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Single Mum - Managing Money(24 Posts)
Calling all single mums, how do you manage your money? Do you have tax credits paid weekly or monthly? What's easiest? Do you pay everything by direct debit, or pay into a separate account an amount to then pay one offs like annual car insurance/house insurance?
Any tips of ensuring you don't spend more than you earn
The simple answer to how I manage my money : badly.
I have child benefit paid in monthly (weekly might have been a better call) and don't qualify for tax credits (which is bullshit)
Everything going out is on a direct debit and as close to the 1st of the month as I could organise.
Then I have a budget spreadsheet with everything I can spend that month allotted to groceries, fuel, etc. I've cut out all non essential purchases, and have a list of the non monthly charges so I can plan ahead for when they are due.
It's a close thing every month, but it's manageable.
I get child benefit and PIP paid 4-weekly, tax credits weekly, and IS paid fortnightly. I actually like that it's paid at different intervals - I don't keep track of it so it's almost like a nice surprise when I get paid.
I put as much as I can on direct debits otherwise I'd forget to pay them. They come out on whatever date they were originally set at, it doesn't make much difference to me.
I don't have many annual bills, just a couple of subscriptions but they aren't huge so I don't have to set money aside specifically.
I just make sure I spend sensibly and not on things I don't need to, and not get sucked into things for the sake of convenience or consumerism. E.g. I don't pay for a gym as I can work out at home, and don't buy snacks or coffees unless it's a social thing. And I keep track of policy changes so I know I'm claiming everything I can.
Tax credits are weekly. Salary is paid in the issue of the month. Maintenance at the start. Child benefit every six weeks. Everything is direct debit, but scattered over the month.
I think I've finally got a good grip on things. At the end of the month I write a list of next month's incomings, week by week. And a then a lost of outgoings week by week. As the month progresses I tick off what's come in, what's gone out and how much I have left for food and sundries. Personally I find it easier checking every 3 or 4 days so I can adjust for any unexpected expenses and
panic plan accordingly.
Both the dc's have school residentials next year and they both want to play an instrument so I'm trying to be watertight so I can afford all that.
For my car I added up mot, insurance, tax and extra for maintenance, divided by 12 then pay that much into a side account every month. It usually means there's enough for the car when it pops up.
I'm a bit rubbish with house insurance and always seem to stick it on my credit card then pay it off over the next couple of months. I don't know why I have a mental block about it . Should save in advance!
Child benefit is every four weeks. Salary middle of the month. Can't type on this phone!
I get tax credits weekly and child benefit and salary 4 weekly (happen to be the same week but different days).
I have spread DDs out through the month on 1st, 15th and 23rd to even things out and it works ok.
I am quite frugal with food and I make a spreadsheet for each calendar month with all the outgoings and incomings.
I try to save for car insurance and Christmas but this doesn't happen every month if something comes up.
My bills are paid by direct debit on the 5th. Pay day is last weekday of the month and maintenance is paid on the first. The 5th suits me as it gives a few days leeway for bank holidays and weekends.
I find that having everything paid on the same day easier to manage than dribs and drabs.
I don't manage my money any differently now as a single parent than I did when married.
I pay all my bills by direct debit. I have set them up to be all on the same day, a week after pay day. It's easy to know how much money I have then, I don't forget a bill still to come out. I don't spend more than I earn because I have worked out my budget, and I stick to it.
Thanks for your replies, it seems my thinking is on the same wave length
Meal planning will help you save loads of money on groceries. So meal planning and buy only what you need after checking groceries at home.
Eat more vegetarian food as it's cheaper i.e. Pasta, rice, lentils, etc. There is a program called save money good food which gives good tips of money saving meals
Sell stuff on Shpock/gumtree/Facebook to get rid of clutter and make a little extra money.
