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Can someone help me work out how to do this (starting out being frugal)

(26 Posts)
Karbea Fri 07-Nov-14 15:55:36

I've changed my username for this.

Dh hasn't been working for 6 months (he used to be high income), I've upped my hrs at work and earn about £800 per month now.
We've run out of savings, but DILs have given us a lump sum (part of eventual inheritance) so we don't have to sell the house (yet). Dh is sure he'll get another job soon, but obviously we don't know when.

There is only us and a few animals (cats& dogs).

Dh loves to waste spend money.

I'm thinking that I'll set up a direct debit from the savings acc to our bank acc to cover all core bills ie mortgage, gas, electricity, council tax, insurances etc.
And then use my wages for food etc (although I think £800 should more than cover that).
I really don't know how much dh, cats and dogs and I can live on as a minimum.
I'd like to spend as little of the lump sum as possible each month as I don't know how long we will need to live on it for, and either way I'd like to spend it on something nicer when he does return to work.

Anyway. I can work out how much core bills cost by looking back on previous months.
But I've no idea how much we need for just living.
Please help. Thank you.

Karbea Fri 07-Nov-14 15:56:17

Arr just realise username hasn't changed - never mind!

Ellisisland Fri 07-Nov-14 18:06:34

A good place to start is to look at your last months bank statements and work out where your money went. So how much was spent on food, petrol, takeaways etc. then you can see what you can cut out this month. So if you spent £30 on eating out last month don't do that this month and so on.
Food shopping is always a fairly easy one to cut down on. There are lots of threads on this board about meal planning and so on. Meal planning has saved me so much money!
Next look at your bills. Any you can cut down on or change? Reducing sky package etc

Finally though you will need to get your DH on board. You say he spends money so if you are trying to save and he is spending still then resentment will start to build up. He needs to get that until he is working again cutting back is something you just have to do.

I have been there and it is really crap but Once you have a frugal plan in place you do start to feel more in control.

Good luck and check out the other frugal threads on this board. They are really helpful.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 07-Nov-14 18:42:43

If he's not curbing his spending give him £5 a week for spends.

It's harsh but you're supplying his food etc so realistically what else does he need?.

Meal planning & shopping in Aldi will save you a lot of money.

Applejack2 Fri 07-Nov-14 22:08:08

£800 should be enough. I allow £200 a week for food, car fuel and spending money. That is for 2 adults and 2 kids.

Rivercam Fri 07-Nov-14 22:13:02

Have a look at Moneysaving expert website. They have a budget planner where you can put in all you expenses and work it out. For example, you can factor in expenses such as hair cuts, birthday presents, car mot etc.

everythingsgoingsouth Sat 08-Nov-14 17:33:54

www.stoozing.com/calculator/soa.php

Hi, hoik out the bank statements and see if you can fill this out, it'll give you a good idea where you are.
keep a paper and pen with you, write down every penny you spend.
take a stock check of fridge, freezer and cupboards and start meal planning, stick to shopping lists. decide what is wanted and what is needed!
go through direct debits one by one, see if any can be cancelled,or could be got cheaper.
try and cut down usage of water, electricity and gas.
check www.entitledto.co.uk and check if you are entitled to anything, money/ free prescriptions/free dentistry, free school meals etc
anything to sell? toys and clothes, esp with Christmas coming.
books and CD/ DVD can be sold too-ebay/musicmagpie etc.
Have a talk to friends and family now re. Christmas presents-maybe agree to just buy for children or do a family secret santa?
look at survey sites-would OH do something like that?

good luck, hope new job comes very soon smile

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 08-Nov-14 18:21:41

Have you done the basics like reducing energy usage, applying for water saving devices, changing electric suppliers etc?. These threads are good, but very long.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/2195493-Website-rip-offs-block-their-cookies-and-save-LOADS-AND-LOADS-of-money

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/other_subjects/1324074-For-those-who-cant-afford-to-use-central-heating-this-year-How-are-you-going-to-cope

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/mumsnet_classics/1911061-NO-MORE-COLD-MUMSNETTERS

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/credit_crunch/1628874-Gas-Elec-Bills-monthly-and-SKY-so-angry

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/credit_crunch/1600030-Small-money-saving-habits-petty-even

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/credit_crunch/1543785-your-top-tips-for-money-saving-and-a-more-frugal-life

If your dh doesn't get on board remind him it's worth it if it means you keep the house.

