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If I give you a complete breakdown of how much we spent last month can you show me how to save money?

(82 Posts)
Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 30-Sep-13 13:28:37

Ok so last month I kept every receipt and kept a record of everything we spent, right down to parking tickets. I'm pretty shocked at how much it all comes to particularly as we made a conscious effort to stop frittering away money.

I meal planned and made sure I only do one big shop a week as I knew I was spending too much in supermarkets, have stopped buying takeaways, going to coffee shops so regularly, stopped buying the dc's endless "little treats" that add up considerably and have basically stayed away from browsing around town.

I never kept records of all our spending beforehand so I don't know how much we've improved but I know that we were spending around £100 a month on take away/coffees out etc, plus treats here and there, new clothes etc etc.

Anyway here is September spend, please help me get it even lower!

Mortgage £1050
Council Tax £181
Gas & Electric £100
Life & mortgage insurance £38.89
Water £42.00
Credit Card Payment £170 (Could pay this off but would leave us with reduced savings and it is currently interest free)
Refridgerator breakdown Cover £3.79
Savings for annual expenses (MOT/Car tax/home insurance) £120
T.V License £12.55
Phone & broadband £7.50
Mobile Phone £28.00 (contract ends soon so will get a much cheaper deal)
Family Gym Membership £73.00 (We do use this alot so don't want to cancel)
Contact Lenses £13.00
Speech Therapy for DS £100 (Likely to continue for atleast another year)
Food £323.02
Drink £73.22 (Includes coffee/dt coke/beer/wine/juice for dc's)
Petrol £120.16
Household items (washing powder/loo rolls etc) £34.00
Toiletries/make up £26.16
Clothes £69.98 (for dc's should be set until next spring now)
Birthday presents £10.00
Christmas Presents £22.99
Weekend Away £153.00
Eating Out/Nights out £128.39
Home Items £8.96 (toilet needed a part to fix it)
Cats Expenses inc food £41.18 (unusually high this month due to vet bill)
Train Tickets £12.40 (one off trip)
School Trips £27.20
Toys & games £2.50
Multivitamins & supplements £35.98 (I know this seems very high but ds2 has some big dietry issues, plus other problems)
Cubs (Includes Subs, uniform and payment for 2 trips) £118.90 (should have nothing to pay out now till new year)
School Uniform items £11.75
Haircut £30.00
Eyebrow waX £13.00

Ok so that comes in at £3202.52 shock

Go on ladies work your magic! Oh and just to mention I do shop at aldi!!

MrsDavidBowie Mon 30-Sep-13 13:31:57

Well weekend away and going out is nearly £300.....
I am not the best person to comment though as We spend a hell of a lot every month and don't have a mortgage.

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 30-Sep-13 13:35:23

Yes that was quite high for us but I had done a lot of ebaying to pay for it.

wakemeupnow Mon 30-Sep-13 13:40:24

I did this recently as I couldn't believe our outgoings. I shop cheaply , rarely go out, meal plan etc. It's just everything is so f***ing expensive.

I think you could save on the eating out and the weekend away. Take a picnic and stay with friends. Make your own Xmas presents, pluck your own brows and do you really need a haircut every month ?

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 30-Sep-13 13:47:27

Xmas presents so far have been 2nd stuff off ebay managed to pick up a couple of absolute bargains! Xmas is an area we will be seriously cutting back on this year.

I could do my own eyebrows (well try!), the haircut is every 6/7 weeks I couldn't leave it longer (I compensate by cutting DH's and DC's hair myself grin )

BackforGood Mon 30-Sep-13 13:48:53

Firstly, well done to you for managing to write everything down - it's quite surprising when you see it in black and white, isn't it? smile

The obvious things, I think you've already answered......
- Gym membership sounds like a LOt of money going out the house each month, but you've already said it's important and well used
- The weekend away and the 'going out' coming in at the best part of £300 is just something a lot of people don't have the budget for - so that's an easy one to cut down on (and I'm presuming you don't have a weekend away every month)
- the subs etc... as you say is all paid until the new year, so, in a way your 'monthly' spend is only 1/4 of that
- I know nothing of eyebrow waxing, but presumably you don't need to spend £30 every month on hair?
-Again the multi-vitamins sounds a lot, but you've anticipated we'd say that and have already made a decision that it needs to be spent
- Also, mobile contract is very high, but you've already said you will be re-looking at that soon. (I'm very impressed with how low your phone and broadband are shock)
- the make up bill sounds high to me, but then, I don't wear it, so it's something I would look at as an unnecessary expense, that others might say is non-negotiable.

How many people are you feeding with your groceries / toiletries, etc.? and what ages ? That might be somewhere you could trim bits from, (although around £450 doesn't sound at all bad if a bigger family)

JohnnyUtah Mon 30-Sep-13 13:51:18

Oh God, it all looks fine to me. That's why I spend the same, isn't it?!

SavoyCabbage Mon 30-Sep-13 13:55:33

I think your drinks bill is high. Alcohol is of course an essential but the coffee/juice bill could be trimmed.

What stands out to me is all the 'it's only this month' sort if stuff. Are you really going to not spend any more on dc clothes or is that just what you tell yourself. It's just my MIL says this. Well, we has to spend ££££ on these curtains but they will last forever and then the next day she's buying a juicer to save money then the next day booking a holiday for her wedding anniversary.

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 30-Sep-13 13:58:06

The gym thing is something I have questioned but I do go 4 times a week, the dc's do their swimming lessons there plus it's great at the weekend or in the holidays to take them swimming or send them to the kids club at no extra cost. I have been trying to use it as much as possible for our entertainment to avoid paying out in school holidays for extra activities or soft play etc so hoping in a way it's money well spent?