Budgeting is key making a list of all income and expenses and budgeting each month
Shopping at Aldi is much cheerful and most products are made at same place as high end brands
Check out my supermarket website for brand stuff and cheaper groceries across the supermarkets
2015Mom Meal planning is a good tip, I hadn't thought about that as I tend just buy a load and decide the day before. Was wishing to eat more vegetarian anyway as sick of meat being at every meal having lived with a bloke for 15 yrs, but hadn't thought it would save me money. I had budgeted £70 each week for food for myself and my 9yr old son. Thanks for your post
£70 is great if you can keep to that. We spend anything between £25 a week to £50 on groceries depends if we need nappies wipes etc
But yep £70 is doable
What I do is put a meal on my mobile calendar and when it's done with that evening then I drag it to another day where no meal is on calendar.
I don't know about you but I hated deciding what to eat each evening and making it... but meal planning it's set (obviously I have lazy days and will say bung a pizza in the oven if I have not got something ready in the fridge) and I can make stuff in advance which saves time as I have two little ones.
2015Mom That's a brilliant idea, placing it into a calendar so you build up a forthcoming meal plan. Gonna do that, thanks
Please update us and let us know how you are getting on
I have tips on saving money on loads of things
Stuff like shopping try and go via topcashback and get cashback .. most are small percentages but it all builds up. Insurances you can get good cashback.. I got £70 cashback for life insurance and £38 for car insurance. Switching energy providers and going via uswitch via topcashback means you could get up to £30 cashback. All helps
I had budgeted £70 each week
Definitely doable. IIRC the average for a family of four is £80-90 a week.
I have a separate account for direct debits, insurances, mot and service, dentist. £500 a month, standing order, leaves the account I get paid in a couple of days after.
Standing order for the mortgage.
A separate account for day to day living (food/entertainment etc).
The maintenance and child benefit go into savings. I could, desperately, do with spending this money, but I use them for unexpected expenses/holidays/residential trips etc.
For any extra, think swimming membership/theatre/meals out etc I do overtime, I tend to do 20-30 hours a month.
Hope that helps
I receive child benefit, child tax credits, income support and housing benefit. I get it all paid monthly into one bank account.
I have a big planner on my kitchen wall where I've written in red which direct debits go out on which days, and how much they are. In green, I have written on the days where I get money paid in.
The easiest way I find is to think of rent Day as the end of the month. I add up all my incomings during the month and subtract the outgoings. What's left I divide up between how many Mondays there are in that month (usually four or five) as Mondays are when I do my food shopping. I try to keep my food costs as low as possible, as whatever I have left after going to Aldi rolls over to the next week, or goes on other things like clothes for DS!
I'm really not that great at budgeting either. It's just me and my DS at home. I get paid on 12th of every month, maintenance on the 19th and tax credits 4 weekly. My direct debits come off near the end of the month but are staggered. My rent gets paid when I do and childminder fees get paid with tax credits. I really need to learn how to stop frittering money away on non essentials.
I was a single parent for years OP. Try the following-
- do your shopping online and stick to planned meals , it works out cheaper as you stick to a shopping list and don't have a child chucking things in the trolley!
- write down your monthly intended spending and tick off as you go.
- ditch any unnecessary spending like tv packages or expensive mobile phones. Go sim free and get a cheap reconditioned smart phone.
Most of my bills are DDs , for the ones that are not I stash the appropriate amount in my savings account each month so that the cash is there when the quarterly bill comes in.
Good luck OP :-)
I stock up on reduced items in the supermarket and then bung them in the freezer. Also try to freeze a portion of a meal I've made for back up meals. I try to sell as much as I can on gumtree or local Facebook groups and switch energy/broadband etc providers as soon as they are out of contract.
I get everything paid in monthly and get all the DDs to come out on the first of the month.
Money is tight every single month but we manage just about, i'm on the frugalleers thread which helps keep me accountable for any spends www.mumsnet.com/Talk/credit_crunch/2904761-Money-managing-Masterfully-into-May-Frugaleers-unite?msgid=68525618
Plan a budget for everything and try and save something each month as well if poss.
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