How to cut corners when you already cut all of the corners?

(376 Posts)
Moneysavvymam Sun 19-Sep-21 00:44:32

Me and DH have been eating into our savings recently. We have just moved so that comes with costs. Bought a few extra takeaways after being knackered from unpacking amd moving, bought a few new things we needed including furniture (all second hand though) so we initially thought that was part and parcel of the move. It costs money.

However now its been a while and the savings are still going down when they should be going back up.

We need to cut costs but we already do the following-
batch cook one pot meals mostly and freeze.
cycle or walk to cut travel costs (no car)
called Internet and got a better deal but they keep putting the price back up despite setting up an 18 month fixed price contract. eye roll.
-buy almost everything second hand
-we already shop at aldi and lidl
-we don't buy stuff for the sake of it anyway its all second hand
-stay in mostly, or local walks no days out for £££
-keep heating off and use electric blankets in winter and jumpers and extra socks

I don't know where else we can save. We were given a couple of hundred from family as a moving in present, it was supposed to go toward a new kitchen or flooring which is bare and unsafe but it just went on bills and now I'm too embarrassed to have people round because we are still living in a fixer upper when I budgeted and planned to have saved enough to have redecorated 80% of the place by now, but in reality I've put off buying a tin of paint because the money is just running away it seems.

oh and we just had a letter saying the gas and electricity is expected to rise in price. And I've noticed I'm spending more and more on food.
Is there anything I have forgotten? We are a family of 6 and I didn't even replace all of the uniform this year because I just couldn't afford it.
We still have about 2 months worth of expenses in savings but its dwindling.

I feel like we should be raking it in because we cut expenses to the bone but I'm struggling to think of where else we can cut. Any advice? I'm sure lots are in the same boat. Thank you for getting this far if you did, I know I'm a rambler when I worry.

OP’s posts: |
RandomMess Sun 19-Sep-21 00:51:48

Have you gone on moneysavingexpert and listed your expenditure and asked for help?

Eat vegetarian as much as possible.

Sell what you can...

RandomMess Sun 19-Sep-21 00:52:11

Increase income with a 2nd job?

Moneysavvymam Sun 19-Sep-21 00:57:55

Not possible to get a 2nd job, the cost in childcare would be over double the wage I could get so just no possible.
I have listed loads of things for sale before we moved and not got an offer on a single thing. And I wasn't over charging. everything under a quid. Not sold a single thing. Quite disheartening to be honest.

OP’s posts: |
Moneysavvymam Sun 19-Sep-21 00:58:49

Vegetarian is a good idea though, Although I know Dh will complain grin

OP’s posts: |
maddening Sun 19-Sep-21 01:01:39

Put down your expenditure on q spreadsheet, you can't see what you can cut till you look at the full picture.

What hours do you both work currently?

Sisiwawa Sun 19-Sep-21 01:01:53

Can you rent out a spare room, a space on your drive, or loft/garage space for storage? Is there a part time job you could do from home to save on childcare?


Lancrelady80 Sun 19-Sep-21 01:07:11

Not a lot of advice but coming on to say that things do really seem to be going up in price quite a bit at the minute, so I don't think it's just you.

As far as uniform goes, we didn't fully replace it this year. And really, there's no need to as long as it fits still and looks decent. I have been feeling guilty about that, but came to the conclusion we've all been brainwashed by Back to School marketing.

As for selling stuff, it sounds weird but try asking for more. If you're pricing too cheap it may be putting people off as they could think it's absolute garbage you're just trying to get rid of.

Do you do things like buy online via a cashback site like TopCashback? We've had a fair bit from them in the past. You could also try looking into switching your main bank account, lots of banks are offering over £100 at the moment to convince people to switch to them.

Watch out at Aldi and Lidl, I have found that whilst a lot of their stuff is good quality and well priced, brands tend to be slightly more expensive.

Susannahmoody Sun 19-Sep-21 01:09:27

Do you have all your outgoings listed? Tell us them and we'll advise where to cut

Including everything - do the kids have school dinners, any coffees bought outside the house etc etc.

Susannahmoody Sun 19-Sep-21 01:10:43

called Internet and got a better deal but they keep putting the price back up despite setting up an 18 month fixed price contract. eye roll


Call another provider

MatildaIThink Sun 19-Sep-21 01:18:47


Have you gone on moneysavingexpert and listed your expenditure and asked for help?

Eat vegetarian as much as possible.

Sell what you can...

I second MSE, the Debt Free Wanabee board is where they are best at this. You need to list all costs (there is a template) but they will help you get things as low as possible.

Being a family of six will not make things easy as kids are not cheap, but there wil still be savings to be had.

When you say you can't get a second job, are you single or could you and your partner take turns to work evenings?

PermanentTemporary Sun 19-Sep-21 01:18:51

Prices are going up. It's not easy right now.

To have any chance of saving, you need a very detailed spreadsheet for the year ahead, month by month to cover everything. Christmas is looming.

Write down everything you spend, notebook and pencil time (or a note app on a phone).

I find the things hardest to get under control are - debt of any sort; telecoms and internet costs; presents; travel to see friends and family.

Do you have to work from home? What about saying to employers that you can no longer afford wifi at home, and cutting the internet? I often feel that would improve my life a lot with only minor inconveniences... (no I'm not going to do it, or at least not yet).

Freddiefox Sun 19-Sep-21 01:28:02

I’m not sure there is much you can do. The cost of food has increased a lot as has other things including paint.

I’ve stop decorating my fixer upper as I can’t afford to anymore. I do what I can myself but the materials are now out of my reach

LoveFall Sun 19-Sep-21 01:30:35

Gail Vaz Oxlade had a TV show in Canada and she may be on YouTube. She counsels couples in saving/spending. One technique she uses is strict budgeting, "jars" for each spendy thing. It seems to help a lot of people.

