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to have assumed that a 100k salary in London would mean we would be more comfortable than we are?

(248 Posts)
Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 12:08:16

I've been prompted to post this after reading the post about high earners and the two schools of thought that 100k either "isn't that much when you live in London" or "It's a lot compared to the average national salary". That post is here:

So, the backstory is that we started a family unexpectedly in our early twenties and abruptly adjusted to a household income of £26k, living in London. We stuck to a grocery bill of £40 per week for a family of three, and never spent a penny on small luxuries like coffees, clothes, haircuts, etc. Even so, our household income wasn't enough to cover our mortgage (£800 per month and cheaper than renting), and all the usual bills and outgoings. We slowly sunk into debt just to cover a pretty frugal standard of living. After 5 years, this debt was at £25, so essentially we needed to earn at least 30k to even out our costs.

During the last year of this, my partner landed a higher paying job, and our area of London had had a bit of a boom, meaning we could afford to move our family out of our flat to a 3 bed terrace house in the same area, taking some of the equity to zero our debt.

Over the next years, our household income grew to around £100k, give or take. (My partner has a commission based job so we never quite know what the exact figure is going to be, but it's usually just over or just under 100k).

We live in one of the last remaining affordable areas of London. Our house is valued at £450k. Mortgage repayment is approx £1300 per month. No other huge costs apart from running one family car. We have three children. On a household wage of approx £100k, we can now comfortably pay our mortgage, and live a much happier day to day lifestyle in that I don't feel guilty any more about booking in a haircut or buying a coffee.

We are so relieved to be out of the hole we were in financially, and I don't see £100k in our area of London as a struggle at all - there are many people earning less where we live.

But, I will confess to assuming that it would mean we could afford more than we actually can in reality. For instance, we have found that we aren't able to accrue any meaningful savings - maybe £150 a month which tends to get eaten up very quickly as an 'emergency costs' fund. And holidays abroad are beyond us. We tend to be able to save for one once every three years and the other years we do UK camping holidays.

Previously to earning £100k a year, I did assume that holidays and savings wouldn't be a problem. How do other people with similar earnings and outgoings make it work in terms of saving for luxuries like holidays etc? Do you find you can comfortably afford to save AND go on holiday? Do you substitute one for the other? Do you find it easy enough to live on 100k or do you find it a balancing act to cover everything you would like from your lifestyle?

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 12:10:20

Forgot to mention childcare costs for my youngest at around £300 per month.

EmrysAtticus Thu 18-Apr-19 12:10:25

Are your children still at the childcare stage?

EmrysAtticus Thu 18-Apr-19 12:11:15

Ah cross post! I think the fact that you have three children will be costing a lot. We could manage holidays and savings on your income but we only have one child!

NameChangeNugget Thu 18-Apr-19 12:12:58

100k is not huge for London.


QforCucumber Thu 18-Apr-19 12:13:21

I guess it depends on what goes out and what you're prepared to forgo.

We earn between us in 2 full time jobs half of your household income - however our mortgage is also half of yours. We still pay for, outright, an abroad holiday every year with our 3 year old as this is a priority for us. This years is in 3 weeks and cost us £1400 for all 3 all inclusive for a week - that's £110 a month into holiday savings - we do also put our own xmas/birthday money towards this too. We don't pay for Sky Tv etc and have small mobile packages of £17 each ish. DH has no commuting costs as uses a work van and I use approx £25 a week in petrol - granted these things really help.

IceRebel Thu 18-Apr-19 12:13:23

So you have no debts, £1300 mortgage per month, and general car / family expenses?

I would sit down and work out your monthly expenditure as not being able to save each month on 100K wage seems unlikely. I suspect there are lots of areas you could cut back on, food, eating out, expensive Tv / phone packages.

QforCucumber Thu 18-Apr-19 12:13:54

but yes - we do this with one child - I don't know if we still could with 3!

Historydweeb Thu 18-Apr-19 12:14:40

I earn literally about 600 quid a month and unable to get working tax credits as I can't find enough hours in my rural area. I'm taxed at 20% on my second job even though it's minimum wage and I'm looking for a third. I'm a graduate with a good degree. I was widowed at 26 leaving me with a young daughter. Please dont mind if I'm not crying a river for you on 100k. Ffs mumsnet blows my mind some days

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 12:14:45

@EmrysAtticus I think amount of children definitely makes a difference there. We always look for self catered houses rather than hotel stays to save on costs, but add on flights for a family of 5 and the average summer holiday for a week in Europe usually ends up somewhere between £3-4k for us.

SardineJam Thu 18-Apr-19 12:15:05

I think that when we think of the 100k salary we forget about the net/take home pay after taxes, NI and pension contributions. The higher rate tax bracket definitely eats into the earnings...

missyB1 Thu 18-Apr-19 12:18:15

It’s true that it’s all relative depending on where you live. We are in a town that is not far off London prices, my dh earns about 100k and we certainly can’t live a lavish lifestyle on that. We drive a 10 year old banger of a car and like you can’t afford holidays abroad every year. Our mortgage is big even though our house is average size, and not even in the best area.
So I know what you mean about the expectations of having that kind of income, I find the reality is quite different.

