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Can you see where we can reduce our outgoings?

(72 Posts)
RedSquash Thu 05-Jun-14 21:00:08

Our outgoings are £1480pm incl bills, shopping, fuel etc. Our income is £1676pm which doesn't give us much wriggle room. I'll breakdown our outgoings below.

If anyone can see where we can shave costs or remove them completely please say and offer help. We're finding it really hard to live.

Car expenses (tax, ins): 80
Tv/broadband/phone: 45
TV licence: 13
Gas/elec: 100
Council tax: 111
Mortgage: 437 (soon to be 480)
Water (metered): 70
CSA (variable): 171
Breakdown: 8Mobile: 22
House insurance: 18
Shopping (incl topups): 300
Petrol: 75
DH work subs: 30

I think that should add up, I do try to be as frugal as possible but it doesn't seem to come down any.

Any advice will be really welcomed

Waggamamma Thu 05-Jun-14 21:05:25

Swap the tv package for freeview and get cheaper broadband, ours is £19 per month with EE.

Other than that I can't see much you can scale back on (yoyr budget is almost identical to ours! ).

RedSquash Thu 05-Jun-14 21:08:38

Thanks! We can't get free view as we don't have an aerial and can't afford to get one up at the moment. I do really resent paying out so much on it.

Nice to know someone with similar outgoings, even if they do seem horrific

RabbitSaysWoof Thu 05-Jun-14 21:08:52

How many ppl in your house?

RabbitSaysWoof Thu 05-Jun-14 21:11:52

Are you with sky? you could get a freesat box? mine was fab, just couldnt record but £30 for basicly same tv package.

RedSquash Thu 05-Jun-14 21:11:55

4, DH and I and the DC

RabbitSaysWoof Thu 05-Jun-14 21:12:54

Sorry obvs ment £30 for the box as a one off cost!

RedSquash Thu 05-Jun-14 21:13:25

Xpost smile we're with Virgin media and don't even have a TIVO box [bitter]

Freesat sounds interesting- what can you get on it?

3boys3dogshelp Thu 05-Jun-14 21:16:36

I agree, get freesat - it takes the signal from your satellite dish so no aeriel needed. We got a box that records and pauses and I really don't miss sky.
Also is that 1 mobile costing £22/month? If so you could save there.
The rest of it looks pretty cheap already :-/.

RabbitSaysWoof Thu 05-Jun-14 21:16:51

All of the freeview channels but I dont think you would save so much if you get the dish put up especially, its more if you have the dish but want to stop paying sky you can plug your freesat box into your existing dish like a freeview box but with the signal still through the sky dish.
Whats that breakdown mobile thing?

3boys3dogshelp Thu 05-Jun-14 21:17:37

Quite a lot - Google it and you'll get a channel list.

hallamoo Thu 05-Jun-14 21:21:00

Water bill seems high, we pay £63 a month and there are 6 of us in a 6 bed house. We all have baths/showers every day, washing machine & dishwasher go on every day.

ameliarose2012 Thu 05-Jun-14 21:21:01

Where do you do your food shopping? We shop at Aldi, and are amazed by what we save! I think our food bill monthly would work out at £160, though we currently only have a 2yo DD. We also meal plan, which means we don't impulse buy, and only buy what we need for that specific week. Nothing is wasted! Would that be an option? xxx

hallamoo Thu 05-Jun-14 21:22:09

Also, are there any journeys you could walk or cycle, to reduce petrol costs?

RabbitSaysWoof Thu 05-Jun-14 21:26:21

Have you check if you are entitled to any tax creds?

