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I want to cut right back and save hard this year

(25 Posts)
PlayOnWurtz Sun 01-Jan-17 16:55:15

Are there any apps or spreadsheets that will help me keep track of things? I really want to hit it hard and save as much as is humanly possible so any tips are useful.

mammymammyIRL Sun 01-Jan-17 16:59:18

Ynab it's brilliant

lougle Sun 01-Jan-17 17:01:58

YNAB. You get a free 34 day trial, then it will cost you £40.49 per year (£3.37 per month), but you will save so much that it's worth it.

It's an envelope budgeting method and it really works.

PlayOnWurtz Sun 01-Jan-17 17:22:17

Oh wow that's a lot!

specialsubject Sun 01-Jan-17 18:07:02

certainly is. A spreadsheet is easier and if you use OpenOffice, free.

a pencil and notepad isn't free but doesn't need backing up...

lougle Sun 01-Jan-17 18:21:39

A spreadsheet isn't easier. It's comparable, because YNAB is essentially a very slick spreadsheet, but it would take you hours to replicate the mechanics of YNAB. If I work overtime, I get £30 per hour. It would certainly take me more than 2.5 hours to create a replica of YNAB and maintain it, which is probably what I'd need to work after deductions, pensions, etc, to cover the annual subscription. So it's worth it.

LittleSausageFingers Sun 01-Jan-17 18:29:09

I use Money by Jumsoft app to keep track of everything, I think it's a couple of quid.

specialsubject Mon 02-Jan-17 10:27:27

No idea what the software does, but I don't see the need for more than a list of bills and outgoings, and adding them all up.

Payslip tells you what you get paid.

A list on paper plus a calculator, or a spreadsheet. Easy.

TheDrsDocMartens Mon 02-Jan-17 10:36:09

Use MSE budget brain to organise inconings/outgoing. Also suggests areas to save money with links.
V easy to use but set aside time & have bank statements etc to hand

mammymammyIRL Mon 02-Jan-17 11:50:39

Special subject I used spreadsheets for 2 years before getting ynab & have mad much more progress with debt reduction & managing forthcoming bills & expenses since using ynab.

lougle Mon 02-Jan-17 21:41:14

Ahh, so when you said that a spreadsheet is easier, specialsubject, you weren't actually speaking from experience?

YNAB isn't just a spreadsheet. It's the practical application for using the YNAB philosophy/rules to manage your money. It is an envelope budgeting method with 4 simple rules. The 'rules' are really very simple, but people find that they revolutionise their finances by applying them:

1. Give every £1 a job. In other words, budget every last penny you have, even if you budget some of it to a category called 'Haven't decided what to spend this on yet'. That way, you are controlling your money and you don't get into a free-fall spend mode.

2. Embrace your true expenses. Look at the whole year and see if you have big bills periodically. If you spend, say, £600 at Christmas, you'd be better to have a 'Christmas' category that gets £50 per month budgeted, so that by next Christmas the £600 is just sitting there, ready to be spent. You may find that car insurance is £250 upfront but £360 over 12 months. Budget your £30 per month for this year, but if you have enough money, budgeting an extra £21 per month to a 'car insurance lump sum' category would mean that next year you'll be £90 better off because you'll be able to pay outright. And so on.

3. Roll with the punches. Be kind to yourself when you get unexpected bills and overindulge - adjust your budget to cope and learn from it.

4. Age your money. The aim here is to be able to get to a point where you have a month's income in hand - so that you pay this month's bills with last month's income, so even if you didn't get paid for some reason, or had a sudden big bill, you wouldn't panic.

mammymammyIRL Tue 03-Jan-17 08:49:06

Well said Lou I'm under the weather so couldn't verbalise that.

mammymammyIRL Tue 03-Jan-17 08:52:45

Ynab has changed my thinking. This morning 280 came into joint account & instead of thinking ooh what can I buy with this - I divvied it up according to upcoming expenses & now have all my monthly dd categories filled, and as we get paid weekly on thurs & fri this means we're finally starting to age our money as we haven't been paid yet this year.

BarbaraofSeville Tue 03-Jan-17 11:56:56

You can do that without YNAB though mammy. It's a spender or saver mindset.

I just use a spreadsheet and CBA detailed entering of expenses etc, but I just think about purchases as I go along - will I use this item, do I need it, can I reuse something I already have, have I found the best price, is there cashback or a discount code I can use.

OP have a look at the budgeting section of moneysavingexpert. They have a step by step guide to maximising your income and cutting back expenses such as gas and electric, mobile phones, TV/broadband, insurances etc etc. A bit off each can add up to a large amount overall.

Always think of the total cost of something, not the one off or monthly cost - saving £10 a month off your mobile phone bill might not sound like it is worth the effort, but that is £240 over the typical 2 year contract.

The main thing is that you account for regular annual expenses and things described as 'unexpected' like broken washing machines, car repairs, vet bills etc. These are not unexpected. If you have a car, pet or house, you will need to spend money on it sooner or later. So put money away for these expenses before spending on discretionary things.