PettyContractor Thu 18-Apr-19 12:19:03

I'd be curious to see a budget. I'd guess 100K a year works out at about 5.5K after tax, so you have 4K after housing and childcare. Where is that 4K going? You should be able to live on 2K, easily.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Thu 18-Apr-19 12:19:28

Your mortgage payments seem high OP.
My income is just over half yours, again live in one of the "cheaper " parts of london, my toddler childcare costs for just 2.5days a wk are over £700 a month, I wouldnt say Im living in luxury but nor do i struggle with an unexpected bill.

QforCucumber Thu 18-Apr-19 12:19:56

@Historydweeb you need to speak with HMRC to get your tax code split between the 2 jobs then you won't be taxed the 20%. At £600 a month you're well under the PAYE threshold

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 18-Apr-19 12:20:35

What's your take home pay?

How much you end up with out of £100k will vary quite a lot. If you both earn £50k you will have quite a bit more than if most of the money is earnt by one person due to the effect of tax and loss of child benefit.

Like IceRebel suggests* there migh be areas you can cut back, and a few 'hidden luxuries' might have crept in, that you have started to see as normal basic expenditure.
A systematic way of reviewing your finances can be found here.

It can be worth doing, because if there is a lot of slack and free spending, it could be easy to free up a few hundred pounds a month, which would be great for savings and holidays.

Of course, it could also be that expenses like council tax etc have increased, and more of your money is going on essentials.

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 12:21:55

@historydweeb I am really sorry about your circumstances and that you are struggling with work and financially.

I am not complaining about what we earn. We have been in much worse financial circumstances than we are now, so we are really happy to be financially comfortable and don't take it for granted. But these earnings are new territory for us, and I'm genuinely interested to hear what others with similar finances and expenses choose to prioritise. No one talks about money in real life.

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Thu 18-Apr-19 12:22:21

You’re bringing in around £5500 a month, pay out £1300 mortgage and £300 childcare plus normal household expenses but can only save £150 a month?

Was the £300 a month a typo and that should be £3000? Because otherwise I’m sorry I’m struggling a little bit to see why you can’t just adjust your spending and save more?

I consider myself on a good wage of £38k, and while my mortgage is a lot less I also have £25k of debt I’m trying to pay down. Plus three kids. I’m not saving at the moment but I really don’t understand why you aren’t?

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Thu 18-Apr-19 12:23:47

(I assumed the £100k was one salary and used to work it out)

ACPC Thu 18-Apr-19 12:24:12

I think it is very sad that the world's cities are becoming playgrounds for the rich. They lose all vibrancy and charm.

NoBaggyPants Thu 18-Apr-19 12:25:54

@Historydweeb You might be one of the few people that benefit from the change to Universal Credit. Contact CAB and they can check for you.

daisypond Thu 18-Apr-19 12:26:39

I live in London and our joint salary is about 55K. We have three dc and are past the childcare stage, though we are now forking out for two dc at university. One dc is still at school . I would never have a coffee out and rarely have my hair cut. We have one uk holiday self catering holiday for a week in the year but we did used to go abroad for holidays as we have family in Europe we could stay with. We try to save as much as we can because of a probable redundancy in the future which could mean I won’t be able to work again. We shop at Lidl and we don’t have a car.

MyDcAreMarvel Thu 18-Apr-19 12:27:44

Your op makes no sense your outgoings are £1.6 a month plus bills and running a car a food. Say £2.5k for everything. What are you spending the rest of your money on?

LaurieMarlow Thu 18-Apr-19 12:27:44

How much is your childcare OP? £300 a month doesn't sound like a realistic london price.

desparate4sleep Thu 18-Apr-19 12:28:36

Agree with other people that you must be wasting thousands somewhere.

QuarterMileAtATime Thu 18-Apr-19 12:28:55

Sorry if I missed this, but does a lot go into pensions?

AnnaMagnani Thu 18-Apr-19 12:29:39

Your mortgage is high and you have 3 kids and possibly childcare expenses too.

Plus you likely want to live a nice middle class type lifestyle - coffees, meals out, going out, clothes from particular shops etc etc.

Nope, you aren't going to have much change from £100K in London.

Despite your best attempts to be frugal, you have likely been swept up in the London lifestyle too.

You need a complete financial overhaul - go through and do everything it says, changing all accounts, utilities etc. And then be v honest with yourselves - do you go out to free stuff, do you always take coffee in a flask, do you pack lunches, could you buy stuff from the middle of Lidl instead of a nice brand name for camping and so on.

And then you'll find you can save a bit after all.

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 18-Apr-19 12:29:42

For instance, we have found that we aren't able to accrue any meaningful savings - maybe £150 a month which tends to get eaten up very quickly as an 'emergency costs' fund

You need to look at things differently. I'll bet a lot of the 'emergencies' are normal routine spending that you should be including in your budget. Like Christmas, car repairs, insurances, broken washing machine etc. You should expect these expenses to crop up sooner or later so regard some of your savings as earmarked for those, in addition to savings for the longer term.

But if your income is around £5.5k, and you have close to £3.5k after mortgage and childcare, even if you spend £2k on food, travel, utilties etc, that should leave £1.5k to save each month, which should easily be plenty to save up £300 pm out of that to pay for a week in Europe each year.

