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I am clearly doing money very wrong in comparison to 90 per cent of my friends.

(210 Posts)
ComplexPTSDmaybe Tue 18-Aug-20 15:40:53

My new (as of July) monthly take home income is £2580. A rise of £480 (new job that I worked very hard for) Income used to be £2100.

My household bills are £1261.98. Which means I now have £1349.02 for food, petrol and general expenses. I have 3DC's. I am £800 overdrawn. I have slowly got this down from £2600 debit this time last year (thank you lockdown). I do an internet shop weekly that costs about £60. Top ups from farm shop and local coop - prob around £40 per week. Petrol is max £20 per week. My car is 8 years old. My mortgage is reasonable (£460) for a small 3 bed new build. I pay £260 in student loans - my only debt (I have 3 degrees). Only eldest DC and myself have a phone (£50 per month for both).

This summer hols I have taken my DC's to the seaside once, eaten out three times in a pub and two cafes (twice for a birthday, once on day out). We are going on holiday for a week in Ireland, ferry and cheap Air BnB (all paid for). Looking on FB I am do very little in comparison to many - others seem to do lots of eating out, days out, house renovations, garden renovations, new cars, holidays in the UK. Know a fair few of these are on furlough so they will have more opportunity to go out so will seem busier and that is fair.

I think I should be able to afford that level of activity/house/garden improvements with my income but can't seem to stretch it. It seems that stuff always comes up e.g. My dc's birthdays are clustered around this time of year so that is x3 £100 outlay, MOT comes up in summer too £250 ish generally, TV broke so that sets me back. School uniforms in August £250. Then Christmas comes up. I feel like I am always chasing my tail. What am I handling badly? My exH took and handled all the money including my wage so I do feel like I have never really got a grip on it. I really want to start managing my money better - first I want to get rid of the overdraft and feel like the money I earn in a month is mine. Then I would like mine and DC's lifestyle to be a bit better - do more things. My marriage to my ex was awful (broken bones and lots of financial, sexual and psychological abuse). I would like a bit of joy now I am past just surviving. Any ideas?

OP’s posts: |
titchy Tue 18-Aug-20 15:52:21

You're not budgeting for the non-monthly things. You know your kids birthdays/MOT/school uniform all arrive this month - you should be saving £100 a month for them. Sort that now and next year will be a lot easier.

Ted27 Tue 18-Aug-20 15:57:32

Are these single friends or couples?

HilaryBriss Tue 18-Aug-20 15:57:49

Your household bills seem quite expensive if they dont include food and your mortgage is less than £500. What's included in there?

ThistledownAndCobweb Tue 18-Aug-20 16:01:19

Can you try and use one of the bank accounts that lets you put money into pots. For some reason this has helped me hugely in terms of financial organisation.

I use Starling and have lots of different pots - off the top of my head I have Christmas/Birthday pot, Car Repairs, Pets, new boots (saving for an expensive pair) oil (not on mains gas), dentist and optician, holiday, days out, house maintanance, appliances, takeaways and a rainyday pot.
I add anything from £5 to £200 to each pot in a month. Once they are set up and start accumulating it's a great feeling. We recently needed a new washing machine - in the past I'd have been looking for the money - this time I had £500 in the appliance savings so it was stress free.

It took about 12 months for me to feel each savings pot had a decent amount in it. I've just wiped out the holiday one as we've been away but I'll start again ready (hopefully) for next year.

I also pay as much as I can via DD.

joeysapple Tue 18-Aug-20 16:05:29

Can't recommend the software You Need A Budget enough for this.

It's absolutely brilliant and helps you to budget for EVERYTHING. I used to be persistently in my overdraft and this has turned my spending around - never used my overdraft since the day I got it nearly 3 years ago.

Blobby10 Tue 18-Aug-20 16:05:39

ComplexPTSDmaybe I'm feeling the same - what I found was that the I was spending so much more on food than I thought - if I went to the shop for milk I ended up spending £10-15 on crap so I've had to be really strict and allow myself one shop a week. Easier for me as my 3 are adults and only come home for weekends and holidays but I'm still not able to save anything for redecorating or holidays . I'm taking it a month at a time - this month its monitoring the food buying. Next month I will look more closely at the bills and see if I can cut back there .

beautifulxdisasters Tue 18-Aug-20 16:06:59

What's the breakdown of your household bills? Mine are only about 900 and 600 of that is mortgage!

Are your friends in couples? Some of them are probably doing things on credit too.

Also, you know that stuff comes up - your DCs have the same birthday each year. So work out how much all that "stuff" costs and budget for it evenly throughout the year. So 30 a month in a pot for DCs birthday presents, 30 for Christmas etc. That way the outlay doesn't all come at once.

SuzieCarmichael Tue 18-Aug-20 16:08:34

How much maintenance are you getting from your ex ? And you get child benefit presumably? Does your ‘take home’ total include those?

