Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications, experience, or professional insurance of anyone posting on Mumsnet and cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

How do other people manage?!

(41 Posts)
KatyBeau Sun 25-Nov-12 22:57:45

I am a mother of a 2 year old. I work full time (not my choice) on a salary of £32,000 and my husband works full time and earns £44,000.

Considering that we're not on low paid jobs, I can't work out why we are still struggling financially.

We get around £3800 coming in every month. £1000 goes on nursery, £800 on mortgage. Around £800 goes on bills and £350 goes on food and household supplies. £250 goes on transport, plus the equivalent of around £100 a month goes on car tax and repairs.

Tot it all up and that leaves £500 for savings, clothing, presents etc. Which seems like a lot, but every month we struggle.

We've been lucky enough to be invited on holiday with parents recently for free but otherwise would have no holidays. We make packed lunch every day. We buy supermarket basics brands. I do constant laundry so we can get away with less clothes. I'm on the cheapest mobile phone tariff I could find. For the last 4 years one of our cars has been barely scraping through it's MOT.

I know people who work less or earn less or who have more kids who seem to manage better than we do. They have holidays and don't have to wear scruffy clothes. They get new cars when their current one is rusting. They think nothing of buying a coffee or a magazine. My husband's theory is that lots of people are getting into debt but I find that hard to believe.

Am I missing something? Do I have a skewed, spoilt middle class perception of things?

LadyMaryChristmas Sun 25-Nov-12 22:59:53

Your nursery fees are eye watering for one child. This tends to be the problem. Are you able to get childcare vouchers from work?

KatyBeau Sun 25-Nov-12 23:01:29

That's with childcare vouchers. sad

ssd Sun 25-Nov-12 23:01:53

you must be wasting a hell of a lot of money without even realising it

Viperidae Sun 25-Nov-12 23:04:20

Try writing everything down for a month and analyse it to the last penny. That will tell you where you are spending it and if you need to change anything

maillotjaune Sun 25-Nov-12 23:06:10

Have you done a detailed breakdown of your outgoings? Your £800 in bills sounds high but have you looked at all the individual components?

Nursery fees are not forever - at the moment they are obviously a big chunk of your income but at 3 you will get some funding and by 5 you're down to breakfast / after school care.

I think if you haven't done it already, you and DH need to look at the detail of where your money goes.

Mum2Fergus Sun 25-Nov-12 23:38:52

Break down your expenses and keep a lig of exactly how much goes where. We are in almoat exact same circumstance as you...its only been rhe past couple of months Ive been on a real drive to get back in control. SKY has gone, switched car insurance, meal planning and accounting for every penny.

Its early days but Uve managed to save approx £500 per month.

RedHelenB Mon 26-Nov-12 08:22:55

800 on bills is really high - I've got three kids & it's half that. if not less.

ByTheWay1 Mon 26-Nov-12 08:27:38

Put the credit cards and debit cards away for a month and only spend cash - it really helps to get a handle on where the money is normally going.

And I agree with others - unless you have loans, the bills of £800 sound really high.. ours is less than that with our mortgage and car loan included...

NewNames Mon 26-Nov-12 08:33:50

DP and I are almost on the same financially as you and I panic about the cost of childcare etc. But our rent is £300 more than yours for just a one bed flat, so if we eventually want another bedroom we'll be about £500 worse off that this sad

Like others have said, your bills sound high. Does this include things like credit card bills? If so, make sure you switch to low interest- I think barclaycard have a deal at the moment with zero per cent for over a year on balance transfers. If you have other little debts do you have savings you can pay off?

Can you cut back on the £350 you spend on shopping? If you really wanted to I reckon you could get that down by £100 or so.

Does work do travel card loan or anything like that?

Could you automatically direct 250 per.month into a second account to save?

The remaining 250 could you draw out £60 a week and only spend cash?

maillotjaune Mon 26-Nov-12 09:41:07

If that £800 bills does include credit card payments from older purchases (rather than just things you bought this month and happened to put on credit not debit card) then don't think about saving until you've paid it off.