How much are you spending on food, both on groceries and eating out, lunches, coffees etc. That can be enormously expensive if you buy lunch out a lot, and don't really watch the grocery budget. Nearly all the people on Eat Well for Less were there because they couldn't afford a holiday, but were spending £1000 pm or more on food.

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 12:30:19

@LaurieMarlow childcare seems to be a fair bit cheaper in our area of London. £40 per day (8-6). Currently 2 days per week so around £320 per month. Will soon be entitled to the 15 free hours so that will half the cost.

desparate4sleep Thu 18-Apr-19 12:30:26

Do you mean £300 a week in childcare not month? do you have huge travel expenses?? I don't understand where your money is going.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 12:31:36

ignore the competitive misery that your post will attract, some posters cannot comprehend that someone might have a slightly different life hmm which is stupid, when you look at property prices in London, it's bloody obvious not everyone survives on pennies-

First, you are not taking 100k, after tax it's a hell of lot less!
You are losing any help other people receive, so you usually end up with less disposable cash. It's a myth that earning more gives you more - people are too quick to forget all their tax credit, child benefits and so on.

Start a spreadsheet and track ALL your expenses to the penny.
you will quickly see if you have started being a bit too generous with a coffee here, a more expensive tshirt for DS there and so on and you will see where you money actually goes.

I know some posters cannot comprehend that, but 100k on 1 salary in London is not a lot. You'd be better off with 2 adults earning 49.5k each for a start.

MyDcAreMarvel Thu 18-Apr-19 12:32:05

Op you haven’t answered the question? What are you spending your spare £3k on?

f83mx Thu 18-Apr-19 12:32:26

History dweeb- Phone hmrc and explain re taxing on second job, you shouldn’t pay any tax and will be due a rebate

IceRebel Thu 18-Apr-19 12:34:22

£40 per day (8-6)

It's not even that cheap up North confused

If the little one is in childcare 2 days a week where are they the other 3? Also what about childcare expenses for the older 2? After school care or clubs etc?

Your figures really aren't making any sense. Unless there's a huge area of expenditure you haven't mentioned you should have loads left, even taking into account some little luxuries.

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 12:35:14

"How much are you spending on food, both on groceries and eating out, lunches, coffees etc. That can be enormously expensive if you buy lunch out a lot, and don't really watch the grocery budget. Nearly all the people on Eat Well for Less were there because they couldn't afford a holiday, but were spending £1000 pm or more on food."

@barbaraoofSEville that is an interesting stat. I will admit that there were a definitely a few years where we didn't watch these expenses too much and just enjoyed life after years of not having the money. We should have continued to watch our budget more carefully, and have been doing so since the beginning of this year. Our outgoings on eating out etc aren't too high, but we do enjoy nice food and wine at home.

Riversguidebook Thu 18-Apr-19 12:37:52

I earn £136 a week.
This post is about as far removed from my reality as I can ever imagine.

I’ve got nothing helpful to say though !


HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Thu 18-Apr-19 12:38:33

Our outgoings on eating out etc aren't too high, but we do enjoy nice food and wine at home.

That doesn't explain why you are missing about £3k of your husbands monthly take home pay?

£40 per day (8-6).

That's £4 an hour shock! That cannot be right?

adaline Thu 18-Apr-19 12:39:18

What are you spending the rest of your money on? We survive between us on less than 30k a year and have plenty of spare cash to go out with - although our mortgage is admittedly much, much lower than yours.

RosaWaiting Thu 18-Apr-19 12:39:56

if you can't save more on that, I have a feeling you are taking a lot of posh stuff for granted.

SpaceCadet4000 Thu 18-Apr-19 12:40:27

If I'm honest, it sounds like you need to really examine where your money is going. Even with 3 kids, the gulf between your take home and only being able to save £150 is huge.

There are quite a few budgeting and tracking apps that you can connect your cards to and categorise your spending. Might be worth doing for a few months to get a handle on things. I used to use Money Dashboard and would definitely recommend it. It really opened my eyes to the collective costs of things like coffees, takeaways, extra trips to the shops etc.

bridgetreilly Thu 18-Apr-19 12:43:02

Yes, do a proper budget. You should definitely be able to save a significant amount on that salary.

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 12:45:51

@icerebel I work part time so youngest is with me the other days.

We do have more monthly costs (thought it would be a bit too much to list everything!) like car payment £300, after school club £50, internet / phone / TV £80 (recently cancelled our TV service as we never use it, but still spend on Netflix and Now TV), plus council tax, utilities etc.

We did a budget spreadsheet recently and long story short total outgoings are £2900. Household earnings for the past year have been around 86k. Partner is the main earner, my earnings are usually under £10k. So higher rate tax payer, no child benefit.

fruitbrewhaha Thu 18-Apr-19 12:46:11

As said upthread you need to do a budget. Write down all your outgoings. Are you payment monthly for a car? car insurance, life insurance, pension, Travel cards, mobile phones.

The for a week or so write down everything you spend. maybe you are blowing cash on crap you could do without.

Are you doing a weekly shop and then lots of top ups? Take aways.