Lottie4 Sat 08-Nov-14 18:43:48

Firstly I would explain to your DH you're not blaming him in any way for not working, but you're worried every time money is spent that you'll end up in debt. Perhaps, you could both have a monthly allowance for whatever (the same amount) for essential clothes (it's surprising what will actually last a bit longer though), treats, prezzie for eachother, whatever - that way it's yours and you agree the other doesn't question what you do with i, whether it's £5 a month or £100t. As he's at home so much more, it may be he's carried on spending as it gives him something to do. Would he be willing to help you with household tasks a bit more while he has more free time?

We've had to cut back over the last couple of months. I can just about feed two cats on £16 a month - they quite like Butchers classic which is cheaper than other canned cat food, but I give one a Whiskers pouch as she has medicine mixed in with it and I need to ensure she eats it.

Our food budget is £50 a month for one teenager and two adults, think I could reduce this a bit more. When I shop I add up roughly what the bill will be, if I get near my limit I quickly assess what could be swapped for something cheaper, ie value biscuits would be cheaper than a cake, what meal could I cook tonight which would be cheaper than what I'd planned. I add extra pasta, rice to meals so they go further with leftovers who you or DH could have for lunch next day. If you like a bottle of wine, my DH has started making his own from a packet, works out about £2.10 a bottle, perhaps your OH could do this - again it will give him a little something do do.

You could change the timer settings for your heating a little, ie to go off 15 mins earlier - it all adds up. If you fancy getting out of the house, opt for a walk, visit to free museum, visit friends/relations.

specialsubject Sat 08-Nov-14 19:34:02

brutal truth: if your husband continues to chuck money away then it WILL be his fault when you have to sell the house, and he''ll also have brought his parents down too. He's an adult, he needs to behave like one.

forget christmas presents. You are adults (you don't mention any kids). You can't afford sparkly tat this year. Give time - cooking a meal for someone, a big house clean, a voucher for a garden blitz in the spring, that kind of thing.

no clothes are needed unless you actually have none of the thing concerned. Most adults in the UK wear less than 20% of their wardrobe.

if he's kicking around at home between applying for jobs he can earn some cash from surveys - not much but it does help. He can also get clutter on ebay/in the local paper.

it is not allowed on mumsnet to say that you should jettison the useless mouths in the household, so I won't. I hope it won't come to 'we had to sell the house because we had to pay kitty/dog vets bills'.

plenty of free things to do for fun.

as for food; £200 is plenty for two people, with decent meals, fresh veg etc etc. If you are throwing anything except peelings and teabags, that is waste; work out how to stop it.

everythingsgoingsouth Sat 08-Nov-14 19:36:18

Our food budget is £50 a month for one teenager and two adults

wow, you are amazing! could I be really cheeky, would you post a "sample" weeks meal plan please?

(sorry to hi-jack OP)

merlehaggard Sat 08-Nov-14 19:53:40

Can you not claim any benefits, job seekers allowance, reduced council tax etc? It's not something I know about though.

Rivercam Sun 09-Nov-14 19:06:22

Also amazed by £50 a month! Should that be £50'a week?

Applejack2 Tue 11-Nov-14 06:13:59

I think that should be £50 a week. No way could you live on that in a month.
Some good ideas on this thread :-)

Lottie4 Tue 11-Nov-14 10:38:09

Sorry, it was meant to be £50 a week (wish it was £50 a month though and I could give you all some brilliant tips for cutting back).

Hope you manage to sort something out with your DH - could be he's not facing up to things and doesn't know where to start.

spababe Tue 11-Nov-14 10:48:30

Would your DH goe through the last 6 months bank statements and write everything down by categories (or on a spreadsheet) This might help him realise what you are spending where and how to reduce this to live within your means for the time it takes him to get a job.

Also Yes Yes to generating money in other ways eg ebay, gumtree, surveys, competitions. Maybe he can take this on board as well?

Apatite1 Fri 14-Nov-14 11:48:01

I know that , after bills, husband and I can easily live on £500 per month for all food, transport etc. there's no spare for any treats though. I know this as I've been doing it for a few months in order to save money for our house renovation.

