Bills Makeover -(29 Posts)
I am about go go onto maternity leave and though we have some savings and I think I've gone through everything to reduce outgoings I was wondering if anyone here would like to have a look at our monthly spends and see if you think there's anywhere else we could save/reduce as I know sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will see something I haven't already.
Current outgoings a month are as follows -
Mortgage - £472.51
Council Tax - £123.00
Gas/Electricity - £72.00
Sofas - £40.00 (only 6 months left of these, 0% finance)
Water - £48.70
Virgin Media - £73.97
Tv License - £37.62 (Every 3 months)
Insurances (life,home,pet) -£35.62
DP Loan - £281.29 (4.9%, 46 months remaining)
Car Taxes - £30.77 (covers 2 cars)
My Car finance - £187.76 (0% 52 Months remaining)
Car Insurances - £51.80 (covers 2 cars)
Vodafone - £42.98 (covers 2 phone contracts)
We then have petrol and food shop, don't include these as DP puts about £20 a month petrol in his car (has a van for work) and I only use mine to commute at £15 a week but anticipate I won't need this much when not travelling 15 miles a day.
Average approx £40/£50 a week on food at aldi for the 2 of us and 2 cats.
Can anyone see any obvious reductions I could make or does it look as though I've managed to get everything as low as really plausible?
Working in a male dominated construction environment so will only be getting SMP whilst off.
All ideas gratefully welcomed.
Your water seems very high.Have you got or could you have a meter?
Good trick with Sky is to phone them and try to negotiate - tell them you are about to go on maternity leave and can't possibly afford the current payments.Can they give you half price for six months as a valued customer blah blah.If that doesn't work tell them you want to cancel then set it up again in your partner's name so that you can take advantage of offers for new customers. If you do that, then don't forget to use top cash back as well.
Will you be entitled to child benefit or universal credit/tax credits?
Get rid of the channels you pay for and get Netflix instead
Virgin media seems very high.
No credit cards?
Men are not like women. They don't put themselves down. I once had an OD with someone who likened themselves to George Clooney. Father Jack from Father Ted was more accurate.
reckless Water is on a meter - it was at £26 a month and then when they did the last read in September it went up to the £48. Due another read in March so hopefully will reduce payments then.
neo Child benefit yes, tax credits etc nope - Joint income is approx 45k, reducing to 30k with me being off so still over the threshold for tax credits.
wips clara reckless Have spoken to Virgin media, in contract until end April when I can then look to discuss then apparently - they're not willing to do anything before that without cancellation fees.
wips was rather confused by your 2nd comment - but must say I do agree with it
And nope no credit cards, just the 2 loans/car finance - which total approx £20k
This week's Moneysavingexpert newsletter has a step by step guide on how to review all your bills etc here.
If you have savings I should pay the sofas off, £40 extra a month in the bank. Switch council tax to pay over 12 months rather than 10. Phones are high, mine is capped at £15 a month which is plenty. No house insurance? If you are going back to work could you switch mortgage to interest only for 6 months? But, I believe savings are for times such as these so if you have to dip in to them would it be a massive problem?
I think it costs more to pay your TV licence quarterly. Look in to changing it to monthly or pay it in one lump sum if you can. I just changed from quarterly to monthly but that was more because I kept forgetting about it and getting caught out when the D/D came out of my account.
Oh I didn't realise that Ineed will have a look at it, seems silly to charge more for quarterly than monthly.
grumpy home insurance is in with the 'insurances' cost which I've included - renewal due early march, hadn't crossed my mind to pay off the sofa finance though, however it does make sense. The savings are approx 2k and wanted to try keep those in case of any crazy requirements in the 9 months I'll be off work (if fridge freezer or washer breaks or something just as typical) but freeing up a monthly amount seems logical.
My mobile is £17 a month and dp's is £25 (a % of which is claimed back on annual tax return as he uses it for work purposes)
Council tax is already over 12 months - found out about that through this site last year and changed it over.
Thanks for all your wise words, I am not trying to be obstructive (just incase anyone thinks I am) and there are definitely things here I hadn't considered.
When you renew - go through Topcashback - I just switched suppliers for something, halved my bill and got £120 cashback too - massive win. Don't buy anything without checking for Cashback offers
With such low petrol spends and husband having work van you can't be using the 2 cars much. Couldn't you keep 1 car and use buses/taxis for one off journeys where the car is already being used by the other person?
If you work out the car finance, tax, mot, fuel, insurance, repairs you will be paying a fortune on 2 cars.
bring We did go down to having just one car for about 6 months but due to the sporadic public transport system where we are it just didn't work for us. Granted at this time i was working full time as now, but then if we were to downgrade again while I'm off I'd only have to get a replacement when I return to work so it just seems a bit of a pointless exercise if that makes sense?
DP's van is only usable for work purposes, no personal use allowed at all so If he was off on a day when I had the car he would be stuck at home. Will have to look into it again now and see if it would be feasible when I'm not having to be out at work.
Do calculate in taxi journeys. So for example if you have a car that costs say £4000 on finance so say interest over the term of £400, plus yearly insurance of say £300 plus tax £100, plus mot and repairs of £500, plus parking of £100, plus fuel of £800. That's £6200. Work out how often you may both need the car and what that taxi journey may cost. It may still work out cheaper if you decide to return to work part time. As you say it may not work for you but, I think that often people rule it out and pay a lot out without having thought of costing taxis, car sharing, etc.
