Honestly don't think I can save on outgoings, so how can I try to make a bit extra cash?

(127 Posts)
gretagrape Tue 15-Oct-13 16:02:18

Hi. First time on this section, but would really appreciate some input. It's me, husband and 6mo and our outgoings per month are as follows:
mortgage and council tax - can't change those!
water - on a meter - £27
gas/elec - fixed - £95
house/contents insurance - £23
phone/bb - £16 (paid line rental in advance for 12 months already)
petrol - £300ish
cat insurance - £16
tv licence - £12
sky - free until December then will be cancelling
mobile - £35
sainsburys - £220-£240 (includes cat food, bathroom/kitchen stuff and own-brand nappies)
abel & cole organic fruit and veg - £60 (only just started this as son onto solids - no more expensive than food at sains but better variety so would like to keep)
That's it - no ciggies, no alcohol, no gym, no going out or takeaways. We walk with the pram if we are going less than 1hr walk each way (petrol is mostly work mileage); 90% of son's clothes and toys are family's seconds, and we probably average £20 on clothes (not joking, almost nothing in the last 12 months apart from maternity wear for me!).
Even with this we are struggling - husband got free upgrade on phone so it was sold on ebay, but we really don't have much other 'tat' that we could sell.
Can anyone suggest any ways of trying to make a little bit extra?

OP’s posts: |
CunfuddledAlways Tue 15-Oct-13 16:12:27

sell on clothes baby grows out of, I would cancel the organic food as I think you pay a premium just for the word organic, you could use the fruit and veg you are buying already for weaning baby no need to buy special.

also think if you shop around you should be able to get your gas and electric cheaper, hopefully someone more helpful any money making will come along, otherwise I would look into a part time job for you perhaps while your husband is home so that you aren't paying childcare.

AnythingNotEverything Tue 15-Oct-13 16:14:51

No thoughts on extra cash, but I'm sure you can cut your food bills from £300 a month for three of you.

There are lots of thrifty meal planning threads on here - I bet you could halve it without noticing a drop in quality.

Have you already exhausted all the "£15 off a first online shop" offers at the supermarkets?

Awkwardsis Tue 15-Oct-13 16:17:36

I've found sainsburys incredibly expensive. Swap to aldi or lidl, their own brand nappies Are just as good as much more expensive ones, I only wish I'd discovered them before dc3!

gretagrape Tue 15-Oct-13 16:20:57

I'm applying for part time hours in my current job once I finish maternity leave, so once I know the outcome we'll have a better idea of our income but it's not likely to be much different than now as I'm still getting SMP.
Difficult to apply for a different job at the moment as husband works on an 8 day shift so the days I'm available are different each week - agencies have said there's barely any ad hoc temp work and they don't have any companies who will accept someone working different days.

OP’s posts: |
gretagrape Tue 15-Oct-13 16:21:53

yes, did the new customer deals just before our son was born!

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:43:41

If you go on mysupermarket.co.uk and input last weeks shop at sainsburys you can convert it to Aldi to see how much you'd save.

My shop at sains 3 years ago was £60 for two of us plus £10 cat, now it's £35 incl cat.

When you change mobiles you can get much cheaper deals, mines £7.70 for a free Sony smart phone 500mins, unlimited txt and 500mb. I got £60 cashback from topcashback.co.uk.

Our broadband is primus, unlimited data for £2 (£4 after 6 months), £120 a month upfront line rental and £57 cashback from topcashback.


BrownSauceSandwich Tue 15-Oct-13 19:11:06

£300 per month on petrol? How come!?!

WearingAnUmbrellaHat Tue 15-Oct-13 19:57:34

Can you look on car sharing websites to see if anyone is going the same way as you to work, perhaps share a lift. If you have a drive rent it out if in a premium area. Rent out a room, even if it means having your son in your room. Go to your local supermarket just before closing time and pick up reduced items, may get some weird combinations but could save money. sell any old DVDs/CDs/computer games to somewhere like CEX. Sell any unwanted jewellery. Babysitting for friends/family/neighbours. Delivering catalogues. Paid surveys online (take a while to pay out). Mystery shopper. Ironing at home.