Then make a family decision. Shall we change to a cheaper car and stop buying coffees in order to have a holiday. Take in pack lunch?

BunnyBob Thu 18-Apr-19 12:47:12

We have a similar income to you OP but live 'up north'. Our mortgage is a bit less than yours and we only have one child. We don't feel rich- we are very comfortable though and manage to go abroad each year and have nice clothes/toiletries, meals out, car etc. We don't live a luxury lifestyle though and don't save that much extra each month. We couldn't rush out and buy a new car with cash, or book a high-end holiday - you still need to budget at this income.

AnnaMagnani Thu 18-Apr-19 12:47:16

If you enjoy nice food and wine at home, how do you do it?

Have you got into the pattern of thinking that 'nice food' is anything with a 'Finest' label on or a fancy brand from Waitrose.

Because this is an easy trap to do - as a PP says, this is frequent one on foodie episodes of Eat Well for Less. You can just as easily have nice food and wine at home, buying the lot from Aldi/Lidl if you know how to cook properly rather than dishing out for things with nice labels on.

I sadly know this because I've been there - single, in London and wondering why I didn't have as much money as I thought I should have despite having a good salary. Eventually it dawned that travel + mortgage costs were high, and the London office lifestyle was eating out at Pret everyday for lunch, buying several coffees, going out, buying more clothes than I had bought pre-London. It all stacked up. London is full of ways to subtley make you keep up with the Jones without realising it.

RosaWaiting Thu 18-Apr-19 12:49:23

also OP, I'm wondering how you thought this level of income would be different for a 5 person family? What are you missing that you thought you'd have, for example.

Babuchak Thu 18-Apr-19 12:50:58

I think it's the myth you can read on MN, how people on 100k a year are "rich", can afford massive houses, holidays and have a life of luxury.

It's so far from the real world, but some people might actually believe that nonsense.

Whatthefoxgoingon Thu 18-Apr-19 12:51:53

Outgoings of £2900 per month, call it £3000 so £36000 per year.

Is your net income £86000?

Where is the other £50,000 then?

Sorry, but you must be vastly underestimating your expenses if you don’t have decent savings/can’t afford a holiday.

Whatthefoxgoingon Thu 18-Apr-19 12:54:17

I say this as someone who once had your income in London, homeowner with kids. We still managed to save and invest.

adaline Thu 18-Apr-19 12:54:28

If you're "only" spending £2900 a month, where is the rest of your money going?

I suspect you're frittering away huge amounts without really realising it.

titchy Thu 18-Apr-19 12:54:30

If total outgoings are £3k a month and you bring in £5k a month where on Earth is the other £2k going?

You can almost certainly afford a family holiday abroad every year. Separate bank account for all regular bills (utilities, phone, childcare, pay everything by direct debit). Work out annual costs of other expenses such as a car tax, birthdays, Christmas. Be generous. Divide by 12 and pay that amount into bill account as well. Pay an extra £200 a month into this account for emergencies.


Then write down every single thing you spend money on for a month. Every take away coffee, newspaper etc and see where it's going.

Tinkobell Thu 18-Apr-19 12:55:09

£100k isn't a fortune in London with 3 kids but you've got a house fgs! You can either get annoyed & frustrated that London costs too much and stay put and continue to feel short-changed each day or you can actually consider getting a better paid job or moving somewhere cheaper to readjust the equation.

Brownzy Thu 18-Apr-19 12:55:37

Our household income is probably the same or just slightly lower.

So of the 5k we get post tax - 1000 goes on childcare, 1000 goes on mortgage, 400 goes on petrol, 300 on dog walking, 200 on council tax, and a further 200 on household bills.

That doesnt include paying insurance for car etc. We put away 350 quid a month savings and I'm paying off some credit card debt.

We are up north...I can imagine 100k doesn't go very far in london

Whatthefoxgoingon Thu 18-Apr-19 12:56:42

In your situation I’d be aiming to live on your DH’s salary only, banking yours entirely for savings and holidays.

Home77 Thu 18-Apr-19 12:57:00

Is it a bit like Bath? It seems expensive here, and housing costs similar. It's easy to spend a lot, and even things like public transport costs are much higher. It all adds up before you notice

AntiHop Thu 18-Apr-19 12:58:19

It's a complete fallacy that everyone who owns a house in London has a household income of 100k or more. That will never, ever happen for me and dp.

I live in London. My dp's income varies, but last financial year he earned about £18k and I earned £43k. We count ourselves very lucky that we were able to buy a house. We know that many, many people in London can't buy a property and live in overcrowded accommodation.

The way we afford to live in London is: we only have one child. Money is the only reason we haven't tried for another, but we haven't ruled it out totally yet. We don't have a car. We bought a house that is too small for us. (2 beds but really need 3 as dp is self employed and works from home. And the rooms are very small). Only one of us is paying into a pension. We don't have any hobbies that cost money. Our main luxury is some meals out.

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 18-Apr-19 12:58:42

total outgoings are £2900

Including food, travel etc? So you have well over £2k pm that's effectively disappearing or going on what? Clothes, beauty treatments, activities, meals and drinks out?