Artandco Thu 05-Jun-14 21:28:56

TV - license and sky expensive. Get rid and watch a few things on I player/ 4od if want tv. That's £50 saving easy

Gas/ electric- seems high. We paid £12 gas over 3 months. £70 electric. So £82 a quarter. £20.50 a month v your £100

Mobile - seems high if for one. I pay £12 on O2 for unlimited mins on iPhone. That's after contract finished so phone now owned

Your very lucky with your mortgage though!! Our rent is more than your total spend and only have 1 bedroom

hallamoo Thu 05-Jun-14 21:30:31

Sometimes you can get breakdown cover included with your car insurance, or we do RAC with Tesco clubcard vouchers.

RabbitSaysWoof Thu 05-Jun-14 21:32:41

You still need a tv licence to watch iplayer I think?

PaulMuadDib Thu 05-Jun-14 21:33:44

i threatened to leave virgin for sky and got tivo upgrade, cheaper monthly rate and free installation. try it!

tinkerbellvspredator Thu 05-Jun-14 21:35:35

Your water bill seems very high, 3 of us in our house cost £27 metered.

couldbeanyone Thu 05-Jun-14 21:38:29

Breakdown - you could change this to auto aid which I think is about £38 per year - it's a pay and claim (basically insurance) which is why it is cheaper, see money saving expert.

Gas/elec/water seem v high. We pay £22 per month for water (2adults 1child) and combined gas/elec in region of £60-70. Can you do a price check on what you are paying? Are you using a lot of water somehow?

Food - you don't say where you shop but maybe using lidl or similar would help cut costs (even if just for staples like washing powder which is so good value there, pasta 29p for 500g, cereals are great value, cheese etc)

RedSquash Thu 05-Jun-14 21:39:41

That mobile is just DHs, He's tied in until August unfortunately. Mine is on a separate budget with the CTC (£10pw), I get the CHB paid to me too, that pays for my bus fares and for the DC.

I meal plan a lot and shop at Tesco and Lidl depending on what I need we don't have Aldi here yet so I'm limited to what I can buy. I do meal plan and stick to it, we plan on a Thursday what to buy for the coming week and I do stick to it pretty rigidly. Fruit and veg costs us a small fortune as the DC love it.

I walk where I can as I don't drive and loathe buses. DH has had to use his car for work and taking me to and from hospital for a while.

Our water is SWW and it's extortionate, I do washing daily and all bar DS2 shower with a timer.

Excuse the mammoth post as I'm trying to answer as much as I can!

weatherall Thu 05-Jun-14 21:48:01

£22 on ph

weatherall Thu 05-Jun-14 21:48:31



weatherall Thu 05-Jun-14 21:50:43

Sorry again!

Phone insurance sounds a lot.

I don't pay for it.

Just take my chances.

We don't have contents insurance either.

We don't have water meters here. That sounds a lot.

Waggamamma Thu 05-Jun-14 21:54:01

Have you tried a market or wholesaler for your fruit and veg? My friend does this and her veg is soo cheap compared to tesco prices. We also have a local greengrocer/deli who deliver a massive fruit and veg box for £10. I always thought that would be more expensive that way but it works out really good value.

Waggamamma Thu 05-Jun-14 22:03:57

I see you have a seperate budget might help if you budgetted everything together then people can maybe see other places savings could be made.

Are you both working or just one of you? What age are your dc?

joanofarchitrave Thu 05-Jun-14 22:11:33

water -
Shower every three days/other day with a strip wash in between.
Get in the habit of changing out of 'good' clothes (school, work etc) or wearing aprons etc to reduce your laundry.

fruit and veg -
what can you grow? some stuff is really easy allegedly - I find potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, gooseberries, blackcurrants and even strawberries are genuinely easy, broad beans not bad, runner beans harder work but produce massive amounts, could you get plants/bushes given to you as presents? Also get onto the blackberries on August 1st and store as much as you can. Try and stay seasonal or stick to tinned/frozen if you can't bear it any more.

Artandco Thu 05-Jun-14 22:14:20

No you don't need a TV license for I player unless you are watching something live as it airs.

