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money: Am I out of touch - a shower of reality needed

(37 Posts)
Sonnet Tue 16-Mar-04 11:39:02

Following on from the "debt free?" thread I am inspired to ask about something I have been pondering on - I am toying with the idea of dratically reducing my current spending for the next couple of years to fund an idea that will lead to a better quality of life in the future.
I would have a total of £600 per 4 week period that would have to cover the following only:
1.Food 2 adults and 2 children
2.Any going out for us adults, as a family, for the children
3.Clothes - 2 adults
4.Hair cuts ( 2 adults and 2 children - I'm the expensive mone with a set of lowlights every 12 weeks!)
5. Birthday presents for other kids
6. Birthday pressi's for our children and b'day treats etc
7. Xmas - all pressis and all food
8. Swimming lessons for the children currently £7 per week
9. General sort of spending - ie Books,
Now, I am either being:
a)dreadfully extravagant thinking that this isn't much
b) wildley optomistic that £600 will be enough

So your thoughts will be appreciated...

handlemecarefully Tue 16-Mar-04 11:43:57

I don't know how much I spend over a 4 week period (perhaps I should!), but I do know that plenty of people do manage on £600 or less for a 4 week period. You might have to cut back on the hairdressing though (no pun intended!) and treats

handlemecarefully Tue 16-Mar-04 11:47:51

Apparently (see mumsnet home page) the average household income is £562 a week (or roughly £2435 per month, i.e. £562 x 4.33 weeks). So given that most people spend the majority of household income on housing, bills, pension, life cover etc (i.e. items that you are not having to fund out of your £600 disposable cash), you probably would be in line with the average....perhaps a little less

Crunchie Tue 16-Mar-04 11:59:12

I am sure you could do this for £600 a month. But I would look at the haircuts (sorry!), could you dye it yourself the new Loreal kits work great for £12.99 a time Also look at some of the other threads where people have drastically cut food bills. I think it is called menu planning and organisation as well as shopping at bargain staores like Lidl. I would say you need to allow about £250 - £300 for the food bills unless you cut back a lot, can you afford the rest?? Buy clothes/presents in sales etc, books from the book people, and even X-mas clubs via supermarkets would help budget (or make sure you are invited to other relatives!!) Going out can also be a minefeild unless you can find good deald. We all have season tickets to the zoo in our family - it costs over £100 for the year, but we go there more than once a month and only buy an ice-cream there (spending £2 or so).

Good Luck I think you are being a bit optimistic, but if you have an end goal then GO FOR IT

allatsea Tue 16-Mar-04 12:04:31

I think that it's possible, but hard going. Do you know what you currently spend monthly on these things? The pressies could be really tricky, unless people are happy with cheaper/more thoughtful items

fio2 Tue 16-Mar-04 12:07:32

562 per week is average? I thought the average wage was 21k a year, surely that is less than 562 a week?

Sonnet Tue 16-Mar-04 12:08:46

Thanks HMC and Crunchie...Yes the haircut/lowlights will have to go if I'm serious about this.
I genuinely don't know if "of course I should be able to do this" or I am being optomistic.
As far as food goes I do menu plan and cook from scratch - and a year ago saved a lot of money by doing that...what I don't so though is shop around ie netto and lidle. In an attempt to save time I plan my weeks meals and do a tesco internet shop form my favourites list ( we must have a boring reportoire of food ). I find that the 3.99 I spend on delivery is cheaper than the "impulse" buys I'd spen on if i was in the shop. I buy meat and veg from local farm shop. I think that if this is to succeed I should start putting money aside each 4 week period for Birthdays, Xmas etc or maybe buy ahead for the parties they get invited to...
don't go out much as it is, but do buy a lot of books - me and children - mmm, the library it is but without the fines...

Clayhead Tue 16-Mar-04 12:08:53

This is almost exactly what I spend over a 4 weeks period for around the same items. Luckily, I met a friend at ante-natal who is a hairdresser and does a cut and foils for £20, very reasonable!

I'm very organised about present buying and shop months in advance, also using places like The Book People, buying in sales etc. and find that it helps me to budget. I don't know if you work but I have found being a SAHM has given me more time to visit the library so I spend less on books and things. I also tend to buy in bulk, things like toothpaste, soap etc. on BOGOF, if I see a particularly good offer but then I'm lucky that I have some space for storage.

I would think you could manage what you propose. Good luck!

fio2 Tue 16-Mar-04 12:10:14

how much do you pay for your lowlights? I have lowlights, cut and blowdry for 29quid - but I have mine every 8 weeks

marialuisa Tue 16-Mar-04 12:11:34

TBH I think it should be pretty easy to manage on £150 "spending money" a week. I am in the north so some things are cheaper (cut, lowlights etc, £27.50!) but there are lots of ways to cut corners, e.g. wrapping paper on rolls rather than sheets, not eating meat everyday, keeping a drawer of "presents" for b'day parties, bought when things are on special offer etc. Maybe you'll just have to shop around a bit more?
There are also lots of things to do with kids that cost nothing or very little; museums, outdoorsy things and so on. We've been stuck at home for a few w/e as DH has been working and i've been surprised how much DD enjoys just being at home, playing in the garden, making cakes and so on.

Good luck!

Crunchie Tue 16-Mar-04 12:11:42

fio2, £562 is household income, not individual wage. Therefore it take into account 2 incomes, CTC or whatever to get the total for a household/family.

