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  • FIRST POST
    ScrimpingandSaving
    HELP! Have cut back all I can but am still over-spending!
    • #1
    • 6th Feb 13, 9:09 PM
    HELP! Have cut back all I can but am still over-spending! 6th Feb 13 at 9:09 PM
    Every month we are having to dip into our savings to bail us out and it just can't carry on. The problem is we simply don't earn enough. I just did the Budget Brain on MSE and we go over by around £330 each month.

    Please help me see where I can make savings!

    Our joint monthly income is £2,252 incl child benefit and child tax credits (not eligible for working tax credits)
    Our total spend is £2,650.

    Mortgage is fixed until April and is £448pm
    We have no debts to pay.
    No cable TV or monthly phone subscriptions - 3 PAYG phones at around £15pm
    The most we spend is on groceries which is around £650pm for a family of four. That includes wine, beer and sundries such as household items, children's underwear and some birthday gifts.
    Gas and electricity: Co-op which was cheapest when I checked 6 months ago. I pay £35pm and we owe an extra £250 on top of that so can't switch until I pay.
    Council Tax: band B which is around £132pm
    Insurance: just buildings at £6.42pm
    Water: £350 a year
    Petrol: £250pm 2 cars, 1 diesel @ 60 miles a day and 1 petrol for kids, shopping, etc @ 100miles pw.
    Car insurance: we shop around for the best deals £44pm currently, £74pm on tax and £40pa breakdown cover for both cars. Maintenance for both cars incl MOT is £64pm.

    Savings: no pensions so I save £100pm in an online savings account and put away £20pm each for the kids.

    We don't eat out except for special occasions, no big days out, the only take-out we have is a supermarket curry every Sunday at a cost of around £7.

    We generally have one holiday a year and that costs around £800 for all of us incl spending money, travel and accommodation.

    I have promised to visit my dad in the Orkney islands this year as he's getting quite elderly now and I've not visited him yet. That will cost around £1,000 when you take into consideration the cost of petrol and 2 nights paid accommodation (one there and one back) plus the ferry.

    I am at my wits end as to what we can do. We know we can't carry on the way we are but we are already cutting back on so much. The kids don't have any clubs, they don't have school meals and their clothes are all second hand as are ours.

    Any advice greatly appreciated. I know I can stop putting away £100pm but that would be neither here nor there as I end up taking it back to top up our account anyway.
Page 2
  • craigywv
    great post ASH28!!!also well done scrimping and saving for taking the first step in posting ALL your outgoungs we all here for the same reason to save money otherwise we would all be on another site BUYING!!! i too have hayfever and find the poundshops anti histamenes fab try changing to them, stop putting the savings away you cant afford it,the main potion is food and you need to take the bull by the horns on this 1 , you say your your own boss so you can go to supermarket at reducing time as your not restricted to times deffo start getting the discounted food, go to the other threads there is 1 at the minute on the 3 rd page of the threads how to live for 20 quid a week try it, shuffle it about add a bit more money maybe give yourself 40 quid a week to start and see if this helps. i think sorry to say this but drinking out, eating out need to be binned if your even going to startto rectify your spendings sorry to sound like a grim reaper but you cant go on for much longer spending like that it will soon run out,your in the right place here people here will help you but you need to help yourself too xxx
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #7 member N.I splinter-group co-ordinater I dont suffer from insanity....I enjoy every minute of it!!.
  • Soworried
    Buy him a crossword book, it will last longer.

    A nice hotchocolate with mini marshmellows is what we like after a walk.
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  • peachyprice
    You don't have to stop the walks, but you don't have to go to the pub after and buy everyone a drink surely? Once the warm weather comes, take a picnic, the pub isn't the be all and end all of a nice day out.

    Truth is, prices are rising, wages aren't, something has to give. All your leisure activities and family time revolve around alcohol, it's a huge drain on your finances.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    craig - my hayfever is severe and all year round so I need prescription medicine.

    Online shopping actually often works out cheaper so I'm going to do that from now on armed with my meal planner.

    Obviously the pension pot will stop. But I won't cut back on the children's savings.

    If we didn't go on holiday that would save us around £70 a month, but I can't put off visiting my dad forever. That is this year's holiday.