Also consider how much you spend on daily incidental expenses like food and drink outside the house, magazines, toiletries/cosmetics etc etc.

If you are spending a lot on these, there can be scope to cut down massively. £2.50 a day on coffee might not sound much, but that's about £600 a year if you do it every working day. A daily premade Pret type lunch each day could add up to over £1k per year.

Look at your supermarket shopping and see if you can use cheaper supermarkets, and use up what's in your cupboards and freezer if you have excess food hanging around.

DoubleCarrick Tue 03-Jan-17 12:03:45

I'm also a Ynab advocate. We save loads when we use it - it really helps to focus your mind on things and see things clearly

3luckystars Tue 03-Jan-17 12:14:15

I have been looking at getting ynab for a few years, it sounds like it would suit me but I can't get my head around this, do you have several accounts?

When you say "give every penny a job" it's all still in the one place how do you know what is allocated to what.
Sorry I am completely stupid but I looked at it before and it looked complicated. Is it just the setting up part that is hard? Can an idiot like me tailor it to make it easier.

HolgerDanske Tue 03-Jan-17 13:16:42

I've been thinking about it for a while too. Just a few questions... do you just install the app and pay for it that way? It seems to work in dollars, does it convert to pounds or whatever currency you want to use?


Iamnotanugget Tue 03-Jan-17 13:52:56

I'very not tried ynab. I use the Good Budget app which is free if you have 10 envelopes or less. I use the principles lou has explained so £200 is going in the gift envelope on pay day even though I don't need to buy anything until March. Have used it for 2 years now and it's wonderful not to have to worry about paying bills. Dh has it on his phone too so we can both see what's going on all the time. We both have a pocket money account too to allow ourselves some freedom.

spiderbabymum Tue 03-Jan-17 13:54:48

Elaine Colliar is quite inspiring on this topic

m0therofdragons Tue 03-Jan-17 14:03:00

I have 2 bank accounts. One has direct debits set up an on pay day I make sure there is enough in there to cover all bills. Rest of money is transferred to a separate account. That is spending money and covers food, petrol and any extras. This way I can keep an eye on our spending and tighten if we are going over.

Now I'm earning I also have a savings account that I put spare money and 2 weeks of the month's money so I only have 2 weeks' worth of money to spend and challenge myself to make it last longer. I can use my phone app to transfer £ so it's easy and when the 2 weeks worth it money is almost up/2 weeks has passed, I transfer £ for the next 2 weeks into the food petrol and extras account.

Psychologically this works for me.

mammymammyIRL Tue 03-Jan-17 14:26:04

The screenshots here are just a few snapshots of my budget, you don't need several accounts and categories will tell you where the money is needed. There's a Facebook group & many tutorials on ynab website. It's free for a month why not try it out?

Barbara is right your mindset can change without ynab but ynab definitely changed my mindset

lougle Tue 03-Jan-17 22:18:26

3luckystars no, that's the beauty of YNAB (or any envelope budgeting system, to be fair). You can have 1 bank account, but YNAB allows you to split that bank account into any number of 'categories' (envelopes).

Imagine it like this:

You have £100 until payday. That's it. No more. No access to loans. You absolutely cannot run out of money. So you sit down and work out, to the penny, what you need to spend on what. But you're a bit worried that you might spend the milk money on chocolate, so you put that aside in an envelope called 'Milk': You now have £91 cash and an envelope with £9 to pay the milk bill.

Then you think that you'd better make sure you don't spend the electricity bill money: £30 goes in an envelope. Now you've got £61 cash, £9 in an envelope for Milk and £30 in an envelope for electricity.

So it continues until every single penny is in an envelope. You might have envelopes called 'saving for a rainy day', 'my holiday fund', 'my next motorcycle' - it doesn't matter, as long as you are allocating the money.

Then, if something goes badly wrong and your electricity bill is £60 instead of £30, you just move £30 out of one of your non-essential categories to cover for it and accept that you're a bit further from your dreams than you thought.

If you have no non-essential categories to move money from, then it has to come from categories that are variable such as food, which then makes you take stock of the fact that you probably have too many fixed commitments because you don't have much flex for unexpected bills.

3luckystars Wed 04-Jan-17 03:42:11

Excellent. We have a joint account so I will have to get dh on board with it too because I don't want him messing with my envelopes!

Many thanks, I am going to get it so.

CheerfulYank Wed 04-Jan-17 03:51:43

Interesting! Maybe DH and I could look into this.

It's so hard though because we are doing a lot of DIY work on the house so suddenly we'll need, say, new faucets. Or whatever. So it's hard to budget for exactly what we need.

Out2pasture Wed 04-Jan-17 04:00:43

my bank has an online site and a financial planner that categorizes all my purchases, I can split purchases to make subcategories.
so in my case a $60 Walmart shop can be split $40 groceries, $10 home maintenance and $10 clothing.
I can create rules; all Shell purchases automatically go to vehicle fuel
so just a thought check your bank site to see what they have available.

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