Am doing some sums for us, and wondering how much bills, food, insurances, (one) car's running costs, basic clothes, odd day out, etc, amount to for other families; what the cost of a fairly modest existence is, with mortgage and any school fees taken out of the equation.
If you roughly know this figure, please say how many adults and children are in your household too.
It's only me and DS in our household. My finances are going to change a lot later in the year. I am trying to work out how little we can live on while retaining a few fun bits. I've got figures down to about £1,450, which includes a week's holiday in the UK. I keep going through the list and thinking that there's not a lot there that can be cut out (other than the holiday). How could you manage £1,200 in the south-east for a family of four, Laurie?! I think I'm being fairly frugal ... (I'm in the same area, BTW.)
Really, FAQ?! Ooh, tell me how. Obviously it'd involve getting rid of the car (tricky, as in a village). I take it your budget means mostly second-hand clothes, minimal outings, budget grocery shopping, etc? Hmm. Interesting.
Laurie, you're right that it probably isn't sustainable. It doesn't allow for freakishly expensive services to the car, a new washing machine, unexpected dental treatment, a leaky roof and the like. FAQ, how would/do you pay for these things?
ahhh you see I'm a cheap skate, being on benefits for a while (plus exH's and my financial shithole 3yrs ago) taught me well.
Well all of my bills (utilities, TV licence, Credit Cards, council - which addmiitedly I get benefit for atm) etc etc, work out at around £500-550 a month). I spend around £200 on food/nappies/cleaning stuff ( etc.
Which leaves a couple of hundred to "play" with.
I've worked it out as though that's what I was actually getting and have to pay for council tax and other such things which I currently get help with.
I do "budget" grocery shopping, but we eat well, (well I think we do ). I rarely shop online for my groceries, instead preferring to go into the supermarket and look at all the selected 2nds (which 99% of the time is absolutely fine!), reduced to clear etc etc. I bulk cook and freeze - so "ready meals" are proper meals that just need defrosting and heating up.
tbh I often look at my income and wonder how I do it. We don't go out often, but that's because there's nothing to do, but once I've moved I'm hoping to get out and about a bit more with them.
Planning a week (or maybe 2 if I can get an old friend to put us up ) in Edinburgh in August.
My utilities, tv licence and council tax come to about £450 a month. I reckon running a car from saving for next, repairing current, taxing, insuring and petrol costs £250 a month. House and content insurance is something else I'd consider essential. Food, say £300 for four without scrimping. Could easily be less and has been.
That's £900. On top of that I budget for cash, gifts, holidays, house repairs, and household items. However tight you are some things will always need replacing. You can spend as much or as little as you want on these things but it's best to plan for them rather than be surprised.
omg, even when there were 5 of us, 2 adults, 2 children, 1 baby and didn't buy any value stuff (as it "wasn't good enough" ) I was only spending a maximum of £250 a month for all my shopping, and exH insisted on a whole load of expensive crap that only he ate.
No need for such shock, FAQ, I was trying to give a helpful answer. By food I do mean "shopping". Food prices have gone up a lot in the past 18 months and I did say "without scrimping", and "could easily be less and has been".
In my case I'm long term ill so not often to cook properly as often as I'd like, thus relying on more convenience foods. I didn't feel this was pertinent to the question.
It's very difficult on this website to ever say anything about money, even when trying to help someone else.
It may be more than you spend but I know well from reading this site and others that it is not an exorbitant spend.
sorry didn't mean it to come out like that. It's just I'm always suprised by how much some people spend on their shopping each month - even when money was comfortablefor exH and me I used to be genuinely shocked when RL friends told me how much they'd spent .
When things we ok (in fact rather good) for us used to try and work out how to bump up my shopping bill to make it sound as impressive as theirs and I could never manage it LOL.
I wasn't allowed to "scrimp" (caused too many bloody arguments). And it was less than 18 months ago that I was still shopping for 5.
I really wasn't meaning to start an argument - sorry
We are very careful with money but we do have one holiday a year (last year to France on the Ferry and a rented cottage then rented caravan for two weeks) and the children go to 4 paid-for activities per week between them. I shop at Lidl/Asda for basics and Waitrose M&S for the fresh stuff. My DH and I drink about 5 bottles of wine per week between us. We go for meals out perhaps 10 - 12 times per year. We don't smoke. We have one car. We spend very little money on clothes. We don't pay school fees.
After mortgage is paid, we spend about £3,200 per month.
Around £170 a week (rent is not included in that) for me and DD, age 7 I lived on £100 when I was on benefits and struggled badly. Now I find I have enough for a day out, or some new(cheap) clothes, or to take DD out for lunch or whatever. I can also pay my bills and not have to freeze as I can top up my meters.
Thanks for posts. Interesting to see how much/little others believe it would cost them to live a decent, basic life.
As for the £300/month food debate, I seem to spend close to that for just me and DS. I try to buy ethically, environmentally friendly and organic, and do shop with Waitrose because of their relative eco credentials, and because we can get some things we regularly eat in there and not anywhere else. But all this obviously costs! Looks like we could make considerable cutbacks on grocery/household shopping. Do you frugal shoppers plan a week's meals and buy only for those meals?
I'm in awe, Riven, at you funding a household of six on £1,500/month, including your mortgage. Grateful for any pearls of wisdom as to how you do this.
I'm going to go tweak our spreadsheet some more and see how low we can go. Thanks again for tips.