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!
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.
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!
to all of you!
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.
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.
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
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.
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 money
Children exempt from this scheme!
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.
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.
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.
Bee, your presents sound lovely!!
Thanks very much again for all the further good ideas.
Any hints on the courgette growing damn?
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.
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!!
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I didn't fritter this week - I mean, when I stopped and didn't spend I realise how much I've been wasting before
That's brilliant news, well done!
It's not so bad being frugal.
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.
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