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Can we live comfortably on this?

(24 Posts)
puglife15 Tue 18-Apr-17 23:09:45

I've recently changed jobs and our childcare bills have increased. DH and I calculated that after essential household bills incl childcare and petrol we'll have about £700 a month left to pay for everything else including saving for the future / pension / holidays / home improvements / clothes / gifts / social life etc.

This is significantly less than we had before mat leave to the tune of about £1000. But can it be comfortable?

I'm currently on mat leave. We meal plan and shop online or at Lidl (veggie meals from scratch mostly), have no costly hobbies or expensive phones/sub TV, we drink maybe £20 worth of beer or wine between us per week at home, we do go out for a coffee or meal most weekends. We don't buy loads of new clothes or anything like that.

We are both above average earners in good jobs so it feels frustrating that we live frugally but will still have to watch every penny - we do have quite a big mortgage and childcare here is extremely expensive and not likely to get much cheaper any time soon.

It just feels quite tight and we are wondering if we'll ever go on holiday again!

Can anyone please think of other ways we could save money? We've already looked at our household bills.

puglife15 Tue 18-Apr-17 23:12:09

Oh and we run one (pretty old) car, DH needs it to get to work.

nannynick Wed 19-Apr-17 08:02:01

Have you looked at childcare costs in terms of using Tax-Free Childcare (being rolled out now) or Childcare Vouchers. The savings can be around £1800-2000 per year, though depends on eligibility.

NeverTwerkNaked Wed 19-Apr-17 08:15:11

It's horrible when childcare costs are massive.
Hopefully when free hours kick in it will ease the pain a bit?

Is there any chance one /both of you can do compressed hours so you can reduce the time you need nursery for?

NeverTwerkNaked Wed 19-Apr-17 08:17:38

For meals out : look for vouchers/ offers. Or if you shop at tesco /similar you may be able to use the points for a meal out?

Cut the wine /beer if necessary? I went without any for a year or so when I was a single mum with no spare cash! I used to pour a glass of schloer or similar into a wine glass if I wanted to feel indulgent blush

Bobbybobbins Wed 19-Apr-17 08:23:30

The two things that saved us money recently was when our free hours kicked in for our eldest and managing to remortgage on a better deal, if there is any option to do that? Saved us more than 400 a month.

amy85 Wed 19-Apr-17 15:07:44

£700 is loads!!! In a few years your childcare costs will decrease then you'll have more to save again

specialsubject Wed 19-Apr-17 18:39:52

From £1700 a month spare to £700 is quite a drop. Do you have six months savings stashed?

Can you cope if the boiler or the car blows? Might want to think of that before losing £80 a month on booze.

AmberLin Wed 19-Apr-17 18:47:43

I too thought £80 a month on booze was a lot. The Lidl wine is superb and cheap though...

puglife15 Wed 19-Apr-17 23:55:04

Thanks all. To answer some questions...

£20 on booze is probably a bit generous, it's usually a bottle of Lidl wine at £6 and some beers maybe another £6.

If we eat out it's usually a coffee or a sandwich. So £6-20 for all of us. We don't collect many points as do most shops in Lidl or Ocado (child with allergies so need some specialist products).

We already get free hours for one child and childcare vouchers...

We have just about got six months pay (after tax) in savings but some of it is tied up in shares etc.

We've just got a new boiler with 10 year guarantee so that's sorted, but need to buy a new car.

Mortgage due for renewal in August and I'm hoping our repayments will come down by £100+ a month but no guarantee.

I know £700 is not going to leave us on the breadline but it's whether we can live comfortably really or whether we need to make a big change - like move to a cheaper area - to improve our quality of life.

It just seems a bit depressing that after our good degrees and working our way up in our careers after 15 years, we are questioning whether we can afford a weekly bottle of Lidl wine. Should have become a bloody lawyer.

LookAtTheFlowersKerry Wed 19-Apr-17 23:59:22

Does that include food?

We've been trying to stick to under £1k for food, petrol and extras. Dh works ten minutes drive away and I don't drive so petrol is about £80 a month including other trips out. We spend about £80pw on food for five of us and two animals. It's tight but we budget carefully now and pretty much manage it every month with enough left for a meal out/cinema trips etc.

It's certainly doable and doesn't necessarily mean living like paupers. I think £700 would be tight for us but then there are five of us including two busy teenagers.

puglife15 Thu 20-Apr-17 00:00:51

Oh and DH is compressing hours which will save us about £50 a week but means he won't see kids much on other weekdays and very early starts.

I don't have tax free childcare in new job yet but that will help when/if i do get it.

There's got to be something else?!

puglife15 Thu 20-Apr-17 00:03:44

Look not weekly shop but it will include top up shops, lunches and anything else eaten or drunk out during the week.

AvaCrowder2 Thu 20-Apr-17 00:14:23

It's just the way it is, when you have childcare expenses. Not forever.

puglife15 Thu 20-Apr-17 00:19:37

I just don't see it getting much cheaper though as I'll still have to pay for before and after school and holiday care, plus they don't do any hobbies or classes at the moment and inevitably they'll want to add they get older...

Riderontheswarm Thu 20-Apr-17 00:19:41

Could you not use some of your savings? What are they for if you can't use them when you need money? I would split half of them over the next couple of years when your childcare bill is at its highest and keep the other half for emergencies such as the boiler or car breaking down. You should end up with an extra couple of hundred pounds or more per month. You are saying you have no money but you do have money you just don't think you should spend it.

puglife15 Thu 20-Apr-17 00:22:22

Sorry i know i sound negative, perhaps I'm wrong but people seem to say they get more expensive not less??

Our childcare bill will only reduce by about £120 a month when oldest starts school for example

puglife15 Thu 20-Apr-17 00:24:56

Rider DH wouldn't agree to that unless we were struggling to feed ourselves, and to be fair he's got a point. We wouldn't be able to replenish those savings - it's from an inheritance mostly.

LookAtTheFlowersKerry Thu 20-Apr-17 00:25:03

If there's no weekly shop in that budget then I reckon it's well doable.

I have a daily budget app that really helps, you just put in the amount you have for the month and it gives you a running tally. Things like petrol and milk/bread etc can be spread over how long they'll last so it makes more sense and you can easily see how much you have available on a daily basis.

I find this much easier than just a monthly tally, and it becomes a competition to keep it in the black (or shiny blue) and not the red (muted brown).

puglife15 Thu 20-Apr-17 00:28:25

Oh that sounds good and would help me to see what I'm spending on too. I seem to pop to places like wilko or Superdrug every few days and spend £15 on things we "need" for the house or kids. I also think i eat out more than i think i do...

What's the app called please?

LookAtTheFlowersKerry Thu 20-Apr-17 00:32:12

I think it's just called Daily Budget! It's a freebie one.

We've got our average spend down from around 1.5k to under 1k in the two months I've been using it. And I am a MASSIVE fritterer. It's been an eye opener.

Stripyhoglets Sat 22-Apr-17 15:40:34

We dropped a thousand afyer having my first. We managed as previously we'd been saving to buy a house and it has gone back up as childcare dropped and I increased my hours.

Stripyhoglets Sat 22-Apr-17 15:41:01

Posted too soon - and we died fine with about the same as you.

Stripyhoglets Sat 22-Apr-17 15:41:16

Did fine!

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