What does your DH do for lunch etc during the day? If he's having 'the London office lifestyle was eating out at Pret everyday for lunch, buying several coffees, going out', he could be spending a few hundred pounds a month easily? Is he a spender or a saver?

What about you? Do you have coffees and lunches out? Take the DC to paid activities?

How is all this paid for? Many bank accounts and credit cards allow you to download transactions with categories, so you can see where it goes. Until you have worked this out, and agreed a plan, you don't really know where your money is going. it sounds like you are very comfortable, you certainly have a lot of spare money, but what you are spending it on isn't necessarily as worthwhile as it could be.

What's the deal with the car - when the £300 pm ends, will you own it? Will you need to take out another finance deal? How many miles a year do you do and what are your other travel costs - tube pass etc? Does one of you use it for work? Can you make do with a cheaper car?

Can you take, say £1000 pm and put it in savings and try and live on the rest? Then you'll have money saved for a holiday every year.

PettyContractor Thu 18-Apr-19 12:59:49

Total spending £3K a month sound plausible. One salary of about 50K before tax would cover that. So clearly you have either a lot less income or a lot more expenses than you've listed.

Sexnotgender Thu 18-Apr-19 13:00:01

Net outgoings £3k approx and net income £5k give or take... yet you can only save £150 per month and then use it for emergencies?

You’ve got a monthly £2k black hole!

Ghanagirl Thu 18-Apr-19 13:00:49

Joint income of £130,000
DH full time me 2 days a week
Two DD’s two cars one (occasionally two) overseas holidays a year nice 4 bed house in London but we don’t have lots of spare cash as a lot also goes on kids activities.
We are comfortable but despite coming from a much poorer background I don’t feel rich.
I think it’s partly because most of our friends in similar position.

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 13:01:54

To everyone who has asked for clarification on what we spend the rest of the money on - looking at our budget spreadsheet the gap between take home and our expenditures is less than I originally thought, as for the past year our combined earnings have been 12k under 100k.

I still feel like we should be able to save more, though. I used to be really on the ball with our budget, but less so since my partner became the main earner (but that's a whole nother thread topic, really!) Thanks @spacecadet4000 for mentioning those tracking apps, I didn't realise those existed and would definitely make it easier to keep track of all credit card etc in one place.

Another issue we have with budgeting is that my partner travels a lot for work, and needs to pay for travel, hotels, etc on his accounts before expensing it back to the company. We don't get the money back for a few months and this can often leave a huge short term deficit in our finances, which I find really hard to keep track of when it comes to our monthly budgeting. We are often in minus figures whilst waiting for these expenses to be paid.

My partner isn't that organised when it comes to finances (not that he's spending it, but definitely he might forget what he's owed from expenses, or forget to expense certain costs), and this thread has definitely made me think it would be better for me to take control of our budget and finances and make sure everything is as it should be. I don't really know where to start with that when his role is commission based so it's a different amount coming in every month, and then all these work-based expenses on top. But I'm there's probably a spreadsheet or app that would work it all out for me. This thread has made me realise I need to do that.

Whatthefoxgoingon Thu 18-Apr-19 13:02:02

And I’m a bit dubious about this so-called London lifestyle everyone keeps banging on about. You don’t need to participate in any of it. Our household income is much higher than 100k but I don’t feel any need to fanny around with a disposable coffee cup or a pret bag to be a part of London. confused frittering money on convenience rubbish is a massive money drain with nothing to show for it. I’m a big proponent of making your money make more money instead.

MsRabbitRocks Thu 18-Apr-19 13:05:37

Excellent post Babuchak

littlebunnyhophophop Thu 18-Apr-19 13:07:22

This is odd I honestly don't get the whole London 'lifestyle' we live just outside Glasgow we have a council house although before when we private rented it was only 100-150 more expensive , we own 2 cars go on a foreign holiday once a year and own a caravan obv have to pay site fees each year , kids have designer clothes etc and we are not in debt , our combined income including carers allowance , tc etc is 30k a year as I don't work ds is disabled and only husband works we have 2 kids and we live comfortably why is it so expensive down south 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 18-Apr-19 13:09:07

If he's spending a lot for work and they're slow to pay it back, for he forgets/can't be bothered to claim, he needs to sort it out. Being 'disorganised' isn't really an excuse. There will be many many people who simply can't afford to be constantly owed expenses from work like that.

If he's earning £86k pa, he's certainly very capable, so he needs to make this just as important as everything else he is responsible for.

Can he put all the work expenses on a separate credit card and then if they don't pay up, when the bill is due, also claim the interest? Can his work book as much of his travel for him, thus reducing the amount he is owed? Or is he happy to potentially just give his work thousands of pounds back each year?

Of course you could take a closer interest in this and effectively do his expenses for him, or keep a list every time he is away and go through 'have you claimed for that parking, flight, car hire, meal' but you really shouldn't have to.

Oblomov19 Thu 18-Apr-19 13:10:59

Using a simple spreadsheet and going through a month of bank statements was an unfortunate eye opener for us!!