I would also include all benefits in total income. It's much higher than you show if you include that

hallamoo Thu 05-Jun-14 22:17:43

'Shower every three days with a strip wash inbetween' - ugh, can't think of anything worse, would rather cut costs elsewhere.

Although as I said up thread, your water bill does seem high, we pay less than that for 6 of us.

RedSquash Thu 05-Jun-14 22:32:34

Our mortgage is low and for that I am very thankful, we were given an inheritance which paid off a chunk, we couldn't have afforded this otherwise.

Our house ins is both buildings and contents, but we'd really not lose it where possible. My childhood home flooded and of we didn't have B&C we'd have been scuppered.

We don't have a market locally- it's such a shame. There's a great greengrocer in town that's cheap and lots are locally sourced

I'm a SAHM but looking to restart my degree soon. My DC are 7 and 2 and we all change into house clothes when we get in. DS2 is still in the grubby toddler stage unfortunately and I cloth nappy and that bumps up water usage.
South West water prices are extortionate: unmetered rates are shock

We grow lots in our borders- potatoes, peas, onions, spinach, carrots, runner beans, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackcurrant, rhubarb. Love seasonal produce we only have narrow borders but we've packed a lot in. Our front border is laid out to herbs.

fairyfuckwings Thu 05-Jun-14 22:36:54

I know this isn't what you asked - but is there any way you could increase your income? The MSE forum is very good on tips for this.

If I were you I'd do a "two pronged" approach. Do as you. are in trying to reduce expexpenditure whilst also trying to bring on more income.

fairyfuckwings Thu 05-Jun-14 22:38:44

Sorry about typos - fat fingers on phone!

MummyKnight Thu 05-Jun-14 22:49:27

See if you can switch energy providers, we pay £76/month for gas & electric for three of us in a 2 bed house. You could also try swapping down one brand in the supermarket eg if you buy own brand try value version instead. Also check to see if you are missing out on any benefits you are entitled to, you never know you could be missing out extra income.
Good luck, I hope you can make some savings.

RedSquash Thu 05-Jun-14 23:00:47

I am trying to find work that I can do around DHs shifts so that I can cut costs as childcare would outstrip wages. I am trying to sell everything I can too. Will have a look at MSE and see what's there. Thanks!

My 'personal' finances per month are:
CTC: £40


Swimming lessons: £50ish
Mobile: £19
DC climbing: £40
Monthly toddler classes: £6
School lunch: £10
Travel: £20

DS1 has Cricket club but thankfully it's a one off payment and he doesn't need kit yet!

I've not added any clothing/school subs expenses as they vary so widely each month.

I will cut my phone back once I'm out of contract, the phones are our only Internet access at the moment as our laptops have both died and can't afford to replace yet. smile

Thanks for everyone's help and advice thanks

Quangle Thu 05-Jun-14 23:28:47

Agree that water is v high. I pay about 300 pa on a meter. Three of us - dishwasher and washing machine every day almost and a shower every day for me and the DCs share a bath when I can be bothered.

Is it leaking somewhere invisible ? Are you watering the garden? Inefficient washing machine?

RedSquash Thu 05-Jun-14 23:36:05

All White goods are under 3y/o as they all died within a few months of each other. We have a new boiler too to reduce water usage. Our house is over 3 floors and we have 11 radiators so that's contributing to the cost.

There's no leak between the meter and house that we can see. Our old house was half the size and we paid £50pm. SWW is really expensive- we pay for the coastline. We also have water butts where possible and toilets use the minimum water we can get away with. I even use the water left in drinks bottles to water the houseplants.

We paid half the water rates in the SE and that wasn't metered!

Quangle Thu 05-Jun-14 23:37:48

Can't see if you are on a water meter or not but it's usually cheaper to be and if you can't be for some reason they have to put you on an payment schedule that is usually cheaper than the ratable value version of your water bill.