CountessDracula Tue 16-Mar-04 12:12:43

I know I couldn't do it and I only have one child. Still have nappies and formula on the shopping list which are quite expensive.

I presume you are happy only going to the pub rather than for meals, cinema etc? Books you could get from the Library. Could you not do the swimming lessons yourself? You could give up the lowlights and have normal dyed hair from a kit, go to a cheapie hairdresser for the cuts. Make your own clothes/pressies?

fio2 Tue 16-Mar-04 12:13:25

I am just poor crunchie, either that or totally out of touch with how much is coming into our house!!

Janstar Tue 16-Mar-04 12:22:40

Don't buy books. Borrow from the library, or buy secondhand from charity shops and carboot sales, or join the mumsnet book sway thread.

nutcracker Tue 16-Mar-04 12:25:27

562 a week ?? I wish. Ours is just over half that

CountessDracula Tue 16-Mar-04 12:28:01

Janstar have visions of lots of mumsnetters reading their books while gently swaying to and fro.... LOL!

Sonnet Tue 16-Mar-04 12:29:18

Thank-you all - a great help. Lowlights and cut are expensive so could shop around before reorting to doing it myself ....To be honest going out etc just dosn't happen much anyway...and I agree marialuisa the kids are just as happy playing in the garden or at the park and TBH again other than a one off trip this month to a museaum and a trip to the theatre, country walks and the garden are what they get anyway. Going off topic I've been tempted to start a thread about inexpensive things kids enjoy....
To be honest I thought I was pretty good with money but after pondering this I' can't be...coz where does the money go...
Clayhead - a very cheeky question so i will not e offended if you don't answer - how does your £600 break down - feel free to Email me if you'd rather
Thanks everyone again - feel free to keep it coming I need the kick up the **** and the inspiration.
Have just caneled my hair app for next week..I'll worry about the natural "grey" highlights later....

nutcracker Tue 16-Mar-04 12:31:10

Am reading this thread with great interest though as i plan to take strict control of our finanbces when dp gets paid at the end of the month (as yet again we've already run out of money).

I intend to do meal plans and food shop online so i can keep a check on what i'm spending.

nutcracker Tue 16-Mar-04 12:33:45

With 2 adults and 3 kids, how much should i realistically aim to spend on a weeks grocery shop ???

Sorry Sonnet, not trying to hyjack your thread

Sonnet Tue 16-Mar-04 12:33:50

Books - you are right Janstar...
I will not buy any more books...
The only problem with the library is I always get a fine which partially defeats the object. I've got so many to read all piled up at the moment that I don't need any for the next few months SO....
Nutcracker - I hope you havn't misread this thread I'm not asking for how to survive on £562 per week!! - just don't want it to turn in to a heated topic, thought long and hard before I posted

collision Tue 16-Mar-04 12:34:39

I think you could definitely do it. Make all your own bread, cakes, biscuits and lots of veggie soups. Buy little pressies or make your own and get stuff from Asda. I couldnt believe how cheap Asda was for stuff when I did a party for ds and was able to get things for £1. It wouldnt kill me not to go out for 4 weeks and now the weather is getting better there is always the park. Get yourself invited to family for Xmas and take a HM cake and do 'Secret Santa'!!!! See if there is a MN who is a hairdresser!

Sonnet Tue 16-Mar-04 12:35:25

Don't worry nutcracker you're not!! - I will read the answer to your question with interest as that's just what I want to know!!

Sonnet Tue 16-Mar-04 12:43:33

Thanks Collision - have got a breadmaker, mm will get it out..

Nutcracker _ i am quite "planned" about food and when i first started planning menus and just shopping for that I was amazed at what a difference it made,. i began this about a year ago and was able to pay off the small overdraft we had each month and then even began to start saving some money out of the "household expenditure" account - a huge result all down to mumsnet...But as you can see I want to take it further to be able to fulfill my "dream" so I need to look at other ways of doing this - ie if I can save so much by being planned about food then if I plan birthdays, Xmas, extras, STOP buying books my dream will be within my reach...

Just checked collision, my nearest Asda is 40 miles away. My DD's have got 6 parties coming up over the next month - do you think it would be worth making a trip there to stock up on pressi's and cards?..

Crunchie Tue 16-Mar-04 12:45:47

Nutcracker it is amazing that £562 is the National Average Household income a week. But unfortuneatly with all 'averages' there are some who have far more, and some who have far less. I wish there was an average that averaged 'disposable' income a week/month. After household expenses like mortgages are deducted, since some people with high incomes actually have less to spend each month than others. Although they may well have chosen an expensive property/private school etc. Our disposable income is just about to increase as our childcare costs are being halved after easter, which means we will be able to save money for the first time in years!!

noddy5 Tue 16-Mar-04 12:46:03

It really can be done.We started a budget several weeks ago just to see if we could do it.It has made no difference to our quality of life at all and when I checked my bank balance the other day I had 450 pounds more than I would normally have had.Shopping is taking longer but is fun and we dont waste anything which makes for some interesting meals!!!!!!!Dont buy mags,and impulse bits and pieces and dont have pudding every night now only weekends.Buy bumper packs of sweets etc for ds and avoid the local sweetshop.We are going to have a nice holiday this year and dp may cut work hours to teach drums from home if we can keep this up Give it a go

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