    Wouldn't it be nice to earn a little more? To actually enjoy life instead of just living day-to-day trying to make ends meet? I'm now faced with cutting back on all the little things we enjoy. I just wish things didn't have to be this way.

    Thanks for the reality check. I'll let you know how we are doing after a month. We've got £450 in the bank to last us until the 21st, let's see if we can manage this month without having to dip into our ISA's to bail us out.
  • flea72
    We DO stick to own brand labels that's why I don't understand it. I know I can spend as much as £95 on the weekly shop but it can be more if I am buying birthday presents from the supermarket (for the childrens' friends or relatives) or school uniform/stationery/essentials for the kids.

    We buy cheap meat cuts, I try to stick to chicken, I use the slow cooker a lot. We do go through a lot of fruit and veg and plenty of things for packed lunches such as bread, sandwich fillers, cold meats, salad, etc. The only branded items we get are tea and coffee. The rest is supermarket own label.
    Originally posted by ScrimpingandSaving
    Why are you buying children underwear and school uniform/stationery every month

    You need to change supermarket and as already said, cut down on alcohol consumption. £12for 2 bottles of wine isn't exactly cheap plonk. Plus beer and alcopops is too much for 2 adults in a week.

    I also think you are mad to be saving if you overspending. Savings are a luxury for people who have excess income. If you don't have spare money, the its not savings. It's robbing Peter to pay Paul
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    It's not all alcohol, please don't make me sound like a drunkard.

    A glass of coke costs as much as a pint of beer. 2 cokes for the kids won't get you much change from a fiver.
    I have a ginger beer, which is also over £2.

    Yes in the summer we do take picnics. In the winter when we've traipsed miles over fields, through woods and up hills it's nice to sit somewhere warm with a drink and have a chat. It's a pleasure. A treat. But yes, we can cut back here and simply go home instead.

    Same with drinks at home. It's not all alcoholic. I will buy Schloer or Ginger Beer again to enjoy at the weekends. Again, it's a treat. Again, we can cut back on it.
  • peachyprice
    craig - my hayfever is severe and all year round so I need prescription medicine.
    Originally posted by ScrimpingandSaving

    Have you got a pre-payment certificate for your prescriptions? It's £29 for 3 months, would that help?
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
  • flea72
    craig - my hayfever is severe and all year round so I need prescription medicine.
    Originally posted by ScrimpingandSaving
    So I take it you have a prescription card that gets you unlimited prescriptions for a fixed fee? Although saying that, over the counter treatments are usually cheaper

    Nasal sprays are sold in poundland, and in aldi you can get two weeks tablets for 79p
  • Domino9
    I'll break it down into more detail:

    In the home:
    MobilePhones: £10Is this the cheapest that you can get? Try Giff Gaff
    TV Licence:£12.12
    Internet:£17
    Home phone:£9.72
    HouseholdMaintenance: £15What does this cover, and does it get saved somewhere for when its needed?
    Electricity£29.04Are you being as economical as possible? Try switching to energy saving bulbs, switch down the thermostat on the hot water boiler by a degree or two, switch things off instead of leaving them on standby etc
    Gas £66.67Switch radiatiors down or off in rooms that are not being used, etc
    Water:£29.17Is this a meter or a standard charge? If standard charge, consider if a meter would be cheaper
    Council Tax:£130Is this over 10 or 12 months, if 10 ask your council if you can spread over 12
    HomeInsurance £6.42probably need contents too
    Mortgage:£448.40
    Food andhousehold shopping: £600I think that you can cut this right back, probably by about half, but try reducing by maybe £50 this month, and then a further £50 nect month etc. Meal plan, batch cook, cook from scratch, use own brand, make a list of only what you need and stick to it, try lidl/aldi, drop brands etc
    Drinks forhome £90Think that you need to reduce this a lot if not cut out completly

    Motoring
    Petrol: £280Are two cars necessary? Not only could you cash one in and use the money to help you budget, pay off your electricity arrears etc but you would save a lot in the running costs; petrol, tax, insurance, maintenance
    Car Tax £74
    CarInsurance: £44
    CarMaintenance: £63
    Breakdowncover: £3.33

