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to ask how you budget - need to stop spending extra money!

(72 Posts)
cjt110 Tue 10-May-16 11:45:01

We have a relatively good income of approx 33k between us. Our outgoings are quite low (Our biggest outgoing is approx £357 for nursery fees and the next is our mortgage which is only £250 a month). We seem to spend a fortune on foodstuffs.

We have spent £100 in the last 2 weeks alone (£70ish on a shop and £30ish on bits and fresh stuff).

We have just had our tax credits reassessed and we are lucky enough that our income has increased approx 3k from last year and as such our tax credits have been reduced and we get £93 less a month.

This got me to thinking about budgetting. There are 3 of us - me, dh and ds (21m). DS has a milk allergy so we have to buy soya milk and yoghurts and some free from items to ensure his diet is catered for. Otherwise we just look for foodstuff that just doesn't contain milk. He is still in nappies - we get Asda nappies 120 for £10.

We just seem to be spending lots here and there and it's all adding up.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

soap34 Tue 10-May-16 11:50:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

soap34 Tue 10-May-16 11:51:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cjt110 Tue 10-May-16 11:53:55

Most of our bills are fixed (as above). The only thing we need to reign in is food.

What is a reasonable spend for 3 of us? Seems an age ago DH and I used to spend £40 a fortnight on shopping!!!

soap I find that Aldi has not as much choice perhaps thats why people manage to save so much? and don't sell any free from items.

DubiousCredentials Tue 10-May-16 11:59:34

Aldi have just launched a free from range I think? The lack of choice definitely helps towards low spending, but there is always a choice of products, just not hundreds like you get in Tesco. I still get the shock face at the till when a full trolley comes to £55.

Also work out what you want to spend on food per month and track it. I use an app called Good Budget. You start off with you monthly budget then record all your spending as the month goes on. Really focuses your mind.

Binders1 Tue 10-May-16 11:59:49

I am a single mum and I don't have money to spare/spend but finding it difficult month to month so interested in the advice too.

I tried budgeting, whereby I withdraw a cash amount each week and that's it, once it's gone it's gone. That didn't work too well.

This week, I have started to write a kind of money diary, just writing everything I buy each day and how much it costs rather than looking confused at the balance when the bank statement comes in!

Keep a spending diary of every single penny you spend for a month. At the end of the month you will get an idea of where your discretionary spends are going.

Are you buying lots of fresh stuff which then gets thrown out because it isn't used in time? - if so try a meal plan
Do you buy lots of prepared stuff? - can you batch cook and freeze for those days when you don't have time to cook.
Does your trip to the supermarket involve stopping for a coffee and a cake? (or is that just me wink)
Is Friday night takeaway night? - could it be changed to fakeaway night?

Just some thoughts.

DubiousCredentials Tue 10-May-16 12:01:06

Might just be gluten free special buys they are doing actually.

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 10-May-16 12:02:28

I found it useful to write down everything I was spending money on for a month, then at the end of that month looking over it with an unemotional eye. Adding up all the essential and ll the non-essential spends. Looking at the non-essentials and answering honestly to myself - why did I buy that? Could I have done without it? Was there a cheaper alternative?

Until you know where the money goes, you're not equipped to alter the flow effectively.

And you do need to write down everything - every last penny. Don't approximate, don't commit it to memory to write it down tomorrow. Every penny, as it leaves you. (OK a shop receipt can be written down when you get home.)

cjt110 Tue 10-May-16 12:04:46

DubiousCredentials I will look for their range and also that app. Thanks for the suggestion!

Binders Good idea about the diary,. We used to have a shopping purse with the months worth of cash in and when it's gone it's gone. Maybe I should try that again although I love doing my shopping online

Chazs We have reduced our fresh food because we were finding we were bining old stuff.
Not really on the prepared stuff front - but batch cooking is doable I guess.
I do my shopping online so no cake and coffee! Nor a takeaway either sad

Thanks for all your suggestions - definitely some food for thought no shit pun intended grin

Claraoswald36 Tue 10-May-16 12:07:59

Whst else are you spending on? Go through your online banking and add up every purchase non essential.

One trick for batch cooking is not to give up a whole weekend and cook a million meals but simply make double or triple if you are making something like spagetti bolognese and freeze the extra. It builds up to a reasonable stash over time.

Also look if there are any products you can downgrade from branded (you may already be doing this as you are using Asda's nappies)

OutToGetYou Tue 10-May-16 12:21:30

Aldi do soya and almond milk, not yoghurt though, but a couple of goats cheeses. Not sure about other free from stuff but am sure I've seen that sort of packaging.

We shop there though I don't understand how people always say they spend fifty quid, ours is still around £70pw for three of us. Nearer a hundred if dp does it.
Lot of stuff there is very good views.

With all shopping do a meal plan and use a list. Buy stuff people want to eat. No point buying worthy apples and throwing them away.

Downside of Aldi is they don't have much loose stuff, so better for where you need a whole pack of something than just a couple.

cjt110 Tue 10-May-16 13:39:11

Have spoke with Dh and we will set a budget of so much per month for shopping - draw the cash out and use it and thats it for the month. I said £100 but not sure if this is realistic?

soap34 Tue 10-May-16 13:42:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheCrumpettyTree Tue 10-May-16 13:46:19

Do you meal plan? That saves money as much as I hate it.

ErNope Tue 10-May-16 13:46:29

£100 sounds fine to me but with a specialized diet and a kid in nappies its a tad out of my depth (Since i'm used to spending around 50-65 a month for myself+OH)

cjt110 Tue 10-May-16 13:47:49

The £100 is solely for food shopping. Nappies included, perhaps £10 a month.

cjt110 Tue 10-May-16 13:48:18

We desperately need to try and mealplan but it all falls to me and its such a ballache.

idontlikealdi Tue 10-May-16 13:49:08

£100 pm for food and nappies doesnt sound realistic.

cjt110 Tue 10-May-16 13:59:06

How would I figure out what I need to budget - do a "pretend" shop online at my supermarket with a meal plan?

soap34 Tue 10-May-16 14:10:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

soap34 Tue 10-May-16 14:11:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KindDogsTail Tue 10-May-16 14:12:42


Did you mean £100 per month for food and nappies? If so I can't think that would very possible. With the best will in the world, as you said you had spent £100 in the last two weeks alone, might £100 pm just be too difficult? If it is, that could just throw you off your good plans altogether.

I was not sure your 33k was before or after tax & National insurance?
Do you know how much you have clear after these?

Then, after your mortgage, childcare, electricity/gas, council tax, water rates, landline telephone, mobile telephone, TV, broadband, car?, transport to work.

Then it might be worth looking on The Money Saving Expert to see if there are any utility companies you could change to save you money. Sometimes it could be a few hundred on one utility.

Are you using a drier for baby clothes? Could you use an airer outside at least in the summer?

I think what other posters have said about weekly meal plans, plus making everything yourself, and shopping at a cheaper place sound good.

The spending app and writing everything down would keep you aware too, as others have suggested.

cjt110 Tue 10-May-16 14:17:19

I dont even know where to start.... soap34 would you be kind enough to mentor me?

KindDogsTail no, £100 for food alone. 33k is what HMRC use to base our tax credits assessment on so must be after tax?

I guess I can always give Aldi a try - no harm in seeing how we do is there?

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