One tip struggling family in the UK use is going to Tescos at the end of the day on the day of the week stuff get marked down. They get huge savings but might have to batch cook things that are close to use by date. I don't remember the day of the week but it might have been Tuesday. You could ask.

DH and I have found some really good deals in Sainsbury's also, even a turkey roast for less than half price near sell by date.

When we had children at school and had to really be careful we used a lot of legumes and pulses. Also pasta dishes made into a meal with canned tomatoes and ground meat. Costco also really helped as their prices are way lower than regular stores.

Good luck. You've got this.

Bargebill19 Sun 19-Sep-21 01:55:49

If you have a driveway or parking space, can you rent it out?

Hopeisnotastrategy Sun 19-Sep-21 02:00:17

Have you come across the Olio app? Local volunteers pick up unwanted food from local supermarkets and then list it online for free. It's to stop food going into landfill, and is open to anyone who registers. I've known of people who get loads of free food that way. If it's not available locally, you could become that volunteer.

I second the MSE suggestion, lots of people who will help you on the forums on there. Good luck. 😊

LunaAndHerMoonDragons Sun 19-Sep-21 02:03:51


Not possible to get a 2nd job, the cost in childcare would be over double the wage I could get so just no possible.
I have listed loads of things for sale before we moved and not got an offer on a single thing. And I wasn't over charging. everything under a quid. Not sold a single thing. Quite disheartening to be honest.

You could work opposite times, so if he works 9-5 you could look for work in the evenings. Or one of you can look for weekend work.

caketiger Sun 19-Sep-21 02:21:16

Have you checked entitled to website to check benefit entitlement.

I've given a lot away using olio, another vote for that.

Also approved food can be good, check their website for food stuffs close to sell by dates

silentpool Sun 19-Sep-21 02:21:59

The Old Style Money Saving forum on MSE is also very good for frugal living tips. But the cost of things is going up and by the sounds of things, you are already doing very well.

Lahhdjdknwbjshdhb Sun 19-Sep-21 03:01:38

Costs are going up sharply and I’m afraid to say will not be coming back down. It’s going to be tough times ahead for a lot of families. If you can’t cope now, I would say that long term you need to look at a) increasing your income significantly by getting a new job or side hustles b) moving to an area with cheap housing.

Those are your options. Refining your already tight budget is just tinkering and is not the solution.

I know you have 6 in your family and cannot change that now, but I would say this is why I would choose not to have a family or 6. It’s harsh to say, but unless you’re on very good incomes a large family isn’t really affordable in this day and age .... and does risk you falling into poverty. We are however lucky to live in a country where you will not starve if you fall below the poverty line- but is incredibly stressful and traumatic.

I would look at protecting your family and reducing housing costs if you can

Good luck- I really do feel for you x

PooWillyNameChange Sun 19-Sep-21 03:25:39

Do you track every penny? Try moneyhub or YNAB (recommend the latter but unfortunately not month though without card details or auto enrol!) Most people think they know where their money is going but don't really have any idea.

Rainbowqueeen Sun 19-Sep-21 03:26:06

Try and get the occasional night of babysitting to earn extra cash
Vege meals 3 times a week
Do you have any nectar points you can use
There are surveys you can do to earn money - have a look through similar threads in the money forum for details
I’ve never replaced all the uniform each year - think of yourself as being environmentally friendly rather than being embarrassed
Get in now and suggest doing a Kris Kringle for Christmas rather than buying gifts for the adults in your extended family

BarbaraofSeville Sun 19-Sep-21 06:11:01

Are you on a low income? Or are in a position where you should have enough for essentials and some spare but you are spending unnecessarily somewhere?

You need to get a really good handle on your budget, including everything, whether basic bills, other essentials like food and travel, savings for annual and irregular expenses like insurance, Christmas, car servicing etc to work out where you really are.

Have a look at the moneysaving expert money makeover and do everything that's relevant, even if a small saving, as a few can add up to a decent amount.

On food, check what you're buying and see where you can cut back, eg swap any expensive meals or ingredients for cheaper alternatives. Eg frozen berries instead of fresh, concentrate on the cheap special veg, standard broccoli not sprouting etc.

If you're making sandwiches, they do a big pack of ham trim that's good quality but the cheapest way to buy ham weight wise. I hadn't noticed it until I read about it on here.

Also check you're not wasting anything and reduce non essentials eg drinks, snacks etc.

But if it turns out you don't have enough income to cover basic essentials, you need to work out how to bring more in. Are you entitled to benefits, or working when DH is at home to look after DC is first consideration. Have you checked what help you can get with the cost of childcare?

Cattitudes Sun 19-Sep-21 06:29:31

Definitely don't buy new each year and pass down from one child to the next. If you have boys and girls buy unisex clothes - so rather than the 'girls' scalloped polo shirts just buy the standard straight collar for all children to wear.

I agree with looking at getting a job especially if you don't work at all. You can transfer 10% of your personal allowance to your husband but it is much better if you can work and use all that personal allowance. On a very low income (say one day a week) you probably won't pay any tax or national insurance so every £ you earn you keep, whereas he might be paying 30 or even 40% of that day's wage in tax/NI. It also puts you in a better position to increase your pay/ hours once the youngest is in school. If he can work condensed hours 4 days a week and do childcare while you work on the fifth even better.

AuntLucy Sun 19-Sep-21 06:44:27

Please book in with Citizens Advice for a free benefits assessment - they are so kind, very helpful, and trained to help you find all the help you're entitles to.

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