To feel like I'm cursing through sludge. Uphill.(10 Posts)
Bit of a Wilfred Owen reference there and of course it's nothing as horrific as WW1.
However, finances are really starting to get me down. After a long period of instability things should be fine now, but they aren't and every month I've had a huge bill to pay which has left me short in weeks 3 and 4. I feel awful as DC1 has been so bored during half term but it's been the last week of the month and I just haven't been able to afford anything.
Does everyone live like this - just struggling and scraping throug - or is there a secret? None of my friends seem to struggle like me although i am conscious that I just wouldn't know ...
You need to get on top of what you're spending and what you're expecting. Were these huge bills things you could have anticipated? Have you gone through all your utility spending recently and made sure you're getting the best deal?
The moneysavingexpert site has amazing advice on how to get on top of your finances.
My 'secret' is that I watch the pennies/pounds. It all adds up. If I said 'save£1000 a year' that's quite a tall order, but 10 ways to save £100 per year - easier, or how about 100 ways to save £10 a year? We're constantly bombarded with messages about what we 'need' when we don't need them at all. Take cleaning products - when my last bottle of kitchen cleaner ran out, I just filled it with water and washing up liquid. It cleans surfaces as well as anything. I've been spending £1 a month on that. So immediately that's £10 a year saved. Notching down a mobile contract - even if it's just down 1 level could be another £20 a year.
Do you have a mortgage? If so, when did you last remortgage? There's loads to be saved by making sure you're on the lowest rate.
No mortgage. Some bills were expected but from a period where we had very little money coming in, so I've had to be addressing these, which is difficult.
I really recommend the MSE money makeover www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/money-help it will help you plan your finances over a year, see where you can cut down etc. It may take a few hours, but it should provide lots of clarity and help you get a really good plan together.
I take out my monthly 'spends' in cash at the start of the month. It's easy to spend a couple of quid here and there on plastic, with cash you're more aware when the money is dwindling away.
Search 'free things to do + county name' and there will be lots of things you can do with children- my DD is only 3 but is just as happy with a trip to the park, picnic, collecting leaves etc as a day out, all it costs is petrol and occasionally parking.
I shop at lidl as much as possible, shop around for energy, insurance etc, have a sim only mobile contract.
Have you actually worked out a budget so you can see where you need to spend money and highlight where you might be able to cut back?
Might try the detergent trick Mrscog!
OP I sympathise. It's up and down for us. I'm not sure if you're low income? If so, are there any free/cheap kids' activities subsidised by your local council? Varies wildly based on where you live.
I agree wholeheartedly with the idea
of looking at where you can save. We have saved so much on food at times. It depends on your DCs' ages but for mine, the biggest treat of all is baking cupcakes together. It's not free, but it's not like paying for a day out. Mix up and bake the cupcakes (in advance if your kids are as young as mine and can't wait), then decorate them together. Decorating skills not required! £2 on sweets etc for decoration and mine are in heaven. We don't use them all, either.
Another food + entertainment option is baking pizza together. I get to make the bases, lucky me (not hard to do though) and chop the ingredients, then the children top the pizzas.
Apologies if your budget is even tighter than that, or your DCs are too old for it, but those are a few things that work for us.
Oh and LOTS of people live on credit. You'd be really surprised (I have been). I dare say many of our friends/family would be shocked to see how little money we have. But we just don't feel short of money (mostly), we do have splurges, but we mostly get by on not too much.
How old is your DC1? It's not always bad for DC to be bored! You could look on Pinterest for ideas of free/cheap things to do at home. rainydays ideas are good too.
Thanks - kids are unfortunately past the stage of cupcakes and country parks those were the days! They don't complain, I just feel bad.
I found that anticipating big bills annually or even ten-yearly (new boiler, worst case scenario) and saving little bits of money into separate pots helps enormously. It was hard the first year, which is where the MSE money makeover comes in to free up some cash.
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