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Ideas for reducing my monthly spend long term please?

(63 Posts)
Carrotsandcelery Sat 03-Sep-11 18:20:35

I have just had my card declined at the supermarket again. I used to be good at this but seem to be struggling lately.

I need to cut the monthly budget long term.

What are your tips?

I realise I need to use up everything in the freezer and can cupboard and meal plan very strictly.

We are already vegetarian so I can't cut out meat.

We already have a tiny, high efficiency car for dh's commute.

I have a bigger but efficient car for our running around (rural area with expensive and very irregular bus service so no car is not a realistic option).

Dh's phone contract is £15 a month.

My phone is pay as you go. (ancient but functional handset)

The main problems seem to be the supermarket and Amazon really.

What do you suggest/have found works well?

jkklpu Sat 03-Sep-11 18:23:59

Stop Amazon. Cook large amounts of meals and freeze in portion-sized containers. Make sure you switch off lights/electrical appliances when not in use. Don't buy coffee in coffee shops or bottled water - carry a bottle around with you and use tap water. Take your own packed lunch to work: it's amazing how much even work canteen bills can mount up if you use them every day or get lunch from sandwich shops. Don't use a tumble drier. Make sure your house is insulated before the winter comes.

ragged Sat 03-Sep-11 18:25:10

Write down everything you spend every day & think back whether you really needed to spend it. What do you buy at Amazon?

RandomMess Sat 03-Sep-11 18:26:10

Plan your car use very carefully, can you shop and do as much running around as possible using your dh car?

ivykaty44 Sat 03-Sep-11 18:26:19

No tv and no home phone - that saved 30 quid a month straight away.

Try to take cash for shopping.

There is a website which will block certain websites for parts of the day for you - possibly find out and block amazon. this explains how

Collision Sat 03-Sep-11 18:26:52

Avoid Amazon straight away.

Avoid random spending and come and join us again on the other thread.

Meal plan.

This week I spent £16 at ALDI on all fruit and veg and tins beans/tomatoes and £65 at Morrisons.

Our meal plan for the week is

Asparagus risotto with garlic bread (DH is cooking)

Roast Chicken and all the trimmings
Apple crumble and custard

Lentil chilli, rice and tacos

Butternut squash soup and HM bread

Turkey goujons, mash and veggies

Spag Bol and salad

Spinach and rosemary soup

Seafood spaghetti

Hot chicken salad

The shopping includes stuff for packed lunches and no alcohol.

HTH

Supersunnyday Sat 03-Sep-11 18:29:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Collision Sat 03-Sep-11 18:30:19

But really why do you need to keep spending on Amazon?

Why not use the library for books and DVD's? Or do swaps with friends and family?

I agree with other poster who said block Amazon for a while.

Carrotsandcelery Sat 03-Sep-11 18:30:55

Great ideas so far - thank you everyone.

jkklpu you have given me an idea. Dh gets an allowance at work for his lunch from the canteen. If he has a meal rather than a sandwich then he just needs a snack at night.

ragged Amazon is mostly books and audio cds for ds. I can get my books from the library I should think. We have exhausted the library's collection of audio books for ds though.

I can do a bit more car sharing for after school activities with other mums which would help us all out with diesel as well as time.

My dmum writes everything down and I think I will have to go back to it. I tried it in on a spreadsheet but I think a notebook will work better - I can carry it with me so I don't have spend amnesia.

Keep them coming everyone - this is already helping us.

Carrotsandcelery Sat 03-Sep-11 18:34:50

Collision is the other thread still on the go? I have lost it.

I don't have to spend on Amazon. I think because I don't have to hand over cash or get out a credit card it doesn't seem like real money and I click away without thinking about it as much as I should. That can be fairly easily fixed just by stopping doing it.

I don't buy many coffees out or sandwiches or magazines. Dh subscribes to a lot of magazines though and I doubt he needs them all. I will have that conversation.

LoveBeingIgnoredByMardyBra Sat 03-Sep-11 18:39:02

Get last months statement out and a highlighted, what could you have not spent?

