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What is a 'comfortable' amount to have left after bills?

(22 Posts)
weakestlink Fri 26-Aug-11 23:26:50

I am considering not returning to work following ML.

We will be left with £1205 a month after all bills / direct debits / standing orders are paid but not food (£400) or petrol (£100ish).

What is a comfortable amount to be left with at the end of the month?

madhattershouse Fri 26-Aug-11 23:29:17

erm.. to me that sounds comfortable. I think we are going tp have about £300 p/m (dp just fornd new job) and I thought that was nice!

nancy75 Fri 26-Aug-11 23:29:27

that is more than enough - after bills, food ect you will have £700 left

Alibabaandthe80nappies Fri 26-Aug-11 23:35:36

It depends what you will have to pay for out of that.

Running a car?
Repairs to the house?
Replacement furniture?

weakestlink Fri 26-Aug-11 23:48:41


Yes: We have 2 cars but both under warranty for another 3 years and have service plans included in budget so nothing major really. Insurance & road tax included in budget.

Clothes: yes (supermarket clothes fine)

Repairs: yes but our house is 5yrs old so not expecting anything major.

Replacement furniture: nothing we own is over 5 years old but yes in theory but we do have rainy day fund.

We are 2 adults and 2DC.

nickschick Fri 26-Aug-11 23:50:32

I think you just have to take a leap and see - if it fails you could get a part time job to tide you over,like many mums do.

needtogetalife Fri 26-Aug-11 23:51:07

that to me sounds more than enough to do lots and enjoy it all

cat64 Fri 26-Aug-11 23:53:51

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Alibabaandthe80nappies Fri 26-Aug-11 23:59:31

I think it sounds ok - but I would definitely put half of that into savings each month so that you have something to fall back on.

I'm a SAHM and my DH earns a good salary but it is amazing how much you can suddenly need to find if a few things crop up at once and you've only got one salary to cover it.

Popbiscuit Sat 27-Aug-11 00:03:12

On paper it sounds doable doesn't it? Don't forget to take into account:
-gifts (birthdays, christmas)
-school supplies / sports gear
-entertainment (you can make this as little or as much as you see fit)
-children's activities
-home repairs (not improvements but maintenance)
-anything relating to pets (you didn't specify)

Those things can eat into that amount pretty quickly. As long as you don't eat out / go out to eat or entertain lots should be perfectly manageable. Do you have any longterm financial goals?

weakestlink Sat 27-Aug-11 00:18:27

yes on paper it looks ok and I have tried to account for as much as I can in the budget... But "life" just seems very expensive!!!

We have 1 cat but I have included his insurance and vet plan (vacs/deflea/deworm) in the budget and then his food is included in my weekly shop £85ish.

No longterm goals really - DH pays into a pension fund which will continue as normal. We put 10% total income to rainy day account so won't be putting as much as if I was working. I am currently 26 so time is on my side.

I am thinking I might be SAHM for 2 years or so until DC2 starts preschool if it works (?)

Would not be a major issue to give up my car actually if I was SAHM.... Not long bought it so that would be annoying but it's an option...

I find making important decisions very difficult! Can you tell?!

Alibabaandthe80nappies Sat 27-Aug-11 00:36:22

Do you pay into a pension for yourself? Even a small amount now will make a big difference in the end.
I have a private stakeholder with my bank that we pay into each month.

weakestlink Sat 27-Aug-11 10:44:46

Hi alibaba I do actually have a stakeholder pension with Scottish widows buy only pay £30/month token amount at the moment. I was planning on seriously upping it once both children are in school (I'll be 30 at that point so still 30+ years to pay in...) DH's employer has a good scheme and match contributions up to 8% I think so he pays quite a lot in.

Just done weekly shop - £85 as usual but did have to spend £25 on birthday presents and cards which makes me think a) I should start keeping a stash and buy stuff when it's on offer and b) I should add a category in the budget for birthdays. I have already put one for Xmas don't know why I didn't think of bdays!

niceguy2 Sat 27-Aug-11 13:04:10

I think it's certainly doable but whilst some people I'm sure will think it's a fortune, I think over a month it's not a lot left. £700 a month / 4.5 weeks = £155ish.