From what you've said about your husband's comments re debt perhaps you don't have anything outstanding but worth saying in case I've misunderstood.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-Nov-12 09:42:33

I'd recommend a few measures

1. Keep a detailed account of everything you spend from now on...all cash withdrawalls, CC payments, online shopping, direct debits etc. Use a spreadsheet or some software like MS Money to help you work out where the money is going.
2. Get your bank statements and look at each and every direct debit. Make sure you know what each is paying for and work out if it's necessary or unnecessary. If necessary, spend an afternoon with comparison websites and make sure you're getting the cheapest deal possible for utilities, insurance, etc. £800 on bills sounds excessive
3. Pay your savings account first... i.e. put £300 in there the day after you get paid and manage the rest of your money around it.
4. See what energy-saving measures your energy company can offer... energy monitors, insulation, low-energy bulbs etc.
5. Look at trading in your oldest car for a newer model. Higher initial cost but will save you a lot in repairs.

Tweetinat Mon 26-Nov-12 09:55:28

Is the figure right for net income? £3,800 doesn't seem right for a £76k gross. Even after childcare vouchers I'd expect around £4,100 (actually more as I calculated on one lump sum which atttracts higher tax rate than two salaries). Do either of you pay into a pension at source? Are you both On the right tax code? Does you husbands salary go straight into the account or does he transfer a sum from a personal account?

NewNames Mon 26-Nov-12 10:13:04

Your take home should be about £4,600?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-Nov-12 11:12:06

There could be pension and other contributions coming out of the gross salary. Also, any unpaid tax from previous years or any taxable perks could be affecting their tax codes. Having said that, an £800 discrepancy is pretty high and agree that it's worth checking that the calculations are correct.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Mon 26-Nov-12 14:06:52

Go on www.moneysavingexpert.com/ for the best deals and sound advice. They also have a budget planner that helps to work out how much you are spending on what and how you can save.

ThickCut Mon 26-Nov-12 14:33:00

Wow! That is a lot of money, we are on a tiny fraction of that, we have two dc. Come and live in my house for a month, I will show you how to live on 1.7k a month, with everything included, obviously that's my mortgage, bills, food, diesel, transport, clothing, savings, everything! And we don't have any debt.

We work out a yearly budget, how much we can afford to spend on each thing, do essentials first like mortgage x12 etc, then how much we will need for dc and us, that includes shoes clothes, school trips, everything, allocate a set amount to put aside each month, then whatever is left over, divide between holidays (usually about 500 per year, inc spending money) going out fund, Christmas savings, normal savings. Every penny is accounted for. We take out £70 per week for all shopping, household and food, (including nappies and follow on milk)

moneythread Mon 26-Nov-12 20:32:52

OK, we each earn slightly more than you, but here are our outgoings:
Mortgage - 750
Nursery - 1400 (2 kids, full time)
Gas and elec - 65
water - 25
phone 30
mobiles - payg. 10?
CT - 150
Food/nappies/cleaning/kids clothes - 400
Petrol - 150

Which comes to 3K give or take.

We then have annual things - TV licence, 2*MOT, 2* Service, 2* car insurance, house insurance, gym for DH which averages out about £100/month.

The money for the above, and most of the rest go into savings, leaving about £200 in the account for extras each month.

When we need more in the current account - christmas, run of birthdays like we get part way through the year, we shift some back. If we call that lot averages £100/month, on your figures above, you should be able to save £400/month for a holiday.

We actually shift money into the savings account the day after pay day, so we never have it in the account to spend.

We are also really disciplined about putting half each payrise into the savings account (so if we get a pay rise which gives us an extra £20/month, £10 goes into the savings).

How did you manage when on Maternity? Can you make savings by changing to the way you lived then?

HTH

Well thats roughly twice what we have and we dont feel short tbh. Our rent is more than your mortgage and there are 7 of us plus a cat.

Differences are - no childcare costs.
No car - we walk/bike/bus in emergenc (rarely) taxi.
Our bills are about half yours - not sure how!
We spend about the same on food for 7 people and that can easilybe cut months where we feel short £350 a month seems quite high for 3 people?!

And finally - you have £500 left after housing,bills and food has gone?
That makes you very lucky.

