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I REALLY need some budgeting help, anyone out there?!.

(19 Posts)
TheVirginNamechange Mon 06-May-13 18:04:41

So, it's coming to that time of year when the masses are going on holiday/booking their holidays/talking -constantly- about their holidays etc.
I have 2 children, work part-time and I have a DH who works full time.
I've done a really quick calculation of our incomings and outgoings and from what I can see, we have a spare £400/500 per month. Now, this is news to me. Generally we're on our arses the day(s) before our weekly paydays. Bills go unpaid and I struggled to save anything, namely in this case towards a holiday.
I cannot for the life of me work out a better way to manage things and to find this magical 'extra' money -which would pay for a bloody holiday-
I'm quite prepared to write my outgoings and incomings down on here, if someone thinks they might be able to help me?!.
Thanks in advance smile

tribpot Mon 06-May-13 18:21:03

Normally people don't write the full details out on MN, although I see no reason why you shouldn't. You can find a good tool for preparing a statement of affairs here and I think MoneySavingExpert has a spreadsheet that does something similar.

There's no quick fix to this because (like most of us) you've got money going out that's not being accounted for, probably because it's either in cash or it's irregular (so you can't track it just by looking at the last few months' bank statements).

I think you need to put in at least a month's work just tracking every expense down to the penny. That will give you a much better idea of where it's all going. Are you using credit cards and paying them off every month? This used to confuse the hell out of my financial picture because the payment was so far behind (i.e. up to 7 weeks) the purchase. I wasn't running up any interest or anything like that, but I couldn't account for the money properly. Now I treat that money as spent as soon as the purchase has been made, it doesn't matter that the money is still temporarily 'resting in my account' as Father Ted would say.

My fave budgeting software is YNAB and it's worth having a look through some of their videos even if you don't want to buy the software. It will give you some excellent tips on how to think about what your money is doing.

If you're behind on bills, you need to focus on that this year rather than a holiday, but definitely use the holiday as your motivation for the future!

timidviper Mon 06-May-13 18:25:01

I think it's easy for money to drip away without you realising. One thing that helped me when we were short was to have a set amount of cash per week and not allow myself any more than that. I would take that money out on a Monday and it had to last until the following Monday come rain or shine. It was amazing how much I saved.

TheVirginNamechange Mon 06-May-13 19:03:25

Thanks tribpot I'll have a look at that software later when the DC's are asleep. We have no credit cards, so one less thing to worry about. Very true about the holiday, it just does seem possible even if we are paying all our bills. We generally catch up at the end of the month which leaves us mega skint. I think I'd prefer a monthly pay-check.

timidviper I'm not particularly a big spender. I get paid in cash (not cash in hand before anyone comments just my bosses preferred method). So, obviously I have the money and when it's gone it's gone. We often have no spend days, both DC's are in school full time and we spend our weekends doing mainly free stuff. I get fed at work, so no lunches or anything to pay for.
DH gets paid the usual way, into a bank account, which then has our DD's going out.
If I typed the in/outs would either of you mind just number crunching to see if I'm not missing anything?.
I've named changed so not bothered about being outted I must be a rebel to want to share our -pittance- monthly finances wink.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 06-May-13 19:07:07

I have no get rich quick schemes other than car boot sales and selling stuff. If I need advice try you might recognise him of telly, he's very good. Might offer some suggestions of talents you have that others might pay for....

TheVirginNamechange Mon 06-May-13 19:14:21

Thanks heiress. Nothing to sell sad, really nothing unless anyone wanted the DC's who are driving me barmy asking for ice lollies on a never ending loop! Joke before anyone reports me!.
Martin Lewis has some fab advice, how could I forget him?. Will head over later on and see what I can find.
Thanks again.. I'm lol-ing at the talents that others may pay for, -dirty minded individual I am- I'm sure I have none hmm

tribpot Mon 06-May-13 19:16:19

VirginNamechange - YNAB is actually specifically based around the American phenomenon of being paid weekly or fortnightly when bills are mostly monthly. So I think you'll see some stuff you can use straight away, to try and make the last week of the month less of a scrabble.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 06-May-13 19:19:41

Don't put urself down. Baby sitting? Dog walking? Cat sitting? Rabbit? Plant???

Think laterally not literally. What do u have time for someone else doesn't?

TheVirginNamechange Mon 06-May-13 20:17:51

Right DC's in bed, so I'm off to have a good look at YNAB. We've been paid weekly for years and I've got worse and worse at sorting it, so annoyed with myself for effectively loosing our money.
Yes heiress I currently have 2 free days in the week when DC's are at school. Ideally I would work extra hours, but the recession is hitting our line of trade hard so it's not happening. I'll get my thinking cap on about other things I could do.
DH is trying his hardest to work an extra day, hopefully we'll be putting the extra money from that up.
Thanks again flowers

tribpot Mon 06-May-13 20:24:20

They actually have one of their live classes starting soon but it's at 1 o'clock in the morning our time smile It's good but I wouldn't lose half a night's sleep!