    Debts
    Credit card:£50 (I use it for Paypal)
    What does this get spent on> And is it every month?
    Savings
    Childrens£40Half until your budget is on a more even keel
    Lump sumsavings: £100 (for tax and pension)reduce for now, you really can't afford it
    Regularsaving: £16 (spare change saver)
    what is this for?
    Family
    SchoolTrips: £20
    SchoolMeals: £9.97 (one meal a week)
    PocketMoney: £17.33

    Entertainment
    Days out(incl cinema, etc): £25Try and use vouchers and offers, also make the most of free days out in your local area
    Books,music, films, etc: £14cut back or cut out
    Shopping forfun: £90You cannot afford to shop for fun on top of all the other shopping that you do!, cut back or out
    Pet Costs:£2.20 (hamster)
    Antivirus:£3.38I am sure that you can get this for free
    DVD Rental:£5.99cut back or out, try buying them online and then re-selling them once they are watched - e-bay and amazon are good for this
    DrinkingOut: £65cut back or out. Including drinks at home, you are4 spending a lot on alcohol!
    Eating out:£21.67maybe go less often, or use vouchers and deals when you go

    Clothes,Health, Beauty
    Haircuts:£8.67
    Clothes: £25

    Big One-Offs
    Birthdays:£30Does this get saved for when it's needed?
    Holidays(incl weekends away) £83.33as above
    Christmas:£41.67as above

    Odds andSods
    Newspapers£36.50read online, but a book of crosswords for a couple of pounds, it'll last more than a month
    Tax and NI:£12.13I thought that this was included in savings above? Have you counted this twice?
    Regularcharity donations: £5


    So areas we can cut back on are in entertainment. We tend to spend weekends with the family and will go for a long walk followed by drinks in the pub. You can still do this, but switch from alcohol to soft drinks, or do it less often, or try (in better weather) taking a picnic

    Shopping for fun I've heaped in all our miscellaneous spending like cash withdrawals. This is generally used on prescription medicine (my other half has psoriasis and I have hayfever),See if a pre-paid certificate would be cheaper bits we buy whilst out and about, one-off donations to charity, etc.


    Originally posted by ScrimpingandSaving
    Comments above,

    HTH

    D9
    A Mortgage wannabe! 😄
  • mummyroysof3
    firstly are all the bills the best value they can be? i would check that then they are fixed costs.

    next its working on the costs that arent fixed such as food, cleaning, booze, presents clothes etc. spend one month writing everything down, we dont have your car costs but there are 5 of us and we spend less with similar house costs.
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  • ScrimpingandSaving
    Alcopops?

    I've already explained the alcohol thing, you are presuming. Ginger beer is not alcoholic.

    The kids grow. My daughter needs red PE socks which forever seem to get lost. Same as her other socks. My son's get riddled with holes. I also buy paper for her to print her masses of homework out on, pens, glue, maths equipment, art equipment, batteries. It's all stuff that you remember you need whilst out shopping. For instance last time I went I got her some folder dividers to separate her homework, some new socks, spare birthday cards, hair clips, envelopes and a new packed lunch box as she lost hers at school.

    I shop at Asda.
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    Have you got a pre-payment certificate for your prescriptions? It's £29 for 3 months, would that help?
    Originally posted by peachyprice
    No we haven't and yes it would! Thank you x
  • peachyprice
    So I take it you have a prescription card that gets you unlimited prescriptions for a fixed fee? Although saying that, over the counter treatments are usually cheaper

    Nasal sprays are sold in poundland, and in aldi you can get two weeks tablets for 79p
    Originally posted by flea72
    There are hayfever meds you can't buy over the counter, my DD has one because unfortunatley the OTC ones just don't work.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    Domino9 that is really helpful thank you!

    Household maintenance - DIY stuff largely.
    Electricity - yes we have one of those gadgets. Everything is switched off at night and yes everything is energy saving.
    Gas - yes I do that and we have an open fire that we try to use instead of heating.
    Council Tax - over 10 months, good idea to ask about 12.
    No contents insurance.
    Shopping - yes will cut right back.

    Credit card is used to pay for ebay clothes, school bags, school shoes, uniform, etc.
    Savings - we have an easy saver that rounds up what you spend on a debit car and pops it into a savings account.

    Tax and NI as I'm self employed so I pay NI contribitions.

    Husband loves reading newspaper during his break. He has no access to internet.

    Your comments were very helpful, thanks
  • Lavender Rose
    It's not all alcohol, please don't make me sound like a drunkard.

