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Thrifty MNers - I need advice!!

(19 Posts)
MollyCoddle Sun 01-Jul-07 16:58:37

It would seem that our outgoings are significantly (several hundred pounds per month) beyond our income at the moment. We're chipping into our savings, but obviously don;t want to continue this way. We are living on one income (my maternity pay ended in December), and I really really want to avoid going back to work for a couple of years.

I'm kind of at a loss as to how to save money. We spend quite a lot on food (£100 per week) which I'm trying to cut down to about £70.

How else can I save money?

All ideas welcome!!

kiskidee Sun 01-Jul-07 17:02:57

get rid of sky (which dh refuses to do), gym membership, etc.
change energy supplier.
what are you doing to cut down your food bills?

combine car journeys where possible.

Carmenere Sun 01-Jul-07 17:03:51

Lidl will save you 20-30 quid a week.

WanderingTrolley Sun 01-Jul-07 17:05:09

Money saving expert.

Subscribe to the email.

Shop in the evening when the fruit, veg and bread is reduced.

Meal plan.

Cheaper bills.

kiskidee Sun 01-Jul-07 17:05:45

cook easy stuff from scratch and cook it in bulk

shop at veg and butcher shop instead of supermkt for fresh produce

buy second hand toys and clothes for kids at nearly new sales

MollyCoddle Sun 01-Jul-07 17:10:18

We have bo Sky or gym membership. Have just changed elec/gas supplier (and got a mahoosive bill from previous supplier who had f*cked up estimated bills ).

To cut down on food I am eliminating the cakes, biscuits etc (but will no doubt be doing more baking!). Stopped buying salmon (we only bought wild salmon [ponce] and it was blardy expensive). We're fish-eating vegetarians, so don't buy meat. I'm not buying organic stuff anymore. Not buying beer for DH. Not buying croissants for the weekend. Umm...think that's about it.

MollyCoddle Sun 01-Jul-07 17:10:51

Oops - We have no Sky membership!

MollyCoddle Sun 01-Jul-07 17:15:37

Arse...this is making me feel a bit panicky.

I already mainly get clothes from ebay (sometimes Primark).

I don't think I can do Lidl cos I do the shopping online (I really really can't bear the thought of shopping with DD (2.5) and DS (10 momths)in the shop...please don;t make me do it!!). I always manage to get at least a £5 discount to cover the delivery cost...in fact it's more often a £10 voucher).

I cook pretty much everything from scratch already.

Bugger bugger bugger....

kiskidee Sun 01-Jul-07 17:19:30

do one or 2 lidl shop per mo. leave children with dh.

kiskidee Sun 01-Jul-07 17:20:38

do you already make veggy bolognaise? something easy to do in bulk.

Ladymuck Sun 01-Jul-07 17:25:53

If you give us an idea of your monthly outgoings we might be able to help more. Appreciate that you may not wish to disclose, but otherwise there are plenty of threads which will give you "general" tips.

MollyCoddle Sun 01-Jul-07 22:29:29

Sorry - had to get DCs off to bed and tidy up.

Regular monthly outgoings are:

Mortgage - £750

Gas and Elec - approx £80 (not 100% sure about that one actually cos we've just changed supplier and previous supplier was underestimating).

Council Tax - £120

Food - £400

Endowment policy - £80 (but am going to cancel this - mortgage is repayment).

Fuel - £40ish

Phone/Internet - £30-40

Life insurances - £30

Pet insurance - £15

Payments to CTFs - £20 (am going to cancel this)

Playgroups - £15 (max)

The rest of our expenditure is on less predictable stuff, or stuff that doesn't happen every month (e.g. servicing car, car insurance, weddings, clothes). We aren't extravagant by any means, so I'm kind of at a loss as to how we are haemorrhaging dosh. That said, the last couple of months have been partic expensive - a wedding in the Netherlands, and big car bills.

Our income is approx £2000 per month.

Any obvious saving to be made?

bubblerock Sun 01-Jul-07 22:42:16

If you decide to change any supplier of telephone/life insurance/house insurance/car insurance etc.. make sure you go through quidco and get cashback.

Can you change your mortgage to interest only until you go back to work? The mortgage is quite a chunk of your income, do you have room to accommodate a lodger or foreign student to help towards the payments?

Can you get a part time job?

Check that you are getting the correct WFTC entitlement.

MollyCoddle Sun 01-Jul-07 22:48:42

Quidco is a good idea - I'll look into that.

No room for a lodger, unfortunately.

