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To ask how people afford to live

(130 Posts)
Holly94 Thu 18-Jul-13 14:35:05

I know it's a cheeky thing to ask but struggling to understand how we're going to manage.
I'm 11 weeks pg with our first baby (surprise baby) and I have a 20 hour a week job although most weeks do overtime which means I work full time so earn about £800-900 a month and DP works full time his salary is £17500 per year. That works out to around £2000 a month after tax.
At the moment we live with his parents, we pay £180 a month in rent (that covers both of us, and our food) but are looking to move out. However it's all so expensive sad
We've been looking at properties in the £500 per month range but I have no idea how much bills cost, and then with the added costs of travelling to work etc, food, nappies it all seems like we won't have anything at all left over. Oh and DP has a car finance agreement which costs 200 a month as well as various other outgoings.
How do people manage it?

CheeseFondueRocks Sun 21-Jul-13 12:04:09

Another one here doing an OU degree while having young children at home. They are very helpful and flexible.

iheartshoes Sun 21-Jul-13 11:46:05

Extensions even. I was meant to sit an exam in June but wasn't able to due to dd arriving late and emergency c section throwing my revision plans out the window so they arranged for me to do a re sit this October. I would 100% recommend it. There are quite a few people on mumsnet doing OU degrees I think .

iheartshoes Sun 21-Jul-13 11:44:20

You are assigned a tutor for each module and there are tutorials once a month or so. You are given email
Addy and phone no for tutors who you can ask if you have any problems. Tutors are normally v helpful. There are chat rooms too where you can talk to other students. I love doing my studying I think of it as my "me" time. I'm doing a history degree. They are very understanding in terms of getting assignments done and if you need extensi

AudrinaAdare Sun 21-Jul-13 11:43:26

I used a cold water steriliser for DS' bits and breastpump. Just a cheap blue container made by Milton and some solution. Much easier on the electric bills and keeps things sterile unlike the whizz-bang Avent thing I used to have where are soon as you lift the lid to get out one bottle the whole lot needs doing again. Pointless! And I was always scalding myself in my sleepless state.

Holly94 Sun 21-Jul-13 11:33:55

iheartshoes I have looked into that and can't decide between a 'classic university' or doing the OU. I know it's cheaper for childcare etc, do you struggle with not having a lecturer or anyone on hand to ask when you're stuck on something? Also could I ask what degree you're doing?

iheartshoes Sun 21-Jul-13 11:23:22

holly have you looked into doing your degree with the OU? Definitely worth looking at with a young baby. I never went to Uni and had my little girl at 25 started the degree just before I found out I was pregnant but have been able to carry on. You would get it all funded and my DD is 3 months old now and I do my studying evenings / when DH takes her out. There are some fantastic courses you can do and it would potentially mean you could be degree qualified by the time your LO starts school. This is what I am planning to do so helps with child care issue a bit as you wouldn't have to arrange child care for lectures etc. definitely worth a look. Good luck with it all .

lollystix Sun 21-Jul-13 11:06:31

Can I just add that Lidl nappies are amazing. I only discovered them on my 4th and then emigrated a few months later. But I order European nappies online on the other side of the world and they happen to be the Lidl ones so I am very happy. So cheap and really much better than the other major brands

Ps you don't need half the baby stuff the marketing companies tell you you do. Don't be proud- take all offers of second hand kit as you won't use it for long.

Holly94 Sun 21-Jul-13 10:57:16

applepie my mat pay is also going to be half of what I bring in at the moment so we definitely need to save for that. On the plus side, I won't be paying transport to work everyday for however long I'm off work, so we will make a saving in that area. We keep all our savings in a special account for that to make sure we don't go into them. Sometimes we've needed to dip into them, for example the other week the car needed new tyres and a service unexpectedly due to a problem coming up, and we didn't have the cash available for it, but if we take some out one month we put more in the next to make it up again.

Thank you compos, no it doesn't sound patronising at all! Older people keep telling me 'oh you've got no idea how hard bringing up a child is going to be, you think it's all playing house now but it's going to hit you really hard when you have the baby' and I just think please just leave me alone and let me plan as much as I can so we don't have financial problems on top of everything else that will be going on in February!