This only works as my husband is 100% on board and spends no money on his own.

midnightmoomoo Sun 16-Nov-14 23:29:23

I don't want to be the voice of doom but you need to be prepared for the long haul. My DH was a high earner but in his wisdom went self employed after ten years being ground down by his idiot boss, which was fine until six months in he was fired without warning. That was a bugger! More to the point, that was 15 months ago and he's still trying to find a job, any job. I was a SAHM at the time but got a TA job at the kids school to avoid having to pay for childcare, and I take home £725 a month. The mortgage is £800.

You and DH have to be honest from the off about your finances. He needs to sign on which he will hate doing, but needs must. You are unlikely to qualify for help towards your mortgage, we didn't because if you earn more than about £110 a week between you including job seekers you don't get help. Amazingly we were told we didn't qualify for help towards council tax but I'm starting to think that was wrong so definitely check that out. The other thing you can do is get it changed from ten months to twelve, if you do it now it should half your payments in the run up to April. Ours went from £148 to £74 this time last year, then as the new year started in April it went to £125.

I feed us, three kids and two cats on £50 a week and we eat well. Menu planning is essential and so is shopping with a list. When you get to the checkout, walk back round and put back anything that has crept into the trolley.

Be ruthless about switching lights and switches off! Charity shop for clothes, make do with coats and shoes etc and don't buy anything if you don't need it. Ebay as much as you can, or use Gumtree which is free.

Get rid of a car if you can. Check absolutely every direct debit and bin those you can do without. See if you can have a holiday from your mortgage (we couldn't), check details in insurances to see if you still need them. We stopped paying into DHs pension which isn't idesl but we can't justify the hundreds of pounds he was paying. Keeping the house is our priority, and making sure our situation has as little impact on the kids as we can make it.

It will be tough. It's crap and you will have days you want to punch him and shout at him and tell him it's all his fault. I hope he finds something soon, but make sure he understands that the money from his parents isn't there to be squandered, you don't know how long it needs to last you. Good luck x

MsAspreyDiamonds Mon 17-Nov-14 08:34:41

Could your dh temp while looking for a permanant job? My friend did this after he was made redundant. He did a series of long term temping jobs at HE institutions until he was offered a permanent dept managers job.

The good thing about temping is that you can try out different sectors until you find one you like. Potential employers are more likely to be impressed if you are seen to be improving your prospects.

www.brookstreet.co.uk/

The job market has changed a lot and he needs to think outside his traditional sector for jobs.

VinoTime Tue 18-Nov-14 17:19:16

I'm so sorry you're going through this, OP. There is nothing worse at times than worrying about money. It's the one thing that often keeps me up at night.

So, I'm myself, dd (7), a dog and a cat. I constantly worry about money. I'm a low income earner, I only work part time because the affordability of childcare vs full time hours is pretty hopeless, and money is always tight. Oh, and I'm a single parent to boot and receiving no maintenance.

My top tips for you:

- Meal plan. This is a must. You will waste nothing, you will know exactly what to buy (don't deviate from your list at the supermarket), and you can spend a little time each week online scouring the internet for the best deals on food and where to go for what. Meal planning will save you a small fortune. I promise. It's easy to do, so don't be daunted. Simply write out a list, head to the shops and buy only what you need. Buy frozen foods - they keep and won't waste.

- Educate yourself on how to save on the high street. These are seemingly small, petty things that I do, but I save a lot. For instance, my local Farmfoods sell an 18 pack of Nicky toilet paper that is quilted and feels lovely for less than £4.00. It's better quality than any of the major tp brands and is so much cheaper. I haven't needed to buy a new pack in ages. My local Poundland sell 2 packs of jumbo kitchen towel for a quid. Again, they last ages. My local Poundstretcher sell bottles of thick bleach (same regular size as all top brands) at 3 for £1.00. Lidl sell 65 wash non bio washing powder boxes for £6.19 (I think) - last forever and it's fab for sensitive skin. It may seem nitpicky and I end up ping ponging myself all over town, but I'd rather walk and save than slob it out and spend. Do your research. Ask you DH to start scouring the internet for ideas.