You have to decide if you can afford to keep your car, 2.5k a year. With a new baby unless your together, someone is going to be at home every time.
Look at your phone contract, BT & giffgaff and others do sim only for £10 & less.
I wouldn't include DPs phone in the household budget as it should be coming out of the business costs (I'm assuming he's self employed)
Check DP is claiming all business expenses e.g. stationery, home office costs
Agree with others about renegotiating/cancelling Virgin when you can, and cashback for insurance renewals
If you are going to find the money a bit tight then maybe you can look at completing surveys for vouchers or cash - might help with a few baby expenses, mystery shopping or matched betting. Surveys and shopping will only be a few quid but could help pay for the odd treat. Matched betting could get you a lot more BUT don't touch with a bargepole if you enjoy a flutter.
I probably wouldn't pay off the sofas out of savings as it's a 0% deal, so not costing you any more by paying monthly. Get the money out of savings when/if you find yourself short.
In your situation I would pay off sofas with savings and pay a years tv licence to take you up to the end of mat leave. This saves already £52 a month. You can replenish back some of your savings per month with this.
Virgin seems ridiculous. I pay £28.50
Water also seems very high I hope it does go down for you.
Try calling both mobile phone contracts and reducing your tariff.
lose the Virgin TV when the contract ends. With massive loan costs like those you really need to cut back. Any way of shedding your expensive car and replacing with a cheapie? You've got nearly 10 grand left still to pay on it! His loan is also massive, any way to renegotiate that?
those are the big ones, all else seems tinkering.
if you are at home a lot do you need a flashy mobile? If you can cope without mobile internet, buy a £10 phone and go to payg.
shop around for insurances at year end, otherwise costs will rocket. Ditto your energy costs, although those don't seem too bad. Prices are dropping so keep an eye out.
special as mine is £17 a month I figured a payg wouldn't be much cheaper would it? (Not been payg for a lot of years so have no idea)
Dp's loan was just taken out in Nov '14, discovered I was pregnant June '15 - done as they're both low rate we don't want to affect our credit ratings shopping about, but need to pay the debts off preferably before our fixed rate mortgage deal ends in 4 years. As above we are going to look into going down to 1 car for the time I'm off, and then after Xmas get a 2nd one again if needed, just need to work out the logistics (never had 9 months off work before, or a baby for that matter) we aren't out of our affordability,even with smp - but disposable cash will be greatly reduced that's all.
Spoke today to dp about cancelling virgin media as soon as we can give notice - he agrees and has been offered an android box for all of our usual tv watching so there's a lot free'd up straight away (well in 3 months) and spoke to nortumbrIan water who have advised the big increase was because when we first moved in they massively under charged us (16 a month) so are recouping the shortfall and next meter read - based on our usage in the last 18 months - should bring us around the £34 a month mark. Thanks all - knew there'd be some things we hadn't thought of.
In the winter we use £20 a month in water. I looked at how much they'd want to go DD & it was £35 a month.
Do you use a dishwasher? They save lots of water. I mainly use my washing machine on the synthetics cycle because it's 20l less water. The manual should tell you how much each cycle uses. £48 is what my mil pays with no dw.
If you use a cashback site the cheaper tariff & cashback might be cheaper even with exit fees. EE will pay exit fees for broadband packages.
Have you tried muscle foods.com? They feature a lot on "feed your family for £20 a week".
You can get mobiles for £5 a month on iD mobiles. It's a new 4G network from carphone warehouse.
ledhut.co.uk does LED bulbs which bought our electric bills down, you can order off the trade website too. I didn't realise how much lighting cost before I fitted them.
If you've paid off the cost of your mobile, you can get sim only for £10 from giffgaff for 500 mins, unlimited texts & 1gb data if I recall correctly.
or you can buy a talk and text tinyphone for a tenner and use it only for contactability - big chatting is done on the landline, which you've got anyway.
unlimited anytime landline call packages are about a fiver a month, and Sky Talk add UK mobiles for £8 a month total.
let the people with unlimited minutes phone you, and no-one really needs mobile internet if they aren't working.
oh yes, baby kit - everything second-hand except car seat and cot mattress. You'll probably get an avalanche of gifts too!
Baby stuff is all done - 4th baby in 4 years on dp's family's side (our 1st) so plenty of donations of pretty much everything, and been adding nappies and wipes into the big weekly food shop, a pack a week has made barely any different to the shopping costs.
Will look into the payg thing - mine is sim only anyway, had the phone for 3 years - so could probably get some thing even cheaper than the contract I have now.
fluffy we do have a dishwasher - it's currently claiming it doesn't fill (when it does, it lies) dp is actually taking it apart tomorrow to see if there's a blockage somehwere. All bulbs have been changed to led previously (dp is an electrician and has an abundance of the things) the electric part of our bill is only £28 a month based in meter read, rest is gas but expecting that to drop when it gets warmer too!
And looked into muscle foods but didn't work out much different to the hamper we get monthly from a local butcher - they deliver free too.
Discussed with dp and going to 1 car while I'm off, and though I'd have to get another in Jan next year when I go back to work we think the savings over the 9 months I'm off will be substantial enough to make it worthwhile - thanks as not something we had really considered.
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