ComposHat Sun 21-Jul-13 10:44:44

I hope you don't think I'm being patronising but you comr across as incredibly mature and responsible for someone so young and really well organised. Try mot to worry too much!

applepieinthesky Sun 21-Jul-13 10:18:16

We have a very similar household income to yours. Unfortunately we aren't entitled to tax credits, housing benefit etc as we are over the threshold (26k for one child) but we manage fine.

A few tips for you - save as much as you can before you go on maternity leave. Tax credits etc are calculated on household income for the whole tax year (April-March) so you won't necessarily be entitled to any help. We weren't even though my take home pay more than halved. Use the online calculators to work it out.

Asda and Aldi nappies are absolutely fine. No need to spend twice as much on Pampers. Same goes for clothes - don't spend loads because baby will grow so fast it's not worth it. Stock up on nappies whenever they are on offer, by the time you run out chances are they will be on offer again.

Do a spreadsheet of all your incomings and outgoings. See where you can cut back and if there are things you can go without. It's better to overestimate how much you pay on things than underestimate. Eg don't put down £50 a week for food if its not realistic because then you will leave yourself short at the end of the month.

Pay all important things as soon after payday as possible so you know exactly how much you have left over. I pay rent, council tax, utilities the day I get paid. It means there's not much left but I know that all the important things are covered.

If you have enough money to save then do a standing order each month to a separate savings account. If it's in your current account you might start dipping into it and before you know it it's gone.

Finally congratulations and enjoy your pregnancy. Try not to worry about it too much, it will all work out.

Holly94 Sun 21-Jul-13 09:51:03

Yes I've told him we've got to be very careful and I want to try and keep our food costs when we move out as low as possible so we can put more money aside into our mortgage fund and baby.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 21-Jul-13 08:29:51

lljkk I've never had that problem with Lidl melons. I've always found their fruit and veg cheap and good. Lidl ice cream is amazing.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 21-Jul-13 08:28:08

Oh and the other thing is, nappies. Asda Little Angels are brilliant as are their wipes. I've been told that Aldi nappies are good too. Look out for baby events at supermarkets and stock up.

Don't be surprised though that as your baby gets bigger and starts sleeping longer that your brand of nappy may change as they can start to leak. Nappies are a bit of a personal preference, what works for some won't work for others.

Join Boots for parenting points, they also send you vouchers and I think I got a free weaning kit or something. If you join Asda baby club you get a free box of wipes.

lljkk Sun 21-Jul-13 08:11:48

NCT used to hire out maternity clothes for a pittance. second to that, their Nearly New sales (If one is in your area, typically September so that's handy) are a good place to pick up cheap maternity clothes.

Problem with Lidl melons, they tend to be rock hard and never ripen properly or so ripe that must be eaten within 24 hours.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 21-Jul-13 07:57:22

£2.25 on a melon?! In Lidl they cost 69p!

You do need to make your DH realise how much things cost and how much you can save. I didn't buy from eBay no, I bought from supermarkets. All of DS's baby clothes were from Asda and tesco. I do know people that buy bundles from eBay though and haven't complained about them. To be honest I think supermarket clothes are as cheap. Look in charity shops too. They get given stuff that hasn't been worn.

Don't forget to budget for maternity clothes for you too.

Holly94 Sun 21-Jul-13 05:45:52

Some brilliant advice from everyone, thank you all so much.
Love the idea about using CB money for nappies then putting leftovers into tin for savings for clothes etc.
We've already been given a load of body suits etc from family/friends who decided to buy us a gift when they found out our news. Seen loads of cheap stuff in ASDA like you said too smile
Thank you thisvehicle I have confidence! Went to do a supermarket shop for first time last night to see how we got on and DP wanted silly stuff like spending £2.25 on a melon (made him get the 80p apples instead) and branded squash. We kept to own brand where possible and spent £25 which will cover our lunches for work this week, and our evening meals.

poppingin1 Sun 21-Jul-13 01:10:31

And I also think you should ignore LessMissAbs hmm

poppingin1 Sun 21-Jul-13 01:08:53

Buy everything second hand! I buy all DD's clothes from ebay and I get fantastic quality stuff at great prices that way.Obviously make sure you buy from a seller with good feedback though as some people do scam on baby items which I have experienced, though it has not put me off. I love charity shops too! I just give everything a good wash and 'bob's your uncle!'

