DH 40% pay cut - advice for household savings?(88 Posts)
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!
I'd say you need to rebudget with the new income in mind. Then and only then make the changes you need to make.
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.
Lots of good ideas here OP, recommend you pop over to the Credit Crunch threads under Money...loads more ideas and support there too ...
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
No advice but can I give you a for being so upbeat and positive- and here's hoping things get even better for you soon.
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.
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.
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)
Wear all that stuff, and use all that stuff, that stuffs your cupboards that you bought when you were more wealthy
I can't even afford the reduced meat in Waitrose now
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.
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.....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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.
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