I am a total screw up, please help me budget.

(31 Posts)
Tootyfilou Tue 20-Sep-16 14:46:11

Hi you clever lot, could you please give me some hints and tips to take control (at very long last) of my finances?
Long story short, DH and myself have been utter fuckwits our whole married life when it comes to money. He has taken control of the day to day finances, but I cannot blame him because I have been completely passive and not really engaged (he has not done anything behind my back, I have been fully aware of all loans etc)
The upshot of this is though we have 2 good incomes our debt, utilities and mortgage comes to over £3000 per month leaving us £1,300 to live on.
Our 2 children have gone to University this year so we are paying £400 each to them ( this sum is not in the calculations)
This is where I want advice.
We simply cannot get into any more debt, and hope to pay off all we owe in the next 3 years.
This is how I have divided up the money.
£100 per month petrol. Both have cars but need them for jobs.
£100 per week food and toiletries. I am going to try to keep this to £70 per week if I can
I want to save £500 per month, not sure if this is always going to be possible, but as we have NO savings we need to have a contingency fund .
The remaining £300 pounds was going to be £50 pounds pocket money for Dh and myself and a float of £200 pounds.
Does this sound ok? the other factor is DS is at a nearby University although living out, so if he comes home for weekends we will obviously spend slightly more on food for him.
We have no money saved for Christmas which is why I want to save £500 per month.
I am sort of ignoring the clothes issue! Dh is okay for winter clothes. I had quite a few new things last winter and am perfectly happy to look on ebay for clothes. will need new shoes though.
last question... We are payed at the end of the month, do you think I should do a store cupboard shop or not? cupboard are a bit depleted and so is freezer.
Many thanks for any advice, I realise I am an idiot... we could be having a fantastic lifestyle if we had not completely cocked up our lives, but I am absolutely determined to change.

OP’s posts: |
prettymess Tue 20-Sep-16 17:34:42

Doesn't matter what's happened. This is the situation now.

Your plan sounds pretty good. Just make sure everything has a plan/envelope... Having pocket money each is a good idea.

Where do you shop for groceries? What needs have you got, like new furniture/appliances or car costs coming up?

Leatherboundanddown Tue 20-Sep-16 21:37:11

Rather than saving 500 per month you should use that to pay down your debt first. The sooner you clear that the better off you'll be per month.

Ginmakesitallok Tue 20-Sep-16 21:39:32

Saving 500 while you have debts seems a bit odd.

AndNowItsSeven Tue 20-Sep-16 21:45:23

£70-£100 a week for food and toiletries that's a ridiculous amount. I spend that on our family of nine.
£1300 for two people after all bills and mortgage is loads. Many people raise children on £1300 a month including bills and rent.

Ememem84 Tue 20-Sep-16 21:49:36

Agree. Pay down the debt. Then save.

Come and join us in the frugal board. We'll fix you up. X

SingaSong12 Tue 20-Sep-16 21:57:34

The Money advice service website has budgeting tools and info on how to deal with debt.


AdoraBell Tue 20-Sep-16 22:28:05

Paying the £500 off your debt each month will be much better. Although it feels good to have savings you won't get more interest than your are racking up on the debts.

Also, is the £100 for groceries for 4 people or just you and DH? I spend a bit less than that for a family of 4, that includes 2 hungry teenagers, and 4 large dogs.

AdoraBell Tue 20-Sep-16 22:38:08

Have you done an inventory of your store cupboards, what, if any, meals could be made before you need to buy more? Meal planning is a good way of getting more control of spending. Only buy what you need and check your cupboards before shopping. Try a cheaper version of what you normally buy, fe Tesco Finest range gets replaced with their standard range, or standard with basic. Some things are just as good as their more expensive counterparts.

Look for shoes on discounted websites, shoeaholics is good for cut price expensive footwear, or Amazon for cheaper options.

ivykaty44 Tue 20-Sep-16 22:44:58

I would take out £100 in cash for the entire week for both of you and that includes petrol

£25 for petrol
£50 for food shopping
£12 pocket money for the week

What or where are you spending money on ?