Kiddicare is amazing for prices and delivery.

My only major ongoing expenditure for my DD is her shoe's as I personally have problems with my feet so take foot health very seriously. You don't need baby shoe's till they are walking anyway as Audrina pointed out.

My DH was very fussy about buying second hand too until he saw that the items were really nice and genuine bargains. For example, I always buy lots of Baby Gap jeans for DD from Ebay and they are great! On average they cost me about a fiver a pair.

Freecycle is AMAZING!

When I was pregnant there was a lovely lady not far from me who gave away a breast pump, baby bottles, baby bath and various toys and other bits. I have even seen people giving away excess packs of nappies and clothes bundles.

When I'm done with my baby things I will be selling them on and giving things away too.

I do buy onesies and bodysuits new though as they go through a lot of wear. They are very cheap and quite good quality in places like ASDA. I find ASDA great for DD's clothing now she is older too.

Thisvehicleisreversing Sun 21-Jul-13 00:52:23

Me and DH have about the same income as you. We have 2 DS's and rent a £700 a month house. We manage ok. We do have to go without some things (holidays are 4 days in term time and never have expensive clothes and rarely go out)

You'll manage.

We look back at the time we struggled with our unexpected baby in a 1 bed house with next to no money fondly smile

It was the making of us.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 21-Jul-13 00:34:59

I know this isn't a huge amount but I used to use cb money for nappies and milk. Any left over would go into baby money box tin. There was usually enough for new clothes, shoes when older etc.
Most brands were the cheapest, but once walking clarks really are the most economic footwear.
Washing powder tends to be cheaper as non bio.
My friend just got a huge bag of first baby clothes from charity shop, only £3.50 and will keep her going for ages.
I had second hand everything, but bought new mattress.
Car seats, really cheap from argos, buy the one that converts to a booster seat and you can do birth - 10/12 if you need it this long.
You will manage, I keep saying that babies don't cost anything much but nobody believes me. DS1, we were so skint I lined a drawer, it was well sanded and clean. My midwife was mega impressed.

AudrinaAdare Sun 21-Jul-13 00:24:29

So no need to buy second-hand. Supermarket packs are very competitively priced and you'll be binning most of it in the first few months, believe me.

AudrinaAdare Sun 21-Jul-13 00:22:07

Keep it simple. Boy or girl, they will spend 90% of the time in cotton vests and sleep-suits until they are quite old and walking and not napping during the day. I wouldn't want to sleep in waisted actual clothes so I certainly didn't think that my delicate-skinned babies would. One or two "proper" outfits per size is all that's needed.

I spent a fortune pre-having DD on all sorts of beautiful things but by the time she was a couple of months old I just went to the supermarket and bought a pack-of-three pretty pastel but utilitarian things she was comfortable in whenever she had ruined the last lot with milk / poo / food stains.

Baby socks and shoes are also a complete waste of money. They lose them and / or kick them off.

Holly94 Sat 20-Jul-13 23:53:23

Pobble thanks I really want to buy second-hand! Are baby clothes bundles etc off gumtree and eBay any good? DP is being so funny about buying second hand it's doing my head in sad

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 20-Jul-13 23:41:43

Look out for nearly new sales. The Nct run them every few months and you don't have to be a member to go. We've got some great clothes for DS from them and they sell equipment (pushchairs, highchairs, stair gates etc).

Buy clothes for baby from supermarkets. Not only are they cheap but they are actually really nice. The best currently is Sainsburys. They have some lovely baby gro's. Primark do 7 vests for £7. Seeing as in the first few months they'll only be sick on them there's no point spending a fortune.

Look on 'mum' websites, made for mums etc. local people to you will be selling stuff they want to get rid of. Try preloved and eBay too.

The only things you shouldn't buy second hand are car seats and mattresses.

Holly94 Sat 20-Jul-13 23:01:37

Thank you MiddleAge

Compos we are looking into that. We've done a budget spreadsheet and included the car in that so know what we have to work with. Insurance isn't too much as DP is older than me and has been driving a few years. I don't drive and don't really have any intention as I've had tons of lessons, failed tests and just can't do it sad and its too much for me to keep practicing now.

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