In words of one syllable - how can I budget better...

(11 Posts)
HairyMaclary Sat 17-Nov-12 20:00:04

...we've had a change if curcumstances, and our income has gone down, not much but significant, by about £250 pcm. I thought we'd be ok and I'd taken steps to tighten our belts but it's coincided with DH being insanely busy and never here and lots and lots of stress, operation and ongoing physio for DS1 and we are sliding to the edge of our overdraft. This will be exacerbated by loosing some child benefit in April although I don't know how much yet.

I think we need a major financial overhaul but I don't really know how to go about it. Do you have any ideas? Spend less is obvious, but I think I need to know where it is all going and what to cut back on so probably need a budgeting spreadsheet but have no computer, iPad only (no smart phones).

Any help or ideas gracefully received!

OP’s posts: |
Mum2Fergus Sat 17-Nov-12 20:15:35

Paper and pen is all you need. Write down everything you have coming in, then everything you have going out...then you balance, budget done! Look to get rid of any 'luxuries' - magazine subscriptions, memberships, etc. Shop around and swap providers - gas/electric, phones, etc. Mealplan mealplan mealplan!! This has saved me almost £100pm. You have to budget for essentials - rent/mortgage, rates, heating and food - consider everything else negotiable.

Mum2Fergus Sat 17-Nov-12 20:17:22

If you really want a spreadsheet Numbers is a good iPad app, but expensive, 7 quid if I remember rightly, but ut looks/feels like Excel.

belledejour Sat 17-Nov-12 21:42:21

I would really recommend the Moneysaving Expert website. Start with the budget planner to work out how much comes in and (frightening, this bit) what it all goes out on: You can do it all online and the budget planner tells you everything you need to get started (bank statements, bills etc). I did this when I got divorced...was horrified at my outgoings and then started a trawl through all my expenditure and took action to reduce outgoings in every way possible - switched energy providers, renegotiated utilities packages etc. Well worth the time and effort involved and no need for any additional spreadsheets etc.
I agree with Mum2Fergus that there are a multitude of ways to pare down your outgoings once you know what they all are.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 18-Nov-12 08:27:33


Meal planning

Phone your phone/bb supplier and ask how much to cancel and they will offer you a cheaper package not to cancel. Just be honest re money. for all Internet purchases and insurance renewals. (sp?)

Turn the hot water tank down to 60c if you have one. does supermarket coupons which I find handy eg I got two foxs Christmas puds for a £1, should have been £10.

Swap energy suppliers if you can, I went through energylinx on Quidco and got £32 cashback plus a cheaper tariff.

Don't push the quickwash button on the washing machine and dishwasher, it uses more energy than the Eco cycles do.

Go on the water suppliers website and order any free water saving devices they offer. Eg tap inserts save me £20 a year.

Packed lunches for work and always take a bottle of water out with you.

Homebargains for Astonish cleaners, they are brilliant products. Apparently peo

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 18-Nov-12 08:42:50

ple are more likely to downgrade on food than household stuff, which is frankly just mad.

Try Sainsburys smartprice tea bags, dh never noticed the change from pg tips. Not anyone else sp teabags though.

If you use dishwasher tabs use tesco daisy powder instead, it will last ages and clean just as well as finish. Poundshop for rinseaid.

Sell things you aren't using on eBay. Free listing today.

Tk Maxx for treats, you can get some real bargains in there especially on homeware.

Cardfactory for greeting cards, wrapping paper etc.

Don't buy brand name painkillers, antihistamines, thrush treatments etc always buy the cheapest versions, they all have to be the same purity to be used in pharmaceutical products so you really are paying for the label.

Extra layers in the house will mean lower bills, I get thermals from Aldi/lidl as I feel the cold more than dh.

If you can change your mobiles there are some tariffs now with loads of minutes and data for £7.50 plus you can get cashback on them. Eg I pay £7.50, we have family who pay £45 for an iPhone but who are being repossessed. confused

Line curtains with fleece blankets from Asda/Ikea, it makes a noticeable difference to the room. I made draught excluders for our lounge and this helped too.

It's not actually bad being frugal as having money in the bank is quite relaxing.

AdoraJingleBells Thu 22-Nov-12 13:03:12

If you drive try walking instead. I know the weather is bad right now, but if you can get your main shopping delivered and walk to the shops for any other bits then you've saved the petrol. Free activities for DCs, I realise DS1 may not currently be up to running around a park, but if you have a pack of cards you can play snap, fe. If you are doing Christmas gifts make them. Homemade cookies in a box decorated with ribbons saved throughout the year from other boxes. Or agree with family that you only buy for DCs.

Food costs, check cupboards and make a plan with only what you have right now, before you buy more. Cheese, grate the whole piece and freeze. Fruit juice, if using, dilute 50/50. Don't buy fuzzy drinks, crisps, ready prep snacks. Look on approved foods website, and cook meals from scratch. I know you are busy, when DH has a day off spend that day cooking in batches to freeze. If DCs are old enough get them to prep fruit and either crumble or a pudding mixture. Fruit puddings are easily frozen. If you buy ice-cream- just one tub, when that's used it's used until you can afford another. It's a treat, not a necessitywink eat less meat. Do this by chopping/slicing things like sausages, chicken pieces (thighs are much cheaper than breast, but a whole chicken works out even cheaper) pork chops etc. have at least 2 vege main meals per week and bulk food up with extra veg/beans/lentils. Use any bits of veg left in curries/soups/pasta sauce. Ditto fruit - fruit salad/ pancakes/ bake and serve with yoghurt/ chop and use in packed lunch.

Have at least 2 NSDs (No Spend Day) per week, and set a strict budget for when you need to spend.


FrequentFlyerRandomDent Tue 27-Nov-12 12:15:19

For a couple of months, I wrote down in a little pad everything I bought, excl bills. My DH packs left-overs/sandwiches for work, so I am the main spender as my position as SAHP means that I am in charge of supplies.

For bills, you may be doing this already, but here you go:
- Fuel: turn down water thermostat. You only need it at 55 degrees, I think, to kill bacteria/legionella that may be dwelling in your water tank/pipes. I think ours is set at 60 degrees to be safe.
- Water: wash fruit/veg in a bowl rather than under running tap.
- Fuel: turn down heating or don't use.
- Fuel: air clothes rather than use tumble dryer. Space is an issue for us, we are flat dwellers, so we have one of those clothes airers.

More tips welcome.

Xenia Tue 27-Nov-12 12:50:48

Could you get a job paying £300 a week and solve the problem such as on Sundays?

DewDr0p Tue 27-Nov-12 12:54:29

ireconcile is a good little budgeting/tracking app.

racingheart Tue 27-Nov-12 20:15:11

Paper and pen. Write down what comes in regularly.
Write down all fixed outgoings (eg mortgage, utilities, travel fares etc.) and deduct them.
Then work out what's left and allocate a % of the money to each area you need to spend on: food, clothes, etc. Include fun in the budget or you'll go bonkers. And include savings, however broke you are, so you have something put by for those so-called one off expenses that actually somehow happen every week (dental bills, school club subs, broken washing machine etc.)

The key is for it to be a %, not a fixed amount. That way, if more money comes in one month, you can splash out a bit and save a bit more. Even if you are absolutely broke, and only have 1% to spend on fun - you know you have that £5 and you see how far it can go. Bag of popping corn and a family movie at home, or a bottle of cava for you and DH at the end of a long week.

I find food is easily the easiest to cut back on. Just stop buying ready made rubbish like wrapped biscuits and snacks for the DC. Cook from scratch. Eat left overs as main meals, don't throw them away etc.

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