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How to make a little stretch very far?(17 Posts)
I'm on the first month of smp and the reality of having no money has hit me.
I have a fairly well paid job and have some savings for when my income stops completely in 2 months time. Therefore in the meantime I need to try and budget £300 a month for food, gas and electric, formula and nappies. Dp is covering the rent, council tax and tv/phone/home broadband.
I've not earned this little since I've living out of home so apologies if I seem naive, but I would love some tips on how to budget to make it stretch.
Aldi / lidl for nappies, or asda little angels are only slightly more expensive, all of these are more absorbent than pampers. Meal plan carefully for food, and cook from scratch - I can do a weekly shop for £25, and tend to do a larger (£50ish) shop once a month to stock up on washing powder, cupboard staples etc.
Gas and electric, depends what sort of tarriff you're on as to how much difference you can make. I pay a set amount each month by direct debit so in winter I'm underpaying, in summer I'm overpaying so it balances out over the year.
How much do you spend on each of these things at the moment? That way you can see where you can cut back. Are there other things that need to come out of this money - playgroups, coffee mornings (how I spent most of my mat leave ) anything like that?
Erm, no. You are both paying for all of it surely, you contributing your smp and he contributing his salary.
What LittleRedSquirrel said. However you choose to control the money, if you are a family, with a child and all, one of you should not be struggling to buy food if the other has spare cash to treat themselves at the end of the month. Obviously if your DP is utterly skint after paying for his list, this is not as incredibly unfair as it seemed when I read your OP.
All money in one pot and you both budget tightly for everything.
I agree with the PPs. £300 is not going to be enough for all the things you list. You're a partnership, a team, a family, and you should work out what the total budget is to run your household and each contribute what you can. If all you can pitch in is £300, he has to pay for the rest.
Agree with others why is the onus on you? Why only 3 months smp?
If you have savings then could you not apply a little of those to top up your smp? This is what I did, it was only £100 a month but it helped enormously.
I also never did a big shop. I bought things as I needed and scoured the reduced food sections in the supermarkets.
I bought all my clothes from charity shops, never had a haircut and never went out.
It was pretty shit to be honest, so glad it's over.
Thanks for replies.
After Dp has paid his list and his petrol and own bills he has about £100 spare left over.
I've had a salary top up until now, but been saving as I'm dreading when we go to CB only. That will be in 2 months time.
I do visit coffee shops with lo now and then,I can reduce my orders but I will still have to spend something to be able to sit inside
I can be at a reckless spender and can spend £20/30 in sainsbury's on very little, I just don't know how to budget? Is it best to use cash only? I sometimes think my debit card has a limitless amount of money. D'oh!
We've also (very stupidly) agreed to go out for two birthday dinners this month, both family and special birthdays so we can't get out of it but will prob look very odd if we didn't order anything.
As long as he sees that you're in this together. If you are having to add extra from savings, he should be doing the same.
This is why finances are often better completely joint once children come along. I have a friend who split up with her husband following the numerous rows they had about money during her mat leave. She freely admits now that they'd probably still be together had they just always bunged everything in the same pot and worked as a team.
Coffee shops etc will be expensive. Invite friends over for coffee instead, far easier anyway when you have a bay.
Pool money together in one account - everything goes in, bills come out (direct debits etc). I don't understand how the 'split' works when kids come in to it. Surely it makes more sense to see how much money you jointly have in an account, to then budget, rather than looking at 2 different accounts with different things coming out. I have friend who do this and I don't understand it myself.
Once DD's come out, what is left is your budget for:
- essential clothes / non-food
- birthday presents
You can cut out or reduce your savings and non-essential entertainment.
Food - start Aldi shopping and stop going in Sainsbury's. It is easy to spend money in the main supermarkets on non-food items, and then wonder what you've spent. Start meal planning and stick to buying ingredients for those meals.
Nights out - depends who it is who's birthday you're going to. If they are good friends, they'll understand your need to cancel. You can suggest you treat them to a coffee and cake on their birthday (i.e. £10 on Costa coffee/cake in comparison to £40 on meal for 2 for their birthday, saving £30 immediately).
Hope this helps
If you do go out for the birthdays- set a budget between you before hand and only take that amount with you.
or say you will turn up for the dessert course. A group meal means splitting the bill and if someone is ordering wine at a fiver a glass, up it will go.
I agree pooling the money together is better, really don't wanna argue over money. Dp agrees and is very supportive.
I'm normally alone when I go to coffee shops! But I do love walking so we can wrap up warm and do that instead.
There's no aldi near me but I do have an asda for nappies and will defo start meal planning!
I'll also take cash only when we go out so when its done its done!
Thanks for all your advice.
Try an online food shop. I always spend far less shopping online than I do when going in to a main supermarket other than Aldi.
Great that DP is on board. It makes sense. We were like you right up to me being 8 months pregnant and I realised that something didn't quite fit right, that I was spending my money on DD and some bills, but it wasn't clear who was paying what and exactly how much money was coming in / going. At the time, DP wanted his own personal account / money still and I agreed he could transfer a set amount out of the joint one each month as 'his own'. Think this lasted about 1 month and he didn't see the point as I had no qualms about him spending money from the joint. We still ask each other now 'can I get x, y z because of a,b,c' - just out of courtesy really that we talk to each other about what we're spending.
If you love walking, scour charity shops for a flask and take some hot chocolate/coffee.
Can help keep you out longer so your heating/tv is off.
Sell each set of clothes as dc grows out of them-fb groups are great for this as local only so people will collect.
Also great for selling your own old clothes/coats/books/gadgets.
Meal plan and batch cook.
Have blankets on the sofa so that you can keep warm without reaching for the thermostat. I bought mine in summer sales, just brought the duvet down before I had any.
But I also agree that money should be pooled, and get dp on board too.
Does he have takeaway coffee or canteen lunch at work?
Could he lift share?
Do you buy newspapers?
All these things add up incredibly quickly.
Good luck op!
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