- If you live in a town/city with decent public transport, then scrap the car. Just get rid of it. They are money eating machines - petrol, maintenance, road tax, mot, servicing, insurance, etc. If you can do without it - do. I don't know how to drive and I refuse to learn right now. I would love to have a car, but I can't afford to run one. So why torture myself? Buses are cheap, walking is free and you can usually get to where you want to go one way or another.

- I may get shot for this by people who can afford to feed their animals gourmet food, but I can't. My dog gets one pate tray a day (35p each from Tesco, or 27p each from Aldi on the rare occasions I get to it) and some biscuits (I buy a large bag of Bakers or something whenever they're on offer at a fiver) that last the month as she's just a small dog. Total for the dog is usually around the £15 mark a month. I buy the cat the Value box of 12 pouches at £2.25 each and some whiskers cat biscuits when on offer (£2.00 a box). Total for the cat each month is roughly £11.00. So in the region of £26 a month for my animals, which is cheap all things considered. Look at what your animals are eating and see where changes can be made. It sucks, but if you have to cut back and make changes then they have to be included in those changes too.

- Scrap the sky package and TV licence. We have neither. We have a lot of dvd's granted, but anything we don't have we can watch online. If you have a laptop, buy or scrounge up a cable to hook it up to the tv to watch for free.

- If your mobile phone contracts are nearing their end, get onto a sim only contract pronto. My £35 a month mobile contract is due for renewal at the end of this month. I'll be going down to a £10 a month sim only contract straight away. I've just saved myself £25.00 a month.

- Switch your home phone and broadband/gas and electric providers to the cheapest ones you can find.

- Don't buy new clothes and shoes if you don't have to. I was actually feeling a bit down in the dumps the other day about my wardrobe. I haven't really treated myself to anything new in forever, so I popped into my local Oxfam. I picked up the most beautiful green top from Marks and Sparks (it looks more Monsoon than M&S) that I'll definitely be wearing on Christmas day and a lovely everyday wear type patterned top from Fat Face. They cost me £4.00 each and don't look like they've ever been worn. I'm sat typing this wearing my new Fat Face top, actually! It cheered me up no end. It felt like such a nice treat and they were inexpensive. Please don't feel snobbish about checking out your local charity shops - you wouldn't believe the things people get rid of. A lot of my clothes (mainly tops and cardigans) have come from Oxfam. They are all nice high street labels, too. The type I could never afford new - Zara, Topshop, Monsoon, M&S, River Island, etc. My 21 year old sister has raked my wardrobe many a time giving it, "How the fuck did you afford this?!" grin

- Make sure both you and your DH are getting out of the house and spending quality fun time together. Money issues cause a lot of stress and can lead to resentment bubbling up. Try to get ahead of that happening. You don't have to spend on entertainment. Take the dogs for nice long walks, find out where your local free museums/zoos are, join your local library (free reading and DVD hire) and ask if they run any free classes (book club perhaps), buy some board games from a charity shop and have a games night - invite some friends round and ask them to bring wine and nibbles. Find out about community sports. Most towns have ammeter sports teams, try getting involved or seeing about joining a running group. Build a big blanket den in your living room and snuggle up together like teenagers. Always try and find some fun with each other. It's nothing but crap times ahead and a hard, upward slog most days and it really grinds you down. Try to grab hold of something enjoyable.

- Speak to your DH about signing on and any benefits you may be entitled to. He won't want to do it, but there is no pride in poverty, so tell him to suck it the hell up. Now I don't know if your inheritance will result in you being entitled to nothing, but check anyways. If he can sign on, it's an extra couple of hundred pounds in your back pockets every month.

- If you smoke or like a bottle of wine/a pack of beer each week, kick it to the curb. You can no longer afford it.

- Lastly, you have to discuss your DH's spending. It has to stop. He isn't earning that lovely big wage anymore and times are tough. So get tough with him. He will run you both out of your house otherwise.

Best of luck, OP. Shoot me a message anytime if you need anything smile

Preciousbane Tue 18-Nov-14 21:47:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dotnet Thu 20-Nov-14 18:25:16

VinoTime that was such a helpful post, you thought of A LOT.

Among the cheapo shopping items which are good value I'd add Sainsbury's own brand instant coffee, sold in bags. 60p. It's fine.