SuzieCarmichael Tue 18-Aug-20 16:09:16

(People who are in couples will naturally have more disposable income because they won’t have the rent and bills of two households to pay for)

Love51 Tue 18-Aug-20 16:10:12

Coming off the back of financial abuse you haven't got a buffer of savings. You earn more than me, but we have 2 adults to your 1-plus-maintenance.
Finally, 3 kids. More than the average 1.8 so more expensive.
Joy? If you have time off work, enjoy the time with your kids!

OnlyFoolsnMothers Tue 18-Aug-20 16:10:53

Need a full breakdown of your bills- something unaccounted for is high.

MsJaneAusten Tue 18-Aug-20 16:11:43

I second the ‘pots’ thing. I switched to Monzo after splitting from STBXH and now have pots for ‘holiday’, ‘house improvements’, ‘unexpected’. I’m about to add ‘gifts’ and ‘school stuff’. By paying a little in each month, I’m feeling much more in control.

Charles11 Tue 18-Aug-20 16:16:00

Make sure all your utility bills are on the lowest tariff available. Go to moneysavingexpert and switch all your bills if you can.
Set up an instant access savings account with your bank and transfer money into it on a direct debit in the day you get paid. Maybe £150 a month
Menu plan and see if you can get your food bills any lower.
Go out with your dcs but find mostly free things to do. Take your own food and drinks.

CassandraCross Tue 18-Aug-20 16:17:48

I think you need to sit down and write a proper budget, £1349.00 after all major outlays - mortgage, council tax, utilities, etc should be more than enough for food and miscellaneous but I think from what you've that you've not included all monthly outgoings into the money out bit.
As a pp said it it seems a bit confused if you are not including your student loan, mortgage, phone etc., in the 'bills that must be paid' side.

Also, do you have the best deals you can on utilities, phone, TV, etc.?

Money Saving Expert are very good at showing how to budget and get the best deals, might be worth a look on their website?

Alternatively, you could list outgoings on here there are several knowledgeable posters who could perhaps help.

MoreListeningLessChatting Tue 18-Aug-20 16:18:32

May I suggest for a month you write every single penny down you spend (no matter what on) they have a look at the end of the month. You may have things you have forgotten since the figures imply that you should have spare money.

flowerycurtain Tue 18-Aug-20 16:19:27

Are the people you're comparing too single? How many kids have they got? Take away one child and add in a second income of 1k a month and things would look v different.

I can't recommend YNAB enough either. It's revolutionised my spending.

Juno231 Tue 18-Aug-20 16:19:39

A good starting point would be a full budget to see where you actually spend your money - it's all the bits and bobs you don't think about that tend to fall through the cracks but accumulate. You can download excel files of your transactions from your online bank account so would be easy to start there.

Then budget for those recurring expenses! Set that money aside monthly.

Also comparison is the thief of joy - these people will have two incomes not one, 2 children instead of 3, years of savings you missed out on due to an abusive relationship and for all we know they're actually living pay cheque to pay cheque with lots of credit card debt.

How much do you have left of your student debt btw, once that's gone that frees up a huge chunk of your salary! Don't forget to save for your pension though smile

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 18-Aug-20 16:26:48

First of all you should congratulate yourself on how far you have come. flowers

Keep working on paying off your debts and build an emergency fund so you don’t have to dip into debt if you have a problem.

I always save for things. All annual bills are divided by 12 and money put away each month. I also save for things like school uniform.

lovelemoncurd Tue 18-Aug-20 16:27:43

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

riotlady Tue 18-Aug-20 16:35:31


...and your sentence construction could also do with some work.

So could your kindness!

OP, I use an app called Emma that links up to my bank accounts and automatically categorises everything I spend into categories, lets me know how much I have left for the month (taking into account planned bills and direct debits) and helps me keep an eye on my budgets. It’s been enormously helpful to see where I’m overspending (takeaways and amazon!) and consciously plan a little more how I’m using my money.

I also agree your monthly bills seem very high given your mortgage is quite low. Do you spend quite a bit on childcare?

fascinated Tue 18-Aug-20 16:35:58


...and your sentence construction could also do with some work.

What’s with this bitchiness?

Polnm Tue 18-Aug-20 16:36:14


...and your sentence construction could also do with some work.


So could yours.

Polly2345 Tue 18-Aug-20 16:43:09

Can't recommend the software You Need A Budget enough for this.

I second this. We used it for a year and it sorted us out.

user1497207191 Tue 18-Aug-20 16:45:13

£40 per week for "top up" shopping is very high. Smaller shops are known to be expensive, so you should only be buying the odd loaf or pint of milk and planning your proper weekly shop for everything else.

£50 per mobile for mobile phones is also high - are they both relatively new phones? If not, you may be able to massively reduce if you get new contracts (same phones) or go PAYG. Some people don't remember when their contract ends so carry on on their old tarriff (phone and calls etc) rather than changing to calls only tarriff which can be as little as £5/£10 per month.

Have you shopped around for cheaper gas & electricity and home phone line/broadband, home insurance etc. If you are on auto renewal or out of contract you could be paying far too much.

Same with Sky/Virgin TV - fees go up and up if you don't lock in to cheaper contracts.

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