Loveweekends10 Tue 27-Nov-12 06:06:28

You earn the same as me and your DH the same as mine. We take home £4100. i dont know where the person gets £4600 from?
You are paying out a lot in childcare costs though. Do you get childcare vouchers. You save a lot in tax then?
I started a spending diary a while ago and it opens your eyes as to what you do pay out.
Go onto moneysavingexpert and do a soa on the debt free threads.
Have you debt repayments? The £800 bills doesn't make sense.

Xenia Tue 27-Nov-12 11:06:11

We ended up with 3 children under 4 and working full time and found a day nanny cheaper but that woudl be an issue to consider when you have if you have a second one.

What we found easier over the years was increasing income and going for better jobs not cutting back. I also used to mark exam papers in "spare time", wrote a book at weekends, took a day's holiday from work and earned some other money and stuff like that and then over the years things got easier and eventually you do not have child care costs so it will get much easier as time goes on. Could either you or your husband keep moving to better paid jobs or start a business in the evenings?

gloucestergirl Thu 29-Nov-12 22:24:47

My partner and I earned far less than you and had no child at the time, but we simply couldn't survive in the UK. At the end of every month the credit card came out for food. We left the UK and moved to Sweden (husband's home land). We left the UK with about 5 grand of debt in overdrafts, loans and credit cards. After a year here, including 6 months of working and over 6 maternity leave. We now have a 5 grand savings. My job was paid the same as in the UK, husband has got a humane wage instead of the pittance he was told he was lucky to get before. Maternity benefit is good here, but not the pot of gold as assumed.

The real difference is bills and cost of accommodation. Our average bills in the UK were at least £700-900 depending on the time of year. Here I pay £400 rent and £100 bills, because it is winter. Once DD is old enough to go to nursery (one year), it will cost £100 a month. I live in fear of having to return home.

I found every gas, electricity, water, bank, phone, tv, transport, insurance company trying to weasel their way into my purse. Look at all these. And remember loyalty is seen as fool and their money now. Also other posters have advised paying in cash - I advise the opposite. I'm like the queen and never carry cash. I only pay with debit card, which with internet banking means you really can analyse exactly where your money is going and who is helping themselves. Good luck!

ssd Sat 01-Dec-12 10:16:38

wow, £100 bills, that's amazing!! and why is it because it is winter, my heating goes through the roof then, am in Scotland and its bloody cold up here, though not as bad as Sweden I'd have assumed!! and it nursery full time at £100 a month? thats amazing

UrsulaBuffay Sat 01-Dec-12 10:28:02

Do you live in London? If not I can't work out why you'd struggle so much on that income sorry.

BabysPointlessPocket Sat 01-Dec-12 11:08:31

I want to move to Sweden grin

specialsubject Sun 02-Dec-12 10:55:45

As others have said, the bills seem very high: my ideas for generous figures for those are

water/sewerage £40 with a meter
electricity: £50
gas/oil £100
TV licence £12
landline/broadband £30
insurance £30

So that's under £300. Even doubling it is still less than you are paying. Am I missing something?

Sky is not an option for anyone without money to burn or a serious football interest. For your mobile, go PAYG with a supermarket one: £10 credit lasts me at least two months.

also clothes don't have to be expensive; nothing wrong with a lot of charity shop stuff and we live in a country with many cheap clothes shops.

£500 'disposable' a month does seem a lot.

do tell more, we're all nosey and love problems like this! smile

jakesmith Sun 02-Dec-12 19:08:24

I'd say you need to look at:
£800 on bills
£1000 on nursery
£800 mort
Are you on a good mortgage deal?
How about your utilities?
And is there an acceptable alternative to the £1000 you are spending a month on nursery? Seems high but not something most would scrimp on. I guess that doesn't go on forever though

suzydelarosa Tue 11-Dec-12 01:10:43

T

suzydelarosa Tue 11-Dec-12 01:24:31

I was on a similar salary as was dh when we had DD who was also in expensive childcare. It was hard to get through each month so I sympathise completely.

Our plan was pretty much to knuckle down until DD got to school. However I'd also recommend avoiding the shops, not buying little things, reducing days out and keeping a max Amt on your spend. Avoid cash machines at all cost!

I would also encourage you to explore council funded daycare. Only after years of private daycare did I realise that the local authority daycare was half the cost! Nuts!