Have thought about interest only mortgage, but would only do it as an absolute last resort. I hate being in debt and it would weigh heavily on my mind if we weren't making progress with the mortgage.

A job is also a last resort...but am seriously considering child-minding as this would allow me to stay with my DCs.

Ladymuck Sun 01-Jul-07 22:53:18

Well that expenditure only adds up to £1,590, so you have £410 each month for additional items (that is before you cancel endowment etc).

So I think that you need to look seriously at what else your money is going on? You have around £5k a year to spend on presents (birthdays & Christmas), toys, books/mags, car tax service MOT & insurance, house insurance, holidays and clothes. You need to actually break these areas down as it is likley that your overspending is in one or more of these areas.

It may just have been that you've been unlucky in the last few months. But you may also find that actually your trip to Netherlands for a wedding means that there is no money for a summer holiday now. You really need your budget to contain all the essentials. There may be ways of trimming some of the monthly costs you've mentioned, but I'm guessing that actually you biggest issue is that you jst don't have a budget for the year.

ALso for the month of July, track everything - especially cash. I'm always amazed at how much cash gets swallowed without me even realising it. Then I realised that dh has a cappucino and Mars Bar addiction (which when you price it up comes to about £50 a month!).

MollyCoddle Sun 01-Jul-07 23:04:03

Ladymuck - I know I know <<holding head woefully>>

DH and I are at this very moment going over the last year's statements and categorising everything to see where the extra few hundred pounds is going. I suspect that the 'little things' (magazines, extra bits and bobs of food from the local cornershop) are adding up to a lot more than I think...(But hundreds of pounds??). I think I've also been overspending on clothes (albeit cheapy ones from Primark) because I've been gradually losing weight since the birth of DS (10 months ago).

Thanks for the advice - I'm really appreciating it.

And we have never budgeted for a year In fact until now we've never really budgeted at all (we didn;t have to when we had a double income).

Ladymuck Mon 02-Jul-07 08:46:02

I think that once you know where your money is going you will be able to work out what needs to be cut back very quickly. You have a reasonably healthy income, and certainly your housing costs are a reasonable proportion of income. Make sure that you track cash spending as well as an awful lot of the unnecessary spending is often cash. I don't think that you will necessarily have to make huge differences to your lifestyle but you may find that meal planning will help you keep food spending under control.

BrummieOnTheRun Tue 03-Jul-07 10:20:37

MollyCoddle, in no particular order:

- have you tried setting yourself and DH a cash limit per day/week? No debit cards. Makes the finite spending limit you set more visible.

- totally agree with suggestions on meal plans and batch cooking. will cut your food waste down to nil. recipe ideas on www.waitrose.com if you're lacking inspiration!

- supermarkets encourage you to overspend, and are not cheaper than shopping around: greengrocers, markets, high street retailers like Savers (and many on mnet recommend Wilkinsons) are all cheaper options. if you have to make a special trip to buy your kitchen towel, shampoo, etc believe me, you make it last! and be prepared to switch brands to buy what's on offer.

- cut spending on household cleaners and make it yourself. you can find threads on this in the housekeeping section on mnet

- an upfront investment in eco-balls or soap nuts works out much cheaper than normal detergent... and keeps you out of the supermarket

- I have babies/small children, so have switched to some real nappies, and am using homemade wipes half the time. (will switch fully if/when I can cope)

- you can buy bulk orders of household items (shampoo, shower gel, washing up lqd, dishwasher gel, etc) from www.ecotopia.co.uk. Confess have not done price comparison, but worth checking out to see if it's cheaper.

Helennn Wed 04-Jul-07 09:23:55

Mollycoddle - don't know if I am too late to help - read this yesterday but didn't have time to post!!

Thoughts I had when reading your post:-
If life insurance policies taken out several years ago check you cannot get them any cheaper - life assurance has got cheaper recently since the impact of Aids lessened I believe.

If the endowment policy not worth anything if you sold it? I know they are not worth much now like they used to be but are you sure it is worth nothing?

Do you have any bank charges/mortgage redemption fees you could reclaim?

Could you take a mortgage repayment holiday of say 6 months? You need to check out the implications of this but it may give you a bit of lee-way, making sure of course that you put money aside to pay the mortgage after the 6 months is up.

Use hotukdeals.com to get discount codes and special offers - buy birthday/Christmas presents when you see a good offer on rather than at the last minute.

Like someone said use Quidco, I got £120 back from my car insurance plus a £50 M&S voucher, so it is worth doing.

I value my time at home when my two are little, and think it is worth scrimping to do it. Hope the above helps a little!!

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