Do this each week till Christmas and you will save £900 each month

ivykaty44 Tue 20-Sep-16 22:46:59

Oh and put all credit and debit cards in the freezer

It stops you spending

Just use cash

Tootyfilou Tue 20-Sep-16 23:38:05

Thanks for all the replies... I knew you would all be great!
Bit more info. I realise that £1300 after bills is a good amount, and that many families live on far less than this and count myself very lucky.
I said £100 per week food toiletries etc; but think we could easily do it on £70 or even less. I was planning on saving whatever was left.
I forgot to say we also have 2 large dogs, their food is expensive, £40-50 per month, but this is something I will not compromise on, so it will be counted for in our weekly budget

I already regularly shop in Aldi/ Lidl so that is not a problem.
I totally understand about using any spare money to pay off debt. The problem is at the minute we literally have no money in savings. So have nothing in case of any emergency. Once I have saved up some cash I am happy to reduce the amount saved per month and put it towards paying off some debt.
I changed one store card to an interest free one and downloaded my internet banking App, that I obsessively look at 1000 times per day!
I am pretty good at meal planning for the 2 of us, Dh is very easy going and not at all fussy, although neither of us want to live on a diet of pasta and beans, we are both happy to mostly give up meat as long as we are eating fairly healthy meals.
Plan to get cash out every week and budget weekly. I would like my pocket money as a lump sum though, incase I need to buy a clothing item, haircut or something.
I feel so much self loathing over this situation. I am a highly qualified professional woman and yet I have completely mismanaged my personal finances... so badly that it will have life long consequences.

Thank you all for your advice, I really appreciate it, this is something I could never talk about in real life.

OP’s posts: |
Ememem84 Wed 21-Sep-16 07:02:04

Re the dog food, are you Amazon prime? Get the dog food online. I've just bought 2kg cat biscuits and 80 wet food pouches for £20 or thereabouts. Way cheaper than the shops.

Leatherboundanddown Wed 21-Sep-16 08:25:30

Once you decide to stick to it and sort it out it does become easier. I went from having bad credit and a terrible attitude to spending to actually having savings in less than two years.

You have to decide what is important to YOU. So you have already said that your pet food is non negotiable, totally fine so make cutbacks elsewhere. Things like beauty treatments and new clothes are unimportant to me right now as I have loads already so I don't spend there. However things that are important to me are that dd has nice things and does an activity at the weekend so I am frugal in the week to account for this.

I used to waste so much cash on eating and drinking out all the time. I got this down to say once a week and this saved loads. My food budget is currently v low as I mainly work from home and dd has free school dinners for the next 2 years too.

You can reduce your travel costs sometimes by planning your week better sometimes. Eg can you walk/cycle anywhere that you don't already? Look for free parking options so that you never pay. Walk one way and get a bus back if less than the parking cost etc etc etc.

Grumpyoldblonde Wed 21-Sep-16 09:33:22

Have I misunderstood, are you paying £800 to your kids each month? Can they get part time jobs? They seem to have more money than you from what you have written unless I have missed something?

AndNowItsSeven Wed 21-Sep-16 09:55:38

Grumpy the op dc have been prevented from borrowing the maximum loan on the assumption the op is tooting up to at least the maximum loan amount.
Of course she needs to give them the money, their entitlement is based on their parents income. It's not opt out, at least not morally.

Grumpyoldblonde Wed 21-Sep-16 10:08:24

No but I wondered if they could get some part time work, if one is a at nearby university then they could move back home maybe, if things are bad financially sometimes big measures are called for.
I admit I don't understand Uni financing as I'm not at that stage yet.

Tootyfilou Wed 21-Sep-16 11:15:01

Morning! Not giving my Kids £800 each, giving them almost £400 per month each. Because of our income we do not qualify for any grant. They are good kids and both have part time jobs. My Dd is actually doing a Post graduate degree for 4 years ( not going to say what as a bit identifying)
The money goes towards rent and food, also any clothing they need.

The one that is at a nearby University, could have lived at home to save money I agree. However he has suffered from quite severe depression in the last few years, did so well in his exams and really wanted to live out. Going to a University fairly near home was a compromise for all of us, as he was offered (and made the grades for a better University) but felt he wanted to be closer to home incase he needed more support.
I also feel ( rightly or wrongly, that if we had not made such a mess of everything my children would have a much brighter financial future. I feel very guilty that we have frittered so much money away on basically nothing.

I am thinking of just saving £300 per month and putting £200 towards the debt. I just feel very anxious about having no savings to use.
Where as previously we would have whacked any extra on the credit card this is no longer an option.
Travel costs are an issue. We both have to use our cars for work. I cover a wide area in the course of my job and Dh works weird hours so could not use public transport. Public transport is pretty dire where we live due geography and lack of funding. its also really expensive!
My car is quite economical and I use about £50 petrol per month.

Thanks so much for your replies and sorry my post are a bit long. It is actually quite cathartic to be able to talk about this.