    A glass of coke costs as much as a pint of beer. 2 cokes for the kids won't get you much change from a fiver.
    I have a ginger beer, which is also over £2.

    Yes in the summer we do take picnics. In the winter when we've traipsed miles over fields, through woods and up hills it's nice to sit somewhere warm with a drink and have a chat. It's a pleasure. A treat. But yes, we can cut back here and simply go home instead.

    Same with drinks at home. It's not all alcoholic. I will buy Schloer or Ginger Beer again to enjoy at the weekends. Again, it's a treat. Again, we can cut back on it.
    Originally posted by ScrimpingandSaving
    How about having a go at making your own wine. We do. We go on a nice country walk and collect whatever is available for free (plums, apples, blackberries, elderberries, elderflowers, sloes, etc). Some basic wine making equipment might cost £15, plus some sugar and you can make delicious wine for next to nothing.
  • Lavender Rose
    By the way, AVG was voted the best anti-virus software and it is FREE!!

    Personally, I think your food bill for a month is way too high, even for 4. I spend £200 max for a familiy of 3.

    Have you thought about growing your own fruit and veg? Do you buy things that are in season and are therefore cheaper? Batch cooking also helps. Try shopping in Aldi...it's fab and the lack of choice (this is a good thing) really helps keep the bill down.
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    We tried that pre-kids and our old neighbours make their own. It tastes like cat-!!!!, sorry!
    I don't buy wine to get drunk. We enjoy wine. We love comparing and tasting. We get full bodied reds from Bordeaux or Riojas and they aren't cheap. Cheap Argentinian wines or new world wines are gross.
    But we have expensive tastes so that has to stop. I can't imagine buying cheap plonk - what would be the point? To drink for drinkings sake? Nah can't do that. I would rather just stop.

    I didn't think 2 bottles a week and a few beers at home was too bad but I guess coupled with the drinks in the pub it's expensive.
    I don't know how much a cup of tea is in the pub? But a cheaper option would be to just come home so I'm going to suggest we all do that from now on.

    Major changes and a lot less enjoyment but I guess that's just the way it is unless I get a huge break in my career and start earning a living, decent wage. £12k pa would make all the difference to us. At the moment I earn half that.

    I need to find more work. Easier said than done!
  • Honey Bear
    There are so many cracking suggestions here that the only things I can add are the following.

    If you're saving each month and dipping into the savings each month - you're not saving. And I know other people have said it, but you say you are going to keep doing so for the children. Can you look at what you spend on them to ensure their education continues as an alternative to 'saving'?

    Secondly, - 'having fun' - spending money to make life worth living - whether living on a tight budget is actually living - life's not worth living if we don't go the the pub/out/have takeaways/buy alcohol - are all ways of thinking that have caught on over the last 20 years. If you feel financially insecure, you're not having fun or enjoying life. You're stressed.

    Soft drinks in pubs are where the pub makes their money. The good news is that you can make your own ginger beer - google it for a recipe. If you buy one large flask, you'll find hot drinks when you are out a lot cheaper - whether it's soup, hot chocolate with marshmallows (excellent suggestion!), coffee or whatever.

    Belt-tightening is something that pretty much everyone who uses this website, it seems to me, has realised they simply have to do. It's a shock to the system, but thank goodness you've had the intelligence to realise it before you go into debt, which is where a lot of people are headed because cutting down seems to be unattractive.

    Good luck with it.
    Last edited by Honey Bear; 07-02-2013 at 11:18 AM.
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  • ScrimpingandSaving
    Erm, I have AVG and it ain't free. It costs over £40 a year.

    I need to be careful with my pc as this is my business. I can't scrimp on important things like anti-virus.

    Yes did grow a few of our own over summer but nothing really turned out. Will try again this summer.
    Yes to cooking in batches, that's what I intend to do with the curries from now on. Plus one meat-free meal every week.

    Any recommendations on interactive menu planners? I have found one that seems ok but it's American so the weights are all wrong (how much is a cup?) and some of the recipes are a little unusual. It's also supposed to find the best deals in the supermarket for my weekly shop but it doesn't work in the UK. That would have been very handy.
  • rachbc
    You coudl easily half you grocceries budget. I feed 3 adults and a child on £250-300 and we eat very well, inc the occassional bottle of wine or beer!
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