatoes to cook with, much cheaper and no one will notice.

Two concepts, new to you, and make do and mend , pretty much say a lot of it.

But also, get from the library the book food for free, and see what you can get from it. Also from your library discover the places to go that are free, to give yourselves a break. Develop new interests, preferably ones that are free, or only involve travel, bird watching, walking, cycling, star gazing, architecture and art, lots if art galleries are free or v cheap, bell ringing, choirs, whatever.

Think about saving for a holiday. You can do some stay cations but most people like getting away at some point. Think about what gives you pleasure without being expensive. If you enjoy camping that is an option.

Have a money box for spare change.

Start having an emergency fund. A few pounds set aside a week will make you feel better. And bode that is at the level you can cope with, start a savings account.

A revolutionize your present giving. I have just given my ma a lovely Thai silk kimono from a charity shop.. she is in hospital and it made her day. Cost to me, 5 l.. she doesn't know, it's new to her and she is delighted.

Get to know your neighbours. We share garden produce, herbs, baby for got each other, help out on the plumbing. I gave the streets set if drain pipes, but I get the strong chaps to use them or help me on the roof. Saves s fortune in calling people out.

Turn the heating down, put it on first thing in the morning and then half an hour before you come home st night. Wear a vest ( I know) and sweaters. .
Pull the curtains as soon as it gets dark to keep the warmth in. If your house is draughty, get curtains ( eBay obv or charity shop) to hang over doors and make draught excluders.

Hot water bottles. Make your own covers if you need them.

Go to bed sooner...

ancientbuchanan Fri 20-Sep-13 22:04:30

Sorry about spelling, o. Phone.

wrigglebum Sat 21-Sep-13 06:26:48

For bulk purchases of spices, lentils, chickpeas etc, the Asian supermarkets will be much cheaper than even Aldi etc. Going veggie will be cheaper, but if you fancy meat you can really stretch out mince with lentils and/or some oats. Much healthier too.

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