OP’s posts: |
annielostit Wed 21-Sep-16 12:42:44

Until Christmas & you've had your winter shoes, save/use the £300 & pay the £200 off the debt. After xmas £100 saving for what needed & £400 off the debt. Unless it's over £10k the debts will be half gone by next winter.
Good luck

Charlesroi Wed 21-Sep-16 18:46:09

Yep, start slow. I understand you wanting an emergency fund in case the washing machine goes tits-up, for example, and you can't stick a new one on the credit card.

Double check all your bills are accounted for (dental, dog insurance, MOTs?). Personally I think essential clothing should be part of the 'bills' budget too. 'Pocket money' is a good idea - helps you decide between need and want.

Your food and toiletries budget is extremely generous, so I'm sure you can make some savings there. There's no way you should have to give up meat on £50 a week never mind £100. Make sure you include bought lunches (cheaper not to obv) and takeaways(treats) in that. Also remember there's nowt wrong with an omelette or egg and chips once a week. grin

Once you start paying down the cards look to getting an interest-free transfer deal (if possible). Google debt snowballing too, to make sure you are paying the debt off in the most efficient way.

You'll get this sorted soon. All the best.

ivykaty44 Wed 21-Sep-16 20:37:50

I'm not sure I can see the logic in not paying off debt as you don't have savings for emergency? If you pay if the debt and in the mean time you have an emergency then reclaim some of the debt?
Though in saying that if you really want to save see if you can get a higher interest account. If you have an account with two direct debits you can switch to m&s bank and get£100 worth of vouchers for switching. Then every month you put £1000 in the account they give you £10. So far I switched an old dormant account I had at another bank ( I put two dd into it on purpose to switch) and I put in the same £1000 every month by so and then so put it back a day later into znother account. I have had £150 to spend - handy for clothing or meals for 2 and a bottle of wine. I'm going to buy dome presents for Xmas with it.
Have you looked at your utility bills?

Change your electric and gas, tbh I changed again to m&s and am saving £400 this year - I was able to use two years worth of actual bills to check. ( Plus they gave me £40 voucher!, More clothes for free)

Water bills are better to be on meters if there are less people than bedrooms in house.

Phones, 3 dim only at £9 unlimited minutes, text and 4 GB is the best deal on the market at.

Home broadband and landline TV etc - not my bag as we don't have a land line or tv, but shop around for deals or telephone your own supplier to get a better deal

Ememem84 Wed 21-Sep-16 21:14:58

Also re the broadband and tv can you switch to a better deal?

We ditched sky last year and got now tv and Netflix. Now tv offers sky 1, sky living Atlantic and a bunch of other channels (all things we watched). For 6.99 a month.

Tootyfilou Thu 22-Sep-16 12:04:03

Thank you all once again so much for your replies. Some excellent ideas and also appreciate the support.
We changed from Sky to Talk Talk last year as we were paying a ridiculous amount. It's fine and I don't miss Sky at all.
I totally get what everyone is say about using excess money to pay off debt. After Christmas We will use the money to do this, but up until then I want to save so we have cash to pay for it and any emergencies.
I doubt we will spend £70-100 per week on food. Since Sunday I have only spent £20 on food, so hopefully this will mean even more money can go towards the debt.
We have planned to be debt free in 4 years, with the biggest loans payed off in 2. If we can keep on track there is light at the end of the tunnel .
Hope no one minds if I keep posting as I find it very helpful, and I am sure I will need more help!
Thank you all again.

OP’s posts: |
Grumpyoldblonde Thu 22-Sep-16 12:17:23

Not sure if this has been mentioned, am in a rush and have a poorly child here, but if you do any switching or buy anything then it's worth going through Topcashback, I got £110.00 for switching broadband providers and got a much lower bill too. I use it for everything, had to buy a new fridge, got £6 cashback and still got the fridge at the best price, so worth it when ordering any Christmas presents. I hope you do keep posting, the SHTF for us recently and I am going from very comfy thank you to being poor sad so will be getting tips here.

ivykaty44 Thu 22-Sep-16 17:35:02

Snowball debit means you pay of the debit with the highest interest rate first, then once that is cleared you start on the next debt with the second highest debt, Google how it works as it will help you pay of and manage your debit far better.

You may well find that once your four years are up that you live a different lifestyle and will then be saving.

Don't forget in four years your dc should be self sufficient so your disposable income will increase and you can put away money for rainy days.

Living with cash is an interesting habit as you are much more accountable for your spending when you hand over cash, or if your purse is empty.

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