PeoniesandPretties Thu 18-Apr-19 13:14:44

I think it's a case of your living to your means, you need to live as if your earning less. Of course its lovely when you have a good income to spend and not worry but time and time again I see this, those you would class as wealthy, in debt!
We've gone from being very comfortable to now one wage as I've become a stay at home mum. We're actually better off and have savings as I'm so aware of spending, before any purchase I think do we actually need this.
It's a long journey but apart from a mortgage there's absolutely no reason to be struggling with such a high wage coming in.

Inliverpool1 Thu 18-Apr-19 13:15:09

You need a copy of a book called the bare foot investor, he’ll sort you

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 13:15:18


Not including groceries and food. Sorry, I know I'm being confusing with this. I quickly added up the expenses before realising food wasn't on there. So that's at least £400 per month more.

Not much on clothes and beauty but definitely a bit on pub drinks and a couple of meals out per month.

DH is half and half leftovers for lunch / buying lunch at work.

What about you? Do you have coffees and lunches out? Take the DC to paid activities? ....Nah, rarely.

We will own the car when the payment ends. DH has london travel card costs.

"Can you take, say £1000 pm and put it in savings and try and live on the rest? Then you'll have money saved for a holiday every year." This sounds like a good idea, we'll try this. Thanks.

Genuinely thanks to everyone who has given practical advice. I don't have parents around to give me this sort of money advice. And we never got used to a household income before becoming a family. We were two people living separately then suddenly a family of three learning all the expenses of a combined household. Feel like I still have a lot to learn about budgeting. And chatting candidly about savings and earnings doesn't seem to happen in real life. Partly the reason I asked in the first place, because I knew there would be others with similar finances that would have advice.

Dishwashersaurous Thu 18-Apr-19 13:16:41

Do the children do lots of activities ?

Music lessons, sports club, swimming lessons, drama x three can easily add up to £5/600 a month

Oblomov19 Thu 18-Apr-19 13:16:44

shockDh is absolutely meticulous about claiming back his expenses.

I agree with pp - get him a new credit card, for work only, nothing else.

ShatnersWigIsActuallyAMammoth Thu 18-Apr-19 13:18:45

There's still money missing.

Your DH has a cocaine habit.

lisasimpsonssaxophone Thu 18-Apr-19 13:19:20

I used to earn double what I earn now and I don’t remember ‘feeling’ any richer than I do now. The thing is, if you aren’t strictly budgeting or watching what you’re spending, then the money just goes. Most people just lives within their means and you rarely hear someone say ‘actually yeah, I’ve got enough money now’.

When you earn very little there’s nothing more irritating than hearing a high-earner say ‘if I’m so rich then how come I have nothing left at the end of the month?!’ err, because you spend it? That’s how money works!

And there are a lot of things that people take for granted too. I look back to when I was earning more, and realise that I would regularly fritter away £20 on my way home just popping to the shops and buying random crap. I used to get my nails done every two weeks and a bikini wax every month at a very nice salon that was incredibly overpriced. A couple I know are very well off and the husband was recently mentioned to me that he buys a £10 salad (plus a drink and other bits I’m guessing) for his lunch every day... he sees it as totally normal but that’s not something most people I know could ever dream of doing. That would be my disposable cash for the whole month! Not saying he’s wrong to do that, just that it’s easy for money to disappear on those kind of things and you take it for granted that it’s the same for everyone else too.

adaline Thu 18-Apr-19 13:19:54

Well, that explains a lot of it.

£400 on food (probably closer to £500 once you count in mid-week shops for milk, bread and other perishables), two meals out a month for a family of five is easily £100 a go, then a husband who buys maybe 10 lunches for himself too. Even if he gets a cheap meal deal everyday (unlikely) that's £15 a week, so £60 a month just for him. That's probably close to £1000 on food for the lot of you each month.

updownleftrightstart Thu 18-Apr-19 13:20:44

Our combined income is a bit less than yours (about 92k combined but we still get child benefit). Mortgage is £1500, run one car and spend around £400 monthly on commuting and £700 on childcare.

Of course our income doesn't make us rich but i feel fairly comfortable. We manage to save, and have 2 foreign holidays booked for this year, with plans for another 2 short breaks later in the year.

Di11y Thu 18-Apr-19 13:21:36

the website money saving expert has a budget section on their forums where they'll critique your budget.

otherwise a separate account or credit card for work expenses is a must

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Thu 18-Apr-19 13:22:09

Your DH has a cocaine habit.

If it was me in this situation I would rather this was the case or something similar e.g alcohol/cigarettes etc. At least then it would be being spent on something rather than disappearing into thin air which is what actually appears to be happening.

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 13:27:41

*Your DH has a cocaine habit.

If it was me in this situation I would rather this was the case or something similar e.g alcohol/cigarettes etc. At least then it would be being spent on something rather than disappearing into thin air which is what actually appears to be happening.*

Hah! I was thinking the same. At least if it was that, I'd know WHY.

Honestly, there's nothing sinister going on. By the sounds of the majority of replies on this thread, we just need to keep better track of our money. Which I appreciate is upsetting / irritating for people to hear who are experiencing real money problems. And I feel a bit mortified by that TBH. I think somewhere between having no money and lots of debt, to having a comfortable income, we've coasted. And I need to figure out the money hole.

lisasimpsonssaxophone Thu 18-Apr-19 13:31:55

No judgment here OP, it sounds like you’re being realistic and you aren’t trying to plead poverty on 100k!