Some towns have websites ' Free things to do in...(town name.)' It'd be worth taking a look to see if your town has one.

The charity shop thing is definitely a good idea. I have a skirt by Liberty and a couple of Boden things, all bought in charity shops. And I found a piece of Wemyss Ware a few years ago (£1.25 in a charity shop) which went to auction and netted me £200. THAT doesn't happen every day, but charity shops can be fun, and if you give them a chance (or your DH does) you'll find they're addictive. blush

I can see that your income is low, but it looks (I can compare it with my own)as if it IS just about liveable-on.

Oh - one last thing - as you don't know how long you're going to have to keep on being extra careful with money, - I'd suggest you keep your eyes peeled for bargains throughout the year which could do as Christmas presents. Stash them away. And buy Christmas cards when they cost next to nothing (where I live there are several charity shops selling Christmas cards at 50p a pack.)

I hope your finances ease up soon though; scraping by, long term, is hard.

Ememem84 Sat 22-Nov-14 17:17:21

We are trying at present to save for a house, pay down our mortgage on our flat as much as possible so when we do find dream house we can have a smaller mortgage etc.

I've found that its usually the little things which have caused me issues. I used to stop by the coffee shop every day before I went to work and buy a cappuccino. I used to go out and buy lunch every day and used to drive to work.

All this added up - £2 a day = £10 a week (coffee), £5 a day = £25 a week (Lunch). Parking £5 a day = £25 a week. I save myself money now by drinking the free tea and coffee while at work, and buying a french press travel mug and nice coffee for my first cup of the day. I take a pack up into work every day. And either walk to work (40 minutes so also get exercise), or take the bus in £1.80 a day and no trouble finding a parking space!

We've cut down the amount of shopping we do. We food shop once a month, and spend tend to spend £100 or less. We don't do a formal meal plan, but do make sure that we use everything up before we food shop again. We are also lucky in that my parents like to host sunday dinners, and always send us home with leftovers.

We've cut down the amount of meat we eat too which has saved us money.

I have started selling a lot on ebay, and have also started buying clothes etc from their. Nothing I've bought has been in bad condition, and it's more economical.

For toiletries, I tend to shop in boots, and buy things when they're on offer. I'm to a slave to a particular brand and just tend to buy whatevers cheapest, and whatever's on a a toofer or a threefer.

I then use the points for christmas, or for nice moisturisers/touch éclat/mascara.

second getting rid of car if you don;t need it. And also trying to downsize your mobile contracts, utilities etc.

Have a look at "things" in your home too - books, dvd's games etc. If you don't use it/haven't used it get rid - try and sell it.

Rivercam Sun 23-Nov-14 12:07:17

If you have any money on credit cards, look for balance transfers. They're cheaper than credit card rates.

VinoTime Sun 23-Nov-14 13:16:51

dotnet I love charity shops. My best buy ever was a Vera Wang dress that I picked up for a few pounds! It's been my go-to dress for special occasions and I just adore it. Every now and then I peek inside my wardrobe and admire it like a complete moron grin It's my little bit of expensive designer luxury that cost me nothing. I feel quite stupidly proud that I own it given the circumstances.

OP, I've just done another massive wardrobe cull because I have far too much stuff that I have accumulated over the years and never thrown away...to the point where it has been over spilling from the wardrobe onto my bedroom floor now for months blush I've moved house so many times in the last 9 years that bags of crap just keep pouncing on me. I never wear any of it - it just sits taking up space. A lot doesn't even fit - pre child wardrobe! I got rid of loads (about 5 bin bags worth) a couple of months ago and ran it all up to my local Cash For Clothes. I think they gave me about £25 for it all. If money was no object, I'd hand it into a charity shop, but sadly that isn't the case for me. This way I get a little cash straight into my hand for whatever I give in. Last night I went through it all again because there was still too much stuff and not enough bedroom carpet on show, and have bagged up another 4 massive refuse sacks worth of clothing/shoes/bags, etc shock Have also come across a lot of size 8/10 designer jeans/clothes/shoes (skinny, childless days when I had money to burn) that I'm going to pop on ebay. I reckon there's at least an easy £100 to be had from it all. So, if you get the chance to de-clutter, do it and see if there's some pennies to be made. It could buy you a few Christmas presents smile

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