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how much do you need to live on

(42 Posts)
user1496940061 Thu 22-Jun-17 12:15:50

I'm a single parent with 2 young kids.
I have £550 per month to live on after all the bills.
I find that diffult to live on - andy Advise on how to be smarter with money - thanks

wendz86 Thu 22-Jun-17 13:44:57

I have a similar amount to that and am also a single parent with two kids. I don't find it too bad but hard to save up for things like holidays etc.

Havingahorridtime Thu 22-Jun-17 16:56:56

Does that £550 include money for food?

roseandlavender Thu 22-Jun-17 16:57:25

That does sound hard, can you break down what are your current payments?

user1496940061 Thu 22-Jun-17 17:24:56

The £550 is after all bills And Is for food shopping , petrol, socialising, treating kids etc etc

Lovewatchingrainfall Thu 22-Jun-17 17:37:20

After bills we have £410 on a good month but normally only £350 and there are two adults a toddler and a baby I just about manage. We don't socialise it's manly spent on food and fuel. It can be tough but while the kids are young we do a lot of free things. And enjoy walks. But it does suck.

KanielOutis Thu 22-Jun-17 17:44:39

We have £150/week after all bills and save £20 of it. Family of 4 - 2 adults and 2 children. £130 is plenty for food, petrol, spends etc and the £20 savings builds up really quickly and it has saved our bacon lots of times having a buffer behind us when something breaks or something big crops up.

motheroreily Thu 22-Jun-17 17:45:06

I have £400 a month for me and my daughter (after I've paid rent, phone. Water, council tax, electricity, travel to work and childcare).

I can manage on it but not really much left for saving or socialising.

My food shop isn't much. But I never have any money left.

tink86 Thu 22-Jun-17 17:49:32

I take home about £800 a month. I have to pay for food (about £150) and petrol and my £40 a month phone bill. My oh pays for everything else. I still struggle to save for some reason and never have any money left at the end of the month. Nor anything to really show for it?!

Welldoneme Thu 22-Jun-17 19:31:13

I don't know whether the OP is working or claiming benefits but I work FT and have far less than that to live on and I manage by by prioritising my spending and I manage to save too.

user1496940061 Thu 22-Jun-17 23:39:25

Interested to hear how people manage the money
Petrol 60, food 200, going out 200 example

Bluntness100 Thu 22-Jun-17 23:47:51

I suspect they wouldn't spend half their money on going out.

Basically it's a case of budgeting,,food, bills etc and then deciding how to spend what's left. You basically have to cut your cloth accordingly.

StarUtopia Thu 22-Jun-17 23:51:53

W'e're on about the same (bit less probably). It's tough.

ExtraPineappleExtraHam Thu 22-Jun-17 23:56:42

We live off a bit less than that. My only advice would be really look at your food bill, what can you miss out? I've gone mostly veggie and use canned potatoes, mackerel, reduced produce, bulk buy with a friend from Costco and use reusable nappies that I got second hand. Think of it a bit like a challenge, and get rid of your mobile contract if you have one. It is tough though.

BzyB Fri 23-Jun-17 00:14:48

Single mum with 3 kids - teen, preschooler and baby.
I save in "pots" so left over rolls into the next month/ to school hols etc
£200 food, medicines and toiletries
£50 travel, petrol and parking
£50 clothes inc uniform
£40 entertainment / days out
£40 holiday fund
£40 school bus and school fees only 10 months a year so this goes to wherever needed in the summer.
£30 to savings
I ask for their ballet classes etc for Christmas/birthday gifts.

I think that the best advice is to make sure you are getting best value from every penny.

Have a look at your bills - money saving expert site has a great checklist. Some savings can be made very easily.
Check your bank account - I get about £20 a month in rewards and interest for not much effort
Look for budget recipes - eat well for less is an interesting show, and Is a great resource.
We mainly do free stuff like the park, and only do cinema when it's cheap ( kids club £1 tickets!). We bring picnics - even if needing to go shopping in town for the day I bring food with us.

80sMum Fri 23-Jun-17 00:29:23

From the example you gave, OP, it looks like you are overspending on going out. To spend over a third of your money on outings/entertainment seems reckless. Start choosing the type of entertainment that's free or low cost. Instead of going out to a restaurant or pub to eat, for example, take the kids for a walk and have a picnic. Go to free playgrounds and parks rather than to soft play that costs you money, etc.

motheroreily Fri 23-Jun-17 06:11:02

I really bzby's I do that sort of anyway but being a bit more structured with it will help.

I usually spend about £160 a month on food, £100 on petrol, £50 towards our holiday, £50 paying off my credit card and £40 on entertainment/days out.

Then there's expenses that aren't every month. Hair cuts, new clothes etc. With the pot method I could use any surplus for that.

My holiday and credit card will be paid shortly so hope to save more.

motheroreily Fri 23-Jun-17 07:07:34

Sorry should say "I really like bzby's method"

AndNowItIsSeven Fri 23-Jun-17 07:11:53

£200 on going out is a lot, what do you mean by going out?

user1496940061 Fri 23-Jun-17 07:22:48

Socialising with friends, taking kids for meals

JigsawBat Fri 23-Jun-17 07:30:11

I live on £490 per month for me and my daughter, after bills and essentials. So that covers food, petrol, random spends and all hobbies and activities for the two of us.

It's a relatively comfortable existence. Things like extra celebrations, being invited out for meals or buying gifts for people, can throw things off a bit, but if there are no 'surprises' then we get by well. DD does a lot of different classes and clubs to keep her busy, and we have a swim membership for any days that we have nowhere else to be. It's nice to always have that budgeted-for back-up activity that we can turn to on any day, knowing it's essentially free to do.

I do think we could spend less on food, if I had more time and energy (and if I wasn't such a fussy eater), though. I struggle with meal preparation so I turn to pre-made kits and sauces quite a lot, which I wouldn't feed to DD, so I don't tend to be able to cut costs by preparing meals in bulk that suit both of us. Grocery budget is £55 per week, but that can include convenience foods and more expensive products to ensure that I'm meeting her nutritional needs and not making anything too complicated for myself. I think if I were able to cook from scratch and make healthy meals that way, that I felt able to eat, then I could probably save a bit buying raw ingredients rather than my current strange balance of prepared meals and luxury products. If I had multiple kids, this would be the biggest issue. Cooking from scratch can be more effectively and cheaply 'scaled up', whilst my way of buying cannot.

Bluntness100 Fri 23-Jun-17 07:30:16

I think that's the issue. You're spending nearly half your money on socialising. That's where you need to be more prudent.

chickenwire17 Fri 23-Jun-17 07:40:08

I divide my money up into the following 'pots:'

I also save a bit each month which goes into pots such as Christmas, replacements, car repairs etc. I find that as long as you are disciplined on dividing the money up, it does actually go further!

user1496940061 Fri 23-Jun-17 08:39:38

My issue is that when I was part of a couple we were never relay cautious - we really treated ourselves and spent on excess of 1200 per month! We always took the kids to nice places and feel they will suffer now

Now I need to change lifestyle and habits which is hard !
Thanks for support

AndNowItIsSeven Fri 23-Jun-17 10:03:01

Socialising with friends or meals out doesn't benefit young children. If you swap to meeting friends in their house/the park that wouldn't cost money.
Young children would appreciate other activities more than meals. Picnics in parks, city farms, museum activities etc.

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