Our going out spends was unusually high this month but as i say in previous months we were frittering away an awful lot on weekly take aways/coffee shops/macdonalds/going to the cafe after swimming.

I don't wear a lot of make up but everything seemed to run out in one go this month plus some of it was 3 for 2 so spent more to save in the long run (I hope)! I do think our toiletries bill is too much though we seem to eat toothpaste and toothbrushes here!

I also think our household items bill is too much so need to look to get that down.

It's 2 adults and 2 DC age 9 & 6

TeacakeEater Mon 30-Sep-13 13:58:13

OK things we haven't spent on when cash is short:

gym membership - surely you could do exercise at home and out running/cycling for free? At least explore other ways to keep fit.

Eating out / nights out, go back to a takeaway as a treat, it's cheaper!

Alcohol is an area you can cut back on for reasons of health and virtuewink. I don't give the kids juice regularly, bad for the teethwink.

Your household stuff seems expensive have you gone down to own-brand and price checked?

Eyebrow wax.

Monthly haircut - extend the gap if you can't face a cheaper cut. Do you know you can ask for a cut but no blow dry to make it cheaper?

TeacakeEater Mon 30-Sep-13 13:58:51

I think I probably just x-posted, apols!

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 30-Sep-13 14:03:05

Savoy Cabbage I totally agree with the whole "it's only this month" justification that we have definately done in the past so I am trying visualise the year ahead if that makes sense. I sat and made a list of what the dc's needed to get through til spring and bought some bits 2nd hand too. DS2 wears most of ds1's hand me downs anyway.

We've agreed no spending on decorating or bits and bobs for the house in the next year atleast. We have looked around and can see we have too much stuff so no more buying for the sake of buying. We are doing our best to stop all the "one offs"

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 30-Sep-13 14:06:21

By juice I just mean squash not fresh juice. I don't drink alcohol just DH but we could trim some out I'm sure!

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 30-Sep-13 14:07:27

Can I have brownie point for not having a sky subscription though? (despite ds claiming that it counts as neglect)

BackforGood Mon 30-Sep-13 14:12:34

YOur gym membership sounds like very good value when you are including dcs swimming lessons, plus the amount you use it.

I reckon that's just what life costs, tbh smile
I mean, if you were only getting £3200 (net) or less into your house every month, then it would be a concern, but if you are getting £3300 or more, then, is it really worth squeezing the last bit out of everything ? Life is for living now.

MerryMarigold Mon 30-Sep-13 14:13:21

I think the food bill was pretty good.

However, drink seemed VERY high. You could cut that to 5.00 some months (bit of tea and coffee). We have no fizzy drinks or squash. I did manage to wean dc to water which I'm happy about. We have juice (watered down) occasionally as a treat.

Yes the weekends and eating out was massive. Again, something we do not do.

Household items - loo rolls at Costco? You only need a pea sized amount of toothpaste. We go through about one tube of paste a month and there's 5 of us!

Mobile phone - you definitely need a new contract and keep your phone. You could get a decent contract for a tenner with old phone.

TeacakeEater Mon 30-Sep-13 14:14:14

Oh yes! I'm also impressed by your phone & broadband.

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Mon 30-Sep-13 14:14:49

Sorry about this, but you haven't mentioned house insurance, just life & mortgage insurance?

MerryMarigold Mon 30-Sep-13 14:17:18

Cleaning products - bicarbonate of soda is great for cleaning stainless steel. The only brands I use are Limelite, Fairy and WD40, otherwise own brand or special offer brands if cheaper. I don't use loads of air fresheners - they are expensive.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 30-Sep-13 14:18:01

Wow, how do you get phone and broadband for such a tiny sum a month?! <no help at all, sorry>

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 30-Sep-13 14:22:21

LifIsBetter, sorry we do have home insurance but pay it annually, I account for it in the £120 a month we put away for annual bills (sorry i should have put it in but forgot!)

Will deffo get a cheap mobile contract when this one ends in a couple of months.

I agree about the drinks I was shocked to see how much we spend on that alone. Will certainly be cutting that right down.

I will have a look at costco for household stuff too.

BackforGood. i agree life is for living and want to find the balance of cutting back where we can whilst still maintaining some of the things we enjoy.

TeacakeEater Mon 30-Sep-13 14:23:25

I see your point with gym membership. I pay £5 per swim lesson so that would be about £40 per month if I were paying for 2. No lessons in school hols so annual cost say 40 weeks so £400 versus £876.

It's then a case of how far you need to trim back.

This thread has reminded me to coach my DS in how much toothpaste to use!

Passthecake30 Mon 30-Sep-13 14:23:42

It all sounds about normal to me (maybe drinks and household items could be squeezed), but the mortgage is big, is there any scope to reduce that? Remortgage etc?

IsabelleRinging Mon 30-Sep-13 14:26:16

Speech therapy is a lot, why can't you get this on NHS?
Also vitamins, if these are essential can't you get them on prescription?

Eyebrow wax? Definitely easy to do yourself.

Grow your hair and save £30

A lot of things are one offs, as long as there is no other one offs every month you should be able to save more next month.

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Mon 30-Sep-13 14:30:57

Thanks for clarification re house ins.

Household items seems high - (on my phone so I can't check back), but I think you said c£34 for loo rolls and wash liq. Aldi loo rolls are c£3.50 for 12 and quality is fine. Their wash liquid is c£2.50 I think, and does 28 washes, so even with say spray cleaner and washing up liq it shouldn't be more than c£11month.

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