I really recommend some of the new app-based bank cards for budgeting. I use Monzo but there are lots of other too like Revolut or Starling. Using Monzo has really helped me be honest with myself about where my money goes and it’s so eye opening. They generated an annual spending report in January for all their users and when I saw how much I’d spent on Pret (and McDonalds blush) it was a real eye opener!

ScreamScreamIceCream Thu 18-Apr-19 13:36:14

OP go to and sort your budget out.

Also get your husband on-board especially if he's the competitive type.

I have got many of my family, friends and even my partner shopping at Lidl/Aldi. No-one buys their entire shop there but we all save money by buying a lot there.

Myself, family and friends knew from a young age that if we buy lunch at work then we can't expect to go out as much or have holidays, so we decide what we want more.

In regards to your husband's work expenses he needs one credit card he only uses for those travel expenses. There are some that don't charge foreign currency transaction charges so he needs to get one of these and only use it for work.

Lavellan Thu 18-Apr-19 13:36:23

Sounds like a little bit of both. We earn half of what you earn 50k but our mortage is also half yours. We're not very careful with our purchases and could definitely be better. I think once we are paying for childcare we will end up in the same place you are now!

SlappingJoffrey Thu 18-Apr-19 13:36:58

I was going to say I can see how there wouldn't be loads left at the end of the month with London housing costs plus childcare for three, regardless of how many other people with different circumstances and/or entitlement to top up benefits manage in the capital on lower salaries (there's usually someone on these threads telling us the London median income, with no information about how many people are paying childcare and what their housing costs are).

But £1600 per month on both combined isn't a massive amount really! Should leave some over for fripperies like coffees and posh supermarket range stuff. Even with you apparently on less than 100k after all. I'm inclined to think he's doing a really bad job claiming his expenses, as others have said.

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 18-Apr-19 13:37:59


I have a Starling card, I mostly use it for overseas spending, and the thing I like the least is the way that it sends a notification 'you've just spent some money'. I know, I was there confused so I really need to figure out how to turn it off.

But surely you know that if you go to Pret/McDs a lot, it adds up to a lot, without the app spelling this out for you? Pret especially isn't cheap and it's not going to be a surprise that regular lunches there add up to a significant amount of money. What am I missing?

Foxmuffin Thu 18-Apr-19 13:39:53

£100k isn’t much for London, but your mortgage is also pretty average.

Quartz2208 Thu 18-Apr-19 13:43:43

We pretty much earn the same as you and have an identical mortgage but probably live slightly further out. The difference is that we have 2 children and I have a tight handle on budgets and expenses - that is the first thing he spends it he expenses it - he should be putting them through after every trip. We have a halifax clarity card specifically for trips away and it is much easier to see and plan this way.

ShatnersWigIsActuallyAMammoth Thu 18-Apr-19 13:43:55

I was obviously being facetious but there have been instances where a partner couldn't work out their OH's finances and drugs and gambling were the eventual causes.

But it does show you aren't keeping a proper eye on your finances, as there is definitely a money hole, which you've realised. And ought to now find.

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 13:44:08

@slappingJoffrey (great name)

Until recently, that £1600 per month was more like £2000, but we got a better mortgage deal at the beginning of the year. I gave the figures for our new budget once we'd reassessed it, so hopefully, this year we will find our savings capacity has increased.

@lisasimposonssaxophone I have heard good things about Monzo. Does it link up all your accounts?

@screamscreamicecream and everyone else who has said use one credit card for the expenses. He SHOULD do this, but he likes to use the one that gives us air miles per pound spent. Which is our main household card. Will see if there's a way to make the expense costs more separate, though.

lisasimpsonssaxophone Thu 18-Apr-19 13:44:13

Barbara for me it’s not lunches, it’s all the mornings when I’ve been running late and dashed into the Pret next to work for a croissant instead of making breakfast at home. Seeing your Monzo report saying you’ve been to Pret 100 times this year (or whatever it was) and spent £300 makes you face up to the fact that you’re wasting money by not being organised.

We’ve had this conversation before though (I think, or at least I’ve had a similar one with someone on here) and not everyone works in the same way, which is fine. For me I really like the notifications, especially when I’m abroad as I can see how much it’s cost me in GBP right away. I find that useful but you don’t and that’s cool!

lisasimpsonssaxophone Thu 18-Apr-19 13:47:14

I have heard good things about Monzo. Does it link up all your accounts?

No, it’s a bank account itself. I find the way it tracks and presents my spending so much more helpful than high street bank apps/websites. Since using it I no longer end up in an overdraft every month which is a huge deal for me!

Oakmaiden Thu 18-Apr-19 13:49:06

But I'm there's probably a spreadsheet or app that would work it all out for me.

There is a system (and app) called You Need A Budget (YNAB) which I think could suit your situation really well - its main focus is on living on last month's wages, not this months (so you always have a month in hand) and having a plan for what your money is going to do, and planning ahead for contingencies. So if your MOT usually costs £300 a year then you earmark £25 a month for it, etc.

stucknoue Thu 18-Apr-19 13:50:16

Our mortgage is £1000k a month and income (way above average for area) is half yours. £100k is a lot London or otherwise. You might not feel rich but most people in London have less.