Phew, think I'm all out.

Talkinpeace Tue 15-Oct-13 21:21:49

£300 a month on petrol : so you are driving 1600 miles a month for work?

£300 a month on food : what on earth are you eating. I spend less than that to feed two teenagers, two adults and two cats

Water bill : mine is less than yours and I water my garden a lot

Pop your numbers into here
link here

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 15-Oct-13 21:43:45

Agree on the mobile. £35 a month is a huge amount, have a look at these sim only deals.

Spent £45 in Lidl today for almost a weeks shopping for 4. Will need to get another loaf (£1) and 2 more lots of milk at £1 each later in the week.

Are you sure there's nothing you can sell? Have you been through clothes, CDs, loft, shed etc?

Thatsinteresting Tue 15-Oct-13 21:53:20

I agree you could change your mobile deal giffgaff do 60mins, 300 texts and some data for £5 and for every minute someone calls you you get an extra free minute.

We used to have a lot of organic food but we also have to live within our means. We still have organic dairy and eggs but everything else just gets peeled or a good wash. We spend £60 a week. There's me, dh and 2dc, one in nappies. I also found that when we had Able & Cole winter consisted of A LOT of cabbage and there's only so much you can do with that.

Apart from the obvious selling stuff, completing online surveys etc any real earn will effect your maternity leave as you can't work and claim smp. Check out the entitled to website to make sure you're getting all the help you can. Do your online shopping through topcashback.

If you're still struggling consider asking for a payment break on your mortgage. You could spread that extra cash over the rest of your leave. We also extended the length of our mortgage to make payments more manageable. However, we do overpay every month and currently we aim to be paid off 7 years early iyswim. It just gives us some breathing space and when I return to work we'll raise the overpayment again. I am not a financial adviser. I'm just telling you what we did. This may not be an option for you right now as remortgaging is difficult whilst on mat leave.

hermioneweasley Tue 15-Oct-13 21:58:17

With christmas coming up, there must be seasonal work available in shops and bars. Can you see if you can pick up a couple of evening or weekend shifts?

Are you checking all your insurances on an aggregator (like compare the market) before you renew every year?

If you're spending that much on petrol, are you putting it on a cashback credit card and collecting loyalty points?

BloodysocksAndGore Tue 15-Oct-13 22:07:01

How many cats do you have, or is it really old? My cat insurance is less than £8 a month for 2 4 year old cats so £16 seems quite a lot.

Agree with Aldi etc. if you are that hard up you have to compromise somewhere and for me that would be the organic stuff.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 15-Oct-13 22:12:28

I'd ditch the able and cole. £60 a month is a huge amount, our local supplier does a small box for £8 a week, but at 6 months he can just eat what you eat.

LifeofPo Tue 15-Oct-13 22:19:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SugarSpunSisters Tue 15-Oct-13 22:25:26

You've no car insurance/tax/MOT expenses on there.

Are you claiming any benefits you are entitled to? Why are you struggling - do you have debts?

Talkinpeace Tue 15-Oct-13 22:29:33

on the budget sheet - scroll across to the right and there is room for more columns - or the second one is in fact clear ....

I'll tidy it up tomorrow a bit ....

gretagrape Wed 16-Oct-13 08:25:22

Wow, thanks for all the input! Apart from LifeofPo - I am happy to take honest feedback but don't speak to me like I'm something you just stepped in - it's not necessary.

