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Money saving tips

(18 Posts)
DillyDaydreaming Fri 27-May-11 09:49:53

Hello all, I am about to take a career break for 6-12 months (depending on how far the money goes) to support my DS who is autistic with some issues he is having around anxiety, sleep and seperation from me. I am exhausted and not giving 100% to home. DS or work due to tiredness.
It's not a decision I have taken lightly as for some of the time I might have to claim full housing benefit (although can manage initially from savings). On the other hand I think time spent helping DS now will save society money in the future.

At present I earn quite well working part time and I have enough savings to last me for 3-4 months if I am careful. The career break is not set in stone and if I can sort DS out in that time then I can go back to my normal hours and then won't have to go down the housing benefit route iyswim. The leave will be unpaid obviously and I still have to pay for my lease car which is £100 a month.

Sooo - cutting costs. So far I have decided...

Sky package can go back to basics for TV, broadband and phone
Petrol costs will decrease as I won't be travelling as many miles.
Mobile phone I have to continue due to contract and is £30 a month. This is paid out of DS's DLA payment so the school can contact me where needed.
I will also cancel for the time being a charity donation I make - it's only £15 a month but even so.
I will also cancel the mobile phone insurance
At a push I could also cancel the home contents insurance.

I can save myself a good £100 a month by doing the above things.

But food shopping, there is only myself and DS - what do you reckon is a reasonable amount? I am a bit of a "happy shopper" if you know what I mean grin. Too much time browsing and perhaps buying things I do not need!
I am hoping to cook and freeze stuff to be more economical and to use Lidl rather than Tesco. I will meal plan which is not something I am doing at the moment.
DS's Dad will help too he says.

In don't have any other real outgoings - no gym membership etc or loans or credit cards.

I lose my lease car in December and at present due to cutbacks my employer will not renew this. I cannot actually do my job without a car (community midwife and HV) so have got to try and prepare for that too.
ExDH who is supportive says he will help me with buying a cheap "old banger" to get from A-B so going back to work will not be an issue.

Sooo - reasonable amount for me and DS re food/cleaning stuff etc (DS is 8.5)
Anywhere else I could save or any other money saving tips.

Thank you.

chopchopbusybusy Fri 27-May-11 09:55:27

Please think twice about cancelling home contents insurance. I tend not to buy things like extended warranties and wouldn't insure my mobile, but having no contents insurance would give me sleepless nights. Maybe try to change it though for a cheaper one.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 27-May-11 11:22:56

My family is just me and DS (11) and we typically get through £50-60/week on groceries and non-foods. That covers all packed lunches etc. and we don't eat out or get takeaways but we don't exactly scrimp either. Sainsbury's at the moment are running a 'feed a family of 4 for £50/week' promotion, so using that as a benchmark, it should be possible to feed 2 on £25-£30... add another £10/week for non-foods.

When your mobile phone contract expires, Tesco are doing quite a good contract offer. £10/month gets you £30-worth of calls, they claim.

I'd also be very loathe to get rid of home contents insurance. Shop around and get it cheaper, certainly. I use Direct-Line (not on comparison sites) and they do a pretty good rate.

Good luck

DillyDaydreaming Sat 28-May-11 09:18:47

Thank you for the tips - there is also a good "cheap meal" thread going at the moment so have marked my place there too.

SandyChick Sun 29-May-11 08:39:07

When my dh is away like at the moment (he's in royal navy) it's just me and ds (3.9) Ds is at nursery school so we both have 3 meals per day at home. I spend £180 per month which inc non food items like cleaning stuff and cat food/litter. I make batches of food to freeze. I get milk delivered by milkman and there's a fruit and veg van that comes around that is alot cheaper than a supermarket and the quality and freshness is so much better too. I spend around £10 per week on fruit and veg. We eat out once or twice a week.

I wouldn't cancel your home insurance. If you are cancelling your mobile insurance make sure that your phone is covered on your home insurance. Are you able to change your mobile contract to lower the cost or swap to PAYG?

onadietcokebreak Sun 29-May-11 08:45:34

Does you DS claim any disability benefits? Trying to work out if you may qualify for income support as a carer.

Agree do not cancel home contents.

onadietcokebreak Sun 29-May-11 08:47:25

Sorry just reread and realised there is DLA. What type and rate?

ninedragons Sun 29-May-11 13:23:12

Yes I was nodding along with your list until you got to cancelling home contents insurance - please don't, it's not superfluous. Shop around if necessary or raise the excess, but I really wouldn't cancel it completely.

Adair Sun 29-May-11 13:27:58

£30 seems a lot for mobile phone. Sure you could cut that easily. You don't need the mobile phone insurance - if you sign a new contract you will get a new phone and keep the old one in case of theft (assuming you don't have an old one already) is fantastic.

FattyAcid Sun 29-May-11 13:35:46

Change your utilities suppliers using a price comparison site
Look at the money saving expert site
Think if alternative ways to raise some cash - car boot sale etc

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 29-May-11 13:36:20

"At a push I could also cancel the home contents insurance." Please don't, it could be the falsest of economies. All the rest looks good.

FattyAcid Sun 29-May-11 13:38:01

Can you ditch the lease car and do without?

FattyAcid Sun 29-May-11 13:40:27

Re cleaning stuff I think you can make your own from lemons/vinegar etc there is even a homemade washing machine powder if you google it

FattyAcid Sun 29-May-11 13:41:20

Good luck by the way and I hope it turns out really well for you and your ds smile

Adair Sun 29-May-11 13:41:46

When you do your home contents, you could do a huge excess if you plan to only claim if fire or flood. That brings down costs.

tribpot Sun 29-May-11 13:49:14

Just to echo everyone else, please don't cancel contents insurance. I nearly posted this on the 'worst birthday ever' thread earlier but this is a better place - 8 years ago I moved into a new flat just before my 31st birthday. Went away for the weekend to celebrate with friends and some people broke in, nicked all the valuables and then set the place on fire. I lost everything. Without contents insurance I would have been out something in the region of 20 grand. (I'd also like to go on record and say Royal and Sun Alliance were absolutely brilliant and even after all this time I can't thank them enough for the way they dealt with my claim).

Will you qualify for any benefits if on a (voluntary) career break?

Can anyone at work take the car over whilst you're off?

Is there no way out of the mobile phone contract? That's a lot of money just so the school can make the odd phonecall to you (fully understand why you need to be contactable of course).

I assume you already claim your Council Tax rebate as a single person, have you shopped around for your utility bills?

whyme2 Sun 29-May-11 13:49:47

just a warning - but when we cancelled out tv package we still had to pay for another two months. So it wasn't an instant saving IYSWIM?

Also again don't cancel insurance.

Also Wanted to wish you luck and hope everything does get sorted with your ds. smile

DillyDaydreaming Mon 30-May-11 15:27:51

Thank you for all your tips and suggestions. Will shop around for a better mobile phone deal. Lease car is going and my exDH is helping me buy a second hand car (very cheap one).
Feeling a bit wobbly about it still but thankfully if I need to work I can on an ad hoc basis.

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