MollysLips Thu 18-Apr-19 13:51:16

I think you've just stumbled into that "Wahey!" feeling. We're on half your wage and my ex is being a twat about child maintenance and my DH pays almost £500 to his ex, so we're realllllllly struggling. But we can just about keep afloat if we watch every penny.

But on payday we both suffer from the WAHEY! feeling, and suddenly our weekly food shop goes from £50 to £90, with very little to show for that extra cash. It's like as soon as we forget to track every penny, we suddenly spend loads more.

You're expecting to be comfortable on £100k because it's 3x more than you used to need to stay afloat. But your D.C. are older now and more expensive, you're enjoying naice food and dinners out, and you e let go of the reins, a bit prematurely.

A few hours on MoneySavingExpert will see you right.

TBDO Thu 18-Apr-19 13:51:26

Given that you don’t appear to spend much yourself, I think your DP is spending in ways you don’t realise. What does he do in his trips - is he spending out on expensive meals, clubs?

You need to track every penny and find out where it’s going. Get DP a credit card purely for spending on his trips and see how much he claims back vs what is spent.

Setting budgets is also good - You need a budget app is really good for this and will show where you’re spending. Don’t spend any money on a credit card (aside from the work related trips for your DH) as it’s way too easy to spend on and pay off a credit card every month as it hides all the little expenses.

Maryann1975 Thu 18-Apr-19 13:59:00

I always wonder when I read London threads about money. Does everything cost more in London. I know that housing is mega expensive in the capital, but do tesco/Aldi/Asda charge more for groceries than elsewhere in the country? And other shops, primark/next/b and q/home bargains? If you went in to a travel agents, would the holiday cost more because it has been booked in London? I guess to get a work man in to do odd jobs/home improvements costs more ‘down south’ than in other places, but I have no idea how much more.

daisypond Thu 18-Apr-19 13:59:51

We are live in London and are on just over half the op’s salary and are not entitled to any benefits. We aim to live on my salary of about 33k and save dh’s salary of about 21 - gross salary. Three dc, one still school., two at university. We live in a two bed terrace but we saved hard to pay off the mortgage early. We are in a very expensive council tax borough though. My travel card is the biggest single expense. One of our children also went to private school from 11-16, which we paid for by working on the same principle of living off one salary. Though at that point, a couple of years ago, DH earned more than now - about 35K.

Baydreams Thu 18-Apr-19 14:03:48

@TBDO the problem is, we want to use the credit card and pay off every month, as we want the air mile rewards.

Have just asked DH about putting expenses just one the one card and he says it won't work because he travels to countries that only except certain cards, so usually he has to have a rotation of 3 cards. It's complex, and the only way I can think to keep track of everything is to sit down once a month with him and go through every single account.

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 18-Apr-19 14:06:33


Not sure about groceries, but I think clothes are the same price - they wouldn't have separate price tags for London shops I don't think.

Public transport is often cheaper, as is foreign travel - many times there is a price from Gatwick, and then a regional supplement. Some London boroughs famously have compatetively cheap council tax, probably because there's more people who live there to share the bills amongst.

I've found eating out to be often quite cheap compared to other cities because there's more competition, but drinks can be expensive.

I think, apart from housing and maybe childcare and services like builders/plumbers, the cost of living is probably similar to other large UK cities. There's also a lot of free stuff to do, museums etc, which means that you can have days out without spending much.

countdowntonap Thu 18-Apr-19 14:08:26

Our household income is only £20000 less than yours, and we live in a very cheap rural area. Whilst we live comfortably, we don’t have a luxurious lifestyle and our mortgage is only £700 including overpayments. I don’t think yabu.

MummyMCM Thu 18-Apr-19 14:09:46

My god there are so many bitter and negative nelly’s on this site it actually becomes so depressing reading threads like this. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the OP doesn’t seem as though she started this thread to complain about having no money, she started it to ask others who are in a similar financial position to her what they spend their money on and if they feel like they have more leftover than she does at the end of the month. Some people have offered practical and useful advice, whereas others have absolutely roasted her for daring to suggest that perhaps she isn’t rolling around in diamonds and holidaying monthly in the Maldives, when according to you lot, she should be. Yes, she is in a much more comfortable financial position than many many others on here, she openly accepts that in her OP, but those of you who have sat here and given her a hard time over what she spends her money on should really sit back and think about whether those sorts of comments, if neither constructive or helpful in anyway, are necessary. Give the f*cking girl a break! She doesn’t need to be told what it takes to live on bugger all because quite clearly, she’s been there. She was just asking for practical advice.

Rant over.

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 18-Apr-19 14:10:52

What do you do with all these air mile rewards OP? I have no experience of air miles so don't know how they work - my employer doesn't allow us to keep any air miles gained on business flights anyway.

Is the reward so great that it outweighs the fact that he doesn't seem to reclaim all these business expenses? Seems unlikely as they're only usually worth about 1-2% at most. Forgetting one flight or night in a hotel would more than wipe that out. Which countries 'don't accept certain cards' Aren't mastercard or visa both pretty much universally accepted?

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