- Baby clothes - happy to start selling them, although they are on their 3rd baby already so I'll need to keep the price pretty low!
- Food - I think there could be some savings to be made but this does include toothpaste, razor blades, washing liquid, etc so food itself is probably about £180ish. I buy free range or organic meat but I make it go a long way - I'd rather have quality than quantity. So meat is bulked up with lentils, shredded veg, etc - a 400g pack of mince will make us 4 meals (8 portions). I only buy organic meat in bulk when it's on offer, and I'd say 50% of our shopping is bought on offer. We hardly waste anything - I worked it out last week and there was a tomato, a banana and a bit of manky cabbage but that was it. I will cancel the veg box.
- Mobile and phone/bb - we've only just started contracts on these so I'm not sure we could do anything about that at the moment but I'll keep a note of your ideas for renewal time. The mobile is my husband's so I didn't look into it (should have been more of a control freak on that one!)
- Petrol - need to ask the husband about that as I only drive maybe once a week into town which is 6 miles. He drives about 50 miles a day so if you add any trips to family approx 800 miles a month. As I'm hardly driving I haven't kept track of petrol prices so that's defo one to look into. Maybe he should take my car to work as it's only 1L so more economical than his 1.4L. (I know, 2 cars, but I'll be back at work in 2 months and we've had both since new 11 years ago so it's a false economy to sell then try to buy a cheap 2nd-hand later). I'll have a look at car-sharing - might be a long shot because he works long hours/odd shifts but there might be someone even a couple of days a week who fits. He uses the 123 card for 3% cashback.
- Water bill - hmm, not sure I could save anymore - I suppose we are using more with the baby (bathing, washing machine), but we have water butts for the garden and car-washing, and bath water is used for the toilet. Our washing machine doesn't do a half load, but I always try to make sure it's full each time. Will look into that one.
- Selling stuff - there probably are things in reality, nothing valuable, just cd's, books, that sort of thing but I'll have a dig around and see what we've got.
- Benefits - we applied for tax credits but have been told twice that we aren't entitled even though our earnings for this year are below the threshold they put on their own website. I will appeal again and see what happens.
- Mortgage - we can only have a payment holiday if we've already overpaid (which we haven't) - the only way they will allow lower payments is for us to enter into a formal agreement which will still be on our credit file when we finish the fixed term and have to apply for a new mortgage so I want to avoid that if poss.
- Insurance - yes, we compared and got the cheapest deal + £75 cashback.
- Cat - she's only 3, but had cat flu when she was tiny (all her siblings and mum died of it as well) so the premium started off really high. It's up for renewal in December so I'll have a look around and see if I can get it cheaper.
Car tax/insurance/mot - yes, forgot to put those on. Insurance - we use online comparisons to get the best deals - renewals due in Feb so will shop around again.
We don't have any debts, but I got pregnant a month after we bought our house (unexpected, we'd accepted that due to medical issues we were highly unlikely to have children) and I missed out on decent maternity pay from my company because I'd been there 1 month short of their cut-off!
- Catalogue deliver/ironing - that's a great idea as I can fit them in around my son/husband. I'll look into those and advertise ironing service (and actually could do a typing service as am pretty quick at that).
We have considered letting out a room - we've started sorting the house out so it's actually tidy enough for someone to get into the spare room then we'll be looking at doing that.

Thanks again - I will look at all the links you've provided as well to see where we can start to make savings.

OP’s posts: |
ConfusedPixie Wed 16-Oct-13 08:55:18

Warning about giffgaff though, check what it's like in your area first! DP changed to giffgaff a couple of months ago and he frequently gets times when his phone just won't function, completely stops working and giffgaff don't give a shit. We're in a city too so you'd think it'd be better here!

Watching the thread though.

LifeofPo Wed 16-Oct-13 08:58:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gretagrape Wed 16-Oct-13 09:04:39

lifeofpo thank you for your apology. Feeling bit sensitive as had email this morning turning down my application for part time hours at work so no idea what I'm going to do really.

OP’s posts: |
ZiaMaria Wed 16-Oct-13 09:05:44

Definitely shop around for insurance renewals - I used to work in insurance and it was always new customers who got good deals. It may have changed now, but existing customers were, frankly, milked for all they were worth.

valiumredhead Wed 16-Oct-13 09:15:35

Definitely try Aldi if you can, you will probably halve your shopping bill,I did.

Phone seems incredibly high.

Able and Cole would be first off that list, that's a real luxury and unnecessary imo.

valiumredhead Wed 16-Oct-13 09:16:39

Sorry about your job, that's rotten, hope something turns up soon thanks

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