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 07-May-13 08:34:40

I use some rather old but entirely free Microsoft software called MS Money. You can still download it if you search for MS Money Deluxe Sunset edition... If you spend a weekend setting up your accounts, SOs and DDs, then log every time you withdraw cash or spend something on a credit card etc it's very easy to see where the money goes. My personal laptop has been away for repair for a couple of weeks and not tracking all my spending has left me feeling completely LOST!!

Simbolic Tue 07-May-13 16:24:41

I use YNAB & I'd definitely recommend it.
It's really easy to use & tailor to exactly what you do with your money & I'm already better off just for realising what I've got to pay out next month & being ready for it.

You can do a 30 day free trial of the software, so you can try it out before you decide it you want to buy it.

I picked it up in the last Steam sale about 6 weeks ago for £10, but it's usually about £30 to buy.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 07-May-13 16:33:14

If you can't account for that surplus I think it's being "frittered" away (I was an expert at frittering years ago).

Sometimes one partner is being very frugal and the other isn't. On the credit crunch threads it is sometimes the dh who is the fritterer ok most of the time but I'm trying not to generalise.

I did a spending diary for a month once, it flagged up I was spending £50-60 a month on parking and sandwiches which I hadn't expected.

There's the obvious things to get cheaper, electric tariffs, broadband, sky subscriptions, mobile phones, land line rental.

WiseKneeHair Tue 07-May-13 16:35:20

I also use YNAB and can't rave about it enough. I have been using it since March 2012 (after it was recommended by tribpot) and have gone from having no savings to several thousand! We've also just booked our second holiday of the year. If you have an iPhone or android, there is a great app which you can use to log all your spending.
I'd suggest trying the 30 day trial, even if you decide not to buy it, it will give you a good idea of where all the money is disappearing to.
Btw, our money was disappearing on takeout coffee, treats for the DC and other sundries that don't cost much in themselves, but build up day in day out. We now have a budget for everything and it has made me much more appreciative of the money.
Good luck.

Delayingtactic Tue 07-May-13 16:46:00

Me and DH fritter like its going out fashion. I now track everything with an all encompassing spreadsheet and on bad months I can berate us with the knowledge that we spent x amount in Sainsburys, y in Tescos and z on takeaway. It's all categorised now so it automatically updates the columns. It also keeps track of how much 'free' money we supposedly have and goes red if we have overspent, in which case I know I need to do some juggling.

How handy are with excel? It's definitely worth setting up something like that.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Tue 07-May-13 20:18:06

I second (third?) those who've recommended Money Saving Expert. I know Martin 'IN FULL!!!' Lewis can be a bit excitable but the advice is very sound. There's a budget planner on MSE here which I use and update every six months or so.

However day to day I use an iPhone/iPad app called Account Tracker (developer is Graham Haley) which has honestly changed my life. I started using it in January and at that point I was about £500 overdrawn. I'm now not overdrawn at all. You programme it with your income and expenditure so you can see what your account will be like in the days, weeks and months ahead. If you have a lean time coming up, you can cut back your spending accordingly. I check and update it daily, so I know exactly where I am financially. It's been a life-saver.

Another money mogul is Alvin Hall. I have a few of his books, which are very accessible. His big bit of advice in the first instance is to carry a notebook around for a month and write down every single penny you spend, including what comes out of your account via DD or SO - you and your DH will both need to compete a spending diary. After a month you sit down and work out exactly where your money is going. Only when you know this can you start to address any overspending issues, so I'd suggest doing that first.

ihearsounds Tue 07-May-13 20:31:54

It's amazing how much you spend on shit. The odd bottle of water. Bar of chocolate. Comic for the kids. I was amazed how much I wasted on shit.

Every single penny that was spent was written down. Note thing on the phone was my mate. Money in shops. Money on line. DD's. Everything was written down and more importantly what that money was.

Quickly found where the money was going, and so it was easy to make simple changes. Little things so we are saving money, but we are still having treats.

northender Tue 07-May-13 20:34:57

Dh and I have been using Expense Manager (android app) on my mobile since January. You can record income and outgoings on it but we've just used it for our spending. It has been great for us in identifying where our money goes as you can categorise spending too. Agree with tribpot that we count spending at the time even if it is on a credit card.

PiHigh Tue 07-May-13 20:42:57

Mine is all in a spreadsheet. I have:
One sheet for monthly bills (relates to Joint account)
One sheet for yearly bills, with the monthly equivalent (total when added together = the amount that gets paid into Joint Savings each month) and a running total for each 'bill' across each month of the year starting in the month it is due (so that it adds up to the total in the month before being due so we can pay it on time)
One summary sheet, basically works out the total to be paid into each joint account (when taking child benefit into account - could also add tax credits, etc if you get any of those)
One sheet for Dh's personal bills, relates to regular payments from his current account
One sheet for my bills, realtes to regular payments from my personal account (e.g. phone, gym)

Then basically Dh's income (I'm a sahm) is paid into his personal account, total for bills is paid into joint accounts as per above, the leftover is split equally so he transfers half the leftover to me. From that we save what we want and spend what we want.

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