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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?

Talkinpeace Wed 16-Oct-13 16:01:00

not if its to and from work - never claimable

PostBellumBugsy Wed 16-Oct-13 16:08:33

Oh, I thought work mileage meant driving on behalf of work, not to & from!!!! I know that you can't claim for your journey to & from work - otherwise I would be myself. grin

Preciousbane Wed 16-Oct-13 23:29:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gretagrape Thu 17-Oct-13 07:45:12

The mortgage can't be moved as we'll have to pay an £11k early exit penalty, plus we're on a low rate now which is why it's fixed for 5 years.

Family journeys - we were due to visit family next week (120 mile round trip) - they are now coming down to us! Christmas we've also said if anyone wants to see us and the baby they have to come to us cos we aren't sitting on motorways with a 9 month old for hours!

Christmas - we've bought 2 little pressies for our son, both in the sales, grand total £12. We've already told everyone else we aren't buying presents because they have our son as a present - he'll never run out of batteries and they can play with him whenever they want!

Clothes washing - does staying in my pj's all day yesterday count?!

Off into town this morning to check out Aldi. The only things I buy branded are Ecover stuff as all 3 of us have eczema but other than that I should be able to get everything I need there.

One question about selling stuff online - I've only really used Ebay, but what would everyone recommend as the best ways to sell things like books and cd's? The books I have are fairly heavy, some art books, so not sure how to go about it as the postage would be hefty - Gumtree?

gretagrape Thu 17-Oct-13 07:58:23

I mean check out Lidl....not enough sleep.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 17-Oct-13 08:33:14

If you google sell old books a few sites will come up, they don't always give you much though. Textbooks go well, paperbacks not so well.

You can set up an amazon seller account too or sell on facebook. You can get parcel comparison sites now as well as Royal Mail. Some of them even pick the parcel up.

We use laundry gloop to wash delicates, it's only soap, water and soda crystals heated and mixed together on the stove but it saves me money on laundry bills.

Don't forget lidl don't take credit cards or cheques.

MinimalistMommi Thu 17-Oct-13 08:50:37

OP, you should check out Waitrose for your organic fruit and veg and then you can choose exactly what you need, if you actually look at weights in the bags and prices, it is equivalent to Tesco organic but much better quality. I think this would be better value in long term then Abel and Cole. We get all out organic stuff from Waitrose. We don't bother with organic bananas though as I feel the peel protects that to some extent, they are Fairtrade though.

MinimalistMommi Thu 17-Oct-13 08:51:59

Also could you plan in lots of meat free days into your week? Being veggie when money is low is so much cheaper. We feed family of four for £50 a week on organic food.

Preciousbane Thu 17-Oct-13 08:59:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gretagrape Thu 17-Oct-13 09:01:16

Thanks both. I have cancelled the veg box - I tend to try and buy half a dozen different organic things each week to keep the cost down but get a range of organics over the course of the month, and I concentrate on things which absorb more pesticides so like you I don't worry about stuff like bananas or oranges with thick skins. It's mainly animal-derived stuff - dairy, eggs and meat really.
We used to have loads of meat-free nights, and now that our son is having decent naps/bedtimes I'm finding I have more time for cooking proper meals instead of endless "bung it all in" meat casseroles, so I have started doing more veggie lasagne, curries and pies. I need to get a vegan cookbook from the library anyway as son has dairy and egg allergy so this should give me a lot more ideas than just doing a recipe and leaving the meat out!

gretagrape Thu 17-Oct-13 09:03:00

Yes have a low flush loo and it doesn't get flushed from 7pm to 6am as it wakes our son up! Then his bath water pretty much covers the rest of the next day's flushes.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 17-Oct-13 09:15:55

Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstill's veg cookbook is meant to be excellent.

Growing your own veg might be an idea, if you have the time, especially for more expensive vegetables. Lidl and aldi often do fruit canes such as raspberries and blueberries. I was listening to R4 gardeners question time and the panel said you should get 5 seasons out of one plant.

pippop1 Thu 17-Oct-13 11:32:40

OP at the beginning of the thread you mentioned the possibility of getting a lodger. This is likely to be a very lucrative thing to do if you can manage it. Do you know about the Government's rent a room scheme. This is where you can have someone living in your house and you don't pay tax on the income received from them up to about £80 a week. As good as getting a small job really and then you get to stay at home.