Supersunnyday Sat 03-Sep-11 18:42:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ivykaty44 Sat 03-Sep-11 18:46:26

Take out the cash you will need each week to get shopping, fuel for car and any other musts spends - Put your credit and debit cards in the freezer wink

phatcat Sat 03-Sep-11 18:50:45

there's rule of thumb that it's probably easy enough to save about £100 a month by cost cutting /optimising insurances / going down a brand etc; but after that it becomes 'easier' to earn more than save more. Can you take on another job / extra hours / sell stuff - eBay & Amazon selling - I try and stick to the rule of not buying stuff there unless I have positive balances from selling.

RandomMess Sat 03-Sep-11 18:50:48

Does your ds have a disibility that means he relies on audio cds? If so is there not a scheme of sort whereby you can borrow them from elsewhere cheaply? How much are they on inter library loan?

MangoMonster Sat 03-Sep-11 19:02:08

Check your pay as you rate, can work out more expensive than a contract surprisingly.

Collision Sat 03-Sep-11 19:02:31

here

Collision Sat 03-Sep-11 19:03:04

Ring SKY, threaten to quit and they will give you half price deals!

DorisIsAPinkDragon Sat 03-Sep-11 19:26:58

look for audio books from other sources i.e. second hand if he has a disability do you know anyone in RL or online that you could do swaps with? Does he really need new audio books all the time ? The library do them and you can order them in too or try itunes or similar for a downloadable version???

Also sell stuff, I just made £70 on ebay on a few tops and trousers that no longer fitted (and haven't done for years).

Carrotsandcelery Sat 03-Sep-11 19:43:58

All great ideas and all things I can do. I have just gone through our supermarket bill and from this week's (total £61.85) I could have lived without:
Fresh Penne - £1.80 - can easily use dried pasta
Dates - £2.00 - a luxury not an essential
I know that isn't much but over a month that could add up.
I will be interested to see how much of what I have bought I do actually need this week and what could have waited until last week hmm

I don't know if ds's problems would be considered a disability. He suffers from anxiety and depression and listening to stories on cd keeps the bad thoughts out of his head as he falls asleep after we leave him at night.

I will definitely move to working from cash. My mum gets a set amount out at the start of the week and tries to live off it. I will write down what I spend to spot blips. I will go through the next bank statement. I will down brand. I will try to master ebay. I will get dh to threaten Sky (that is a new aquisition to us - we have had it a year - would they still be persuaded?)

What else can I do?

ivykaty44 Sat 03-Sep-11 22:04:23

Dates are 2 packs for 1 quid in Julian graves ATM - well this afternoon when I went in to get prunes.

Thing is with something like dates they will last until 2013, so stocking up on a few boxes and hiding them away would be ok

my mum used to sit and read to me and tape the story at the same time for a re listen another time.

Sky want to keep their customers regardless how long they have been a customer it is better to keep them than they go away and don't come back

Carrotsandcelery Sat 03-Sep-11 22:19:59

ivykat taping the story is a fantastic idea.

Does anyone know how to tape onto a cd? I imagine that is a new thread.

As for the dates, I have never bought them before so I don't know what came over me. I am certainly not in need of dates every week. I will revert to just eating my dmums at Christmas before I develop and expensive habit.

ivykaty44 Sat 03-Sep-11 22:25:38

Other ideas

Start looking for Christmas present now, search ebay and charity shops for ideal presents rather than leave till later and buy expensive drivel

Carrotsandcelery Sat 03-Sep-11 22:43:46

ivy you are so right there. I buy all year round. I have a little chart on my laptop that I fill in when I find something so I don't forget and buy twice. It also makes my shopping a bit more thoughtful as well as more economic.

ivykaty44 Sat 03-Sep-11 22:51:43

dd saw a book in the local oxfam today and thought of her dad - I explained it may be better to buy something he would really like second hand than buy for the sake of buying.

I like the chart idea as I could also put a note as to where I have hiden the blinking present grin

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