I have a flat that I rent out (2bed ) and Thames water were charging more for the water bill there with one person resident than for my metered three bed house with 3 of us and with washing machine and dishwasher going every day and garden to water. It's because the flat isn't meterable so they basically just send you a massive bill until you request to go on this special tariff based on average use for equivalent households.

Quangle Thu 05-Jun-14 23:38:54

Sorry x post. Horrified by SW water!

Lioninthesun Thu 05-Jun-14 23:40:05

Are the DC old enough to do a paper round or wash cars at weekends? I know it sounds like it won't help much, but if they could get enough to cover some fruit and veg and their 'treats' from the shopping it could help?

fairyfuckwings Fri 06-Jun-14 01:40:12

Do definitely go on mse. They have a board (I think) juston how to increase your income. I've not been on it for a while myself but some of the tips I remember are:
Quidco, ebay, clicks, surveys etc.

There will be loads more. It's things you can do outside the obvious paid work. And some of it (such as quidco) is basically money for nothing. So it all helps!

Monty27 Fri 06-Jun-14 01:53:17

TV a nd mobile too expensive, try and change that. See if you can change or even upgrade your bank account to get free things like insurance on breakdown or anything.

Packed lunches and free leisure pursuits are what I see from your last post.

I and many above feel your pain.

smellyfishead Fri 06-Jun-14 02:50:26

Nothing to add other than be careful of breakdown cover that's attached to mobile contract or banking, most of them have very tight clauses- eg a five mile tow rule, so they tow you to the nearest garage but their obligation ends there.

Always read the smallprint and t&cs

RedSquash Fri 06-Jun-14 09:22:54


DC are only 2 and 7 so not quite at the earning potential age just yet. Will be getting DS1 to help with the older neighbours but it's not a paid thing.

There's not much in the way of free leisure activities here apart from the beach- which we make good use of when it's dry.
The local youth centre has been closed down so the main cheap leisure activities have been lost. It's so frustrating.

Our bank gives ys free travel insurance but we've never used it and it's not worth the paper it's written on. It expires for good in September now but we're needing to change banks with mortgage lenders.

Ds1 only has one school lunch a week, on days when he has swimming lessons to save on me cooking when we get home.

I was just looking at a new mobile contract- they're so expensive if you need a new handset. It's a lot more than I'm paying now like for like. It's shocked me!

House insurance is due up next month so am going to try and cut that down if I can.

I appreciate all the advice here. Lots of food fpr thought!

Waggamamma Fri 06-Jun-14 11:23:23

Your Swimming lessons seem expensive, ours are £35 for ten weeks, perhaps you can cheaper ones if you try council pools?

Also £40pm on climbing seems extravagant when you're struggling.

Littlepinkpear Fri 06-Jun-14 11:34:13

Have you had a mortgage review with a no fee broker? It might not mean your costs go up - they have deals the banks don't and will be able to get you very cheap life insurance.

Also, have you used the tesco delivery options that give you x off a shop etc?

Would you be cheaper send DC1 to cubs or scouts than climbing?

PomeralLights Fri 06-Jun-14 11:45:27

It won't warn you loads but have you considered switching to a Santander 123 account as your bill-paying account? The monthly fee is £2 but we earn more than that in cash back and with water and gas/elec fees as high as yours I imagine you'd do well out of it?
Also we have the 123 credit card which we use only for groceries and petrol, again you get cash back, and you can link it to your 123 current account so it's unto sticky paid off in full every month. Makes checking bank balance etc bit more difficult as you have to mentally keep a tally of your spending.
Between the current account and credit card we get about £20 a month cash back net of fees - not loads, but it's money for nothing!

PomeralLights Fri 06-Jun-14 11:47:36

warn = earn
unto sticky = automatically

Stupid autocorrect

beccajoh Fri 06-Jun-14 11:59:13

Do you need an all singing all dancing mobile? Really think about it - if you do absolutely need mobile internet when out and about then fair enough. If you don't then get a cheap handset (I've got Nokia 105, £20, no internet) and use PAYG. I use giffgaff.