LornaGoon Thu 17-Oct-13 11:41:01

OP, here is a list of what's worth buying in terms of organic veggies if you're worried about pesticides

Also, if you're thinking of changing your pet insurance do the maths first. I changed to a cheaper dog insurance but she wasn't covered on the new policy for an existing condition and got stung for a £250 doggy dental bill. It's worth bearing in mind if those conditions are one-offs, or likely to be more recurrent as the animal gets older as to weather its worth changing insurance or not.

MinimalistMommi Thu 17-Oct-13 12:02:28

OP, Waitrose have lovely creamy organic milk and a nice range of organic cheese too. I used to buy their eggs but get mine from Neal's Yard now as I can get six large for £1.80 which is cheaper than Waitrose! grin

Also do you have breadmaker? This saves lots of money and you can make good value organic bread or use regular flour obviously.

Here are a couple of blogs to gee you up with great ideas about money saving
Also love this blog:

MinimalistMommi Thu 17-Oct-13 12:02:56

Talkinpeace Thu 17-Oct-13 12:53:32

Neals Yard and Waitrose are not likely to be factors in helping OP out.

Rent a room is great ...
friends have a chap who stays with them Monday to Friday and goes home at weekends - perfick

Selling books : Amazon is better than ebay, Abe books are in lala land

Lidl take debit cards

MinimalistMommi Thu 17-Oct-13 12:57:45

Actually Talk get stuffed!
She said in her original post that she gets an Abel and Cole box that's ORGANIC for her son that's just going onto solids, so it's obviously important to her. And for whats it's worth, you can eat organic and still budget very carefully and be frugal, because I do it every week.

gretagrape Thu 17-Oct-13 13:27:00

Guys, don't fall out! I never expected to get so much help on this and am grateful for ALL input.

I've cancelled the veg box as everyone has convinced me I can still afford some organics - I just need to shop around instead of paying for it to be delivered! No biggie. We will be growing some veg next year - we are lucky to have a decent garden but just didn't have the time to do anything this year with our son arriving.

Rent a room - we reckon we should have the spare room cleared of junk in the next month or so, then we'll advertise - I like the idea of a Mon-Fri one so we still get our home at weekends - great idea.

I have a breadmaker and use it each week as I buy the flour in bulk from a local mill so it works out really cheap.

Thanks for yet more links for me to investigate!

PostBellumBugsy Thu 17-Oct-13 13:38:38

greta, I did a Mon-Fri let with my spare room. Worked a treat. Chap renting only stayed 2 or 3 nights a week. He paid me 350 pcm, which was under the rent a room tax threshold, it was great. I cleaned the room changed the bed linen every week but otherwise it was quite literally money for an empty room.

MinimalistMommi Thu 17-Oct-13 13:44:15

Sorry OP, I just get sick of if the opinion that just because you buy some/mostly organic, that it means you can't be frugal/budget. hmm

I'm glad it looks like you're working out a plan!

Talkinpeace Thu 17-Oct-13 13:48:54

Organic can be frugal. Neals Yard and Waitrose rarely are. Our local organic farm shop (who supply Waitrose) are much cheaper ...

Veg garden : excellent - that will help you massively. Start looking at seed orders now. These are who I get my seed order from

valiumredhead Thu 17-Oct-13 14:16:05

Tbf the OP's thread title suggests things are dire so I do agree that produce from expensive organic shops is a bit of an odd suggestion imo.

To me buying organic/free range is a luxury unless you have access to allotment veg or the like. plus Able and Cole would be the last place I ordered from wink

MinimalistMommi Thu 17-Oct-13 14:16:57

talk you are really lucky to have a local organic farm shop which supplies Waitrose. To people that don't have that luxury, Waitrose is a very good bet for good quality organic fruit and veg with a wide selection.
I'm glad you can actually appreciate that organic can be frugal.

MinimalistMommi Thu 17-Oct-13 14:19:18

valium every week I do an organic shop for my family of four for £50, I would say that is a pretty tiny budget for four people. I even think, if I absolutely had to, I could slash it even more by looking at and working out how much each of my recipes cost me to make.

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