Given a trip to Mcdonalds is easily about £15-£20 and if you want to take the kids out the costs quickly rack up. I mean last weekend I took the kids to the water park at Alton Towers and that was £60 alone.

I think as long as you realise there probably will be weeks where money is tight then fair enough.

<Cue lots of people telling me that IABU and they have to survive off £2.50 per week including food>

Popbiscuit Sat 27-Aug-11 13:37:28

Weakest Link--We gave up our second car after our 2nd was born so that I could stay at home. I have to say it was absolutely fine; we bought a really cozy double jogging stroller with a great rain/snow canopy and it was no problem to walk everywhere with the DCs (even through Canadian winters!). I know it seems like a scary prospect but now we have a second car and three children, I actually miss those walking-everywhere days (you will be in great shape too if you walk everywhere).
Best of luck smile

h2ohno Sat 27-Aug-11 21:37:28

Sounds very doable. We were in a similar situation and have been fine. My only advice would be to look into your DH getting redundancy insurance just in case, seeing as he will be the sole provider for the family. Also look into websites like for more advice on how to work out your household budget.

Enjoy! They will possibly be the best years of your life. smile

weakestlink Sat 27-Aug-11 22:03:55

I think we're going to give it a try! I still have 5 months of ML left 2 months of which are paid so we'll try living off the lower budget and see how it goes.

I had also forgotten that my car payments of £388 will end in July 2012 so budget increases to £1593.

I do realise this is more than enough to live on and that a lot of people live on far less but I agree with niceguy that activities really do add up! Hopefully DS1 will be well catered for at kindergarten though as he gets his 15 free hours which we have topped up to 20 and they do all sorts including PE, swimming and even tennis in the summer term hmm and then he is about to start an 8 week nhs speech & language course which is 2 hours in a nursery type setting.

As for DS2, all the activites I do with him are free (sure start) or minimal cost such as £1 for playgroup once a week. We are lucky to live on the coast and so there are loads of free activites on our doorstep but downside is you do kind of need a car - not totally necessary as there is a good bus provision and the bus stop is at the end of our back garden - but a car is useful...

I think I've convinced myself!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 28-Aug-11 14:33:57

I would say that if you can save 10% of your takehome every month after paying all DDs, bills, regular outgoings (food, clothes, school trips, car services etc) and 'normal' budgeted one-offs like a family holiday then you're doing well.

AbbyLou Mon 29-Aug-11 19:34:00

I would say that sounds like loads. After all bills and petrol/diesel we have about £600 left. £300 of that goes on food so we have £150 each. This is not really enough to live comfortably and do nice things but we manage. Things will get better for us from next month as dd starts school, dh gets a slight pay rise and we will stop having to pay the bank £220 to get rid of our overdraft. We should be at least £500 a month better off which feels amazing.

weakestlink Tue 30-Aug-11 12:58:39

Hi Abby - childcare is so expensive isn't it?! We actually waited to have DC2 until DC1 was eligible for his free 15 hours/week because it seemed unmanageable to have 2 in daycare! We are going to top DC1's hours up to 20/week (5 mornings) and I am going to postpone DC2's place until 2012 for now (don't want to lose deposit!). My gym has a crèche which costs £1.50/hr so I might book him a couple of hours a week there once he's a bit older (6m now) as there's no regular commitment.
If my calculations are correct you'll have £1100 left from next month so very similar position to us - let me know how you get on!!!!

BertieBotts Tue 30-Aug-11 13:27:40

My definition of "comfortable" is if you can think "we need this" or even "i could do with that" (eg a new frying pan because the old one is quite battered, or new trousers for one of the DC who always seems to be running out, or a different cup for your toddler which doesn't spill - situations where you could make do with what you have, but it would make your life easier to have a new one or different design etc) and just go out and buy it without worrying, or thinking whether you need to wait until next month.

cat64 Tue 30-Aug-11 13:35:20

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