BerylStreep Fri 06-Jun-14 12:16:27

I would review the need to spend £90 a month on swimming and climbing for your eldest.

I spend £40 / month on activities for both my children together, and I'm not trying to economise.

RedSquash Fri 06-Jun-14 14:51:02

The climbing are for both DC- both do sessions once a week. DS1 needs the help to work on his upper body strength and his coordination. It's really helping him, it is a lot to pay out though I admit. Swimming is at the only pool I can access without spending £6 on bus fares. The local leisure centre is a similar cost too. sad
We can't access the cubs here as I can't get to their meetings when DH isn't here. It's so frustrating that were so reliant on DH and his driving. The buses stop at 7. It's one of the downsides to being in a small town.

While I probably don't need an all singing all dancing phone it is the only form of Internet access I have at the moment so I'm loathe to give it up. I use the GPS when I go walking/running so I can track myself.

The mortgage increase is a given as we need to add £5000 onto the mortgage to pay off the new roof. We loaned from family so need to pay that back. The rate is fixed at 2.99 for two years which we thought was very competitive. It has no product fees so it seems a good all-rounder.

I've never heard of a fee- free broker before. Will have to see if there's something here.

beccajoh Fri 06-Jun-14 16:06:59

Our IFA usually gets commission from the banks/insurance companies, but occasionally he doesn't and charges a small fee in those circumstances. Your mortgage deal sounds good.

Monty27 Sun 08-Jun-14 00:00:31

Buy ds weights or something if he needs the climbing for health reasons, or even your own God forbid you get help from NHS????

I do feel your pain, but some of your outgoings are fairly easily reduced.

Good luck flowers

weatherall Sun 08-Jun-14 11:57:03

Why does your 7yo need help with upper body strength and co ordination?

If he has a medical problem the gp should be helping and referring him to NHS physio.

If not then swimming and soft plays are enough.

RabbitSaysWoof Sun 08-Jun-14 22:26:21

I had a water leak in a flat I used to live in the bills were through the roof and I just thought I must be using alot, it was so simple to discover there was actually a leak the water company recommended i do the test.
I got a £200 rebate and my bills fell significantly.

specialsubject Mon 09-Jun-14 15:37:17

insurance is not optional. Shop around at each renewal but you would be INSANE not to have buildings and contents insurance.

I don't see allowance for car repairs and maintenance. Again, shop around at each insurance renewal.

water: showers should be five mins max. Share bath water. Dishwasher (if you have one) is more economical than hand washing up. Don't run water to wash every odd item, let the washing up pile up and do it once a day.

petrol; look at your driving style - if you brake/accelerate/brake the whole time like so many stupid buggers you are wasting gallons. No car journey shorter than two miles if no-one is disabled. Combine errands. Don't carry clutter about. If you have easy access to fuel stations, operate on a half tank as petrol costs petrol to carry about.

and Tesco £1 delivery is a great petrol-saver!

I have unlimited broadband with BT (you pay for 10GB and use the FON) for £30 a month inc the line rental. I have unlimited calls, you may not want that. No smartphone needed.

have you looked at switching your fuel supplier for gas/electric?


weatherall Mon 09-Jun-14 15:52:43

It's not insane not to have contents insurance and I resent an insulting comment like that.

Lots of people don't have can't afford contents ins.

I calculated how much the premiums would cost over 40 years. They were much more than the average claim. Even if we had a total fire where everything was destroyed it would cost less to replace than the cost of the premiums. And the chances of that actually happening are very low.

The other risk is burglary, which is less common now than in previous decades. If someone broke in here there is nothing much worth stealing. Neither of the tvs works properly. My phone is always on me anyway and wouldn't be covered.