Britain is expensive though and it can be hard to understand how others are managing. My feeling is that some get financial support from families or help in the form of childcare (a huge money saver). Others live in cheaper housing and spend money on clothes and cars. Some did not go into FE and by 30 have been working for half their life do are further ahead. Some live in the pocket of their parents and some live at home.

And let's face it there are those who have lived in council and subsidized housing forever if not for generations even if their income no longer warrants it. And of course there are those who get significant support from the govt in terms of child benefit, tax credits and housing benefit in excess of 1k upwards a month. Remember 10-15% of all households in the uk get housing benefit. Red arrow away but tis the case.

Keep track of all your money and try to work to a cash budget.

suzydelarosa Tue 11-Dec-12 01:42:13

Sorry before I get burned my stats were a bit unspecific. In England 2011 62% of those renting social housing and 24% of those in private renting received housing benefit.

Of the 25million homes in the uk, 1in 10 are private rental, 2 in 10 are social housing. That works out to 3.7 million households or 14.8% hhlds getting housing benefit.

Bluemarlin Tue 11-Dec-12 18:22:51

I was just looking for advice on HMRC child benefits and ended up here. I am also broke but work full time with one child. I am not profligate, but I am now tracking spend for me and partner with Ontrees.co.uk. Has anyone else tried this as a way of monitoring spend?

goldenslumber Thu 13-Dec-12 23:57:36

Price is what you pay, value is what you get! CogitoErgoSometimes' post is good. "Your Money or Your Life" is a great book which develops these ideas further & I really recommend it to you Katy, it will provide a lot of food for thought.

TheSecondComing Fri 14-Dec-12 00:12:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Viviennemary Sat 15-Dec-12 12:37:24

Your bills are very high. But nevertheless after your mortgage and nursery fees are paid you still have £2000 a month to live on. That is a lot of money. I can't see how you are not managing on that. But I do agree with your husband that a lot of people who have new furniture home improvements, new car, nice clothes and so on are just paying for it all on credit. So I certainly wouldn't go down that path in your position.

LadyLapsang Sat 22-Dec-12 11:59:53

£800 on bills sounds really high, must be more than council tax and basic utilities; sounds like you need to break down your spending much more to get a clear idea of where your money goes. Unlike others I don't think the childcare sounds high for full time childcare for a two year old, nursery nurses don't get paid much and unless you want lower quality care with higher child to adult ratios you have to pay a reasonable amount.

Bubblenut Sun 23-Dec-12 20:15:18

I feel the same way as you OP! We are on a fairly similar income but are still skint! I just don't get it! My best friend on benefits just bought a new car!!!!

CabbageLeaves Sun 23-Dec-12 20:27:34

Income is irrelevant unless you consider all necessary outgoings. Mortgage and child care are more than many earn.
£800 on bills seems v steep

Water£15
Gas/electric £140
Tv lic £11 ish
Phone and internet £40
Council £130
Insurances £50?

So less than £400

My mortgage is more than yours but I have small child are costs. I'm a single mum with just child benefit.

I have a 7 yr old car (cost £3300) and pay for mot and service under £250 a year. No bills but I have just bought 4 tyres off Internet. Good tyres for £160 so your monthly costs seem v high esp as you reckon you are paying £250 for transport as well?

Your outgoings need a major review

Bumblequeen Thu 03-Jan-13 11:26:35

I

Bumblequeen Thu 03-Jan-13 11:44:14

Our joint income is £10k less than yours. We also pay £880 towards debt each month.sad Without the debt we would buy take aways/ eat out/go to the theatre/buy clothes in nice shops be more than comfortable.

Childcare fees £534 (includes free 15 hours pw)
Mortgage £1k
Food £250 (includes lunch at work)
Transport £461 (inc petrol & travel card)
Bills & insurance £490

The last few years have been so challenging but we stick to our budget.

Adversecamber Thu 03-Jan-13 14:33:18

Do you take lunch to work? DH used to eat in works canteen. When he stopped he saved 25 quid a week.

I think your food bill is very high as toddlers don't eat that much and I'm guessing they have breakfast, lunch and tea at nursery five days a week.

I would itemise absolutely every bill and look at comparison sites for utilities.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now