It's a very British thing to have so much insurance- other cultures don't obsess over it so much.

specialsubject Mon 09-Jun-14 16:24:01

your call, weatherall. If you can afford to replace everything, that's fine.

but I've recently done my insurance renewals and even for a 3-bed house which is furnished from those famous designer emporia - ebay, second-hand shops, B and M etc etc - (and quite happy with that, thank you), I would still be looking at £45k if the whole place was hit. Also quite keen to have cover for the electronics in case of burglary; and I don't have much of that. So it seems well worth my total insurance premium of £200-odd.

When I lived in a small one bed rental it still seemed worth a few quid a month for contents insurance, to cover the risk of losing £5k-odd of stuff.

I quite like having things to sit on, light fittings, things to cook with, clothing etc etc etc so I insure it.

specialsubject Mon 09-Jun-14 16:24:29

ps if you don't have buildings insurance and the place burns down, that doesn't invalidate the mortgage.

PinkSquash Mon 09-Jun-14 17:54:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

weatherall Mon 09-Jun-14 20:26:12

Special- c

weatherall Mon 09-Jun-14 20:28:35

Contents insurance is very different from buildings.

No one should be naive enought to think that having insurance will mean your £45k of stuff will be magically replaced the next day.

My experience of insurance claims is that they begrudge you every penny. Will make you wait for years. And will never replace everything.

I check my fire alarm regularly.

Supermum222 Sat 14-Jun-14 21:33:31

Water seems expensive. We are a family of 4 and we are not on a meter. We pay £42 a month. Kids have a bath most days and washing machine is on daily!
Your Sky is cheaper than ours by a bit, we pay £52.

LynetteScavo Sat 14-Jun-14 21:49:45

There was a thread earlier this week about water bills, and apparently is varies widely from area to area.

I pay £70pm for water.

ATM we're not paying building or contents insurance, but I feel the need to life insurance. Together DH and I could cope with losing our house/possesions, (hey, we will camp in the garden if the house burns down wink) but individually, if one of us died, we need to guarantee we have a secure place to live.

LynetteScavo Sat 14-Jun-14 21:51:07

And I don't think you can cut down on the basics such as council tax, water tv licence.

Maybe electricity/gas....but I have being cold, and would rather go with out entertainment/treets than be cold.

LynetteScavo Sat 14-Jun-14 21:51:20

have = hate

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 16-Jun-14 08:29:40

I would look at reducing the electric, gas & water usage.

I claim all the free water saving stuff off the water board, it all adds up over the year.

We don't heat rooms we aren't in, so in the winter I will heat the lounge during the day, the kitchen when dh comes in and the bedroom half an hour before bed. I keep all the door shut and only heat bathrooms while someone is having a bath etc.

The biggest saving was upping the loft insulation to 270mm & not putting anything in the loft. If you squash lagging down it loses efficacy.

If you have a hot water tank turn the thermostat to 55, lots are set at 70 which is expensive.

There's offers on at the minute to get free lagging or cavity wall insulation, usually it involves you having an un insulated loft.

specialsubject Mon 16-Jun-14 10:33:45

lynette you can cope with losing the house???? You are happy to continue paying a mortgage on a ruin? You are happy to risk losing what must be at least £100k if you own the place outright?


what is this FON re broadband. my lap top kept converting to that but it is not secure.?

I changed my council tax to over 12 months, instead of 10 which it was initially.

I can't afford insurance either. you are not alone.

specialsubject Mon 16-Jun-14 11:51:11

I would not expect insurance to replace everything the next day. But if my house burns down I would like it rebuilt at some stage, and to have something inside it.

luckily only one claim so far, a burglary. And no, insurance does not replace everything.

on the different subject of BT FON; no more or less secure than any other wi-fi.

annielostit Mon 16-Jun-14 16:41:26

Its not just your house buildings ins can cover its damage to the adjoining property (if there's one). Surely that's more important than broadband/mobile phones. Even though money's a bit tight. Our mortgage would be called in if we didn't have insurance.

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