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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 3
  • Aria`s Tail
    What do you do with your kids outgrown clothes, toys etc? Try selling on Ebay to offset the costs of new.
    Also do you have a market or greengrocer nearby? Often cheaper that supermarkets for veg and sometimes meat too. X
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    "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."

    Great ideas - thank you!

    I don't really have this sense of entitlement though. We don't have cable TV. We don't go out as a couple. Restaurants are for special birthdays. No weekends away. No theme parks. No expensive take-aways or ready meals.

    We buy a supermarket curry every Sunday. It costs around 7.

    We buy drinks out at the weekend and our time together as a couple consists of a DVD and a nice bottle of wine or 2.

    That's it. I didn't think that was overindulging. I really didn't.
  • dolly84
    Hello and well done for coming on here and asking for help.

    My first piece of advice is to go and see your Dad, if you don't you may regret that decision.

    I made big changes to our spending habits (family of four and a dog) in December and it just takes a bit of time to adjust and settle into a new way of thinking. I don't spend anywhere near what you do but don't think we are doing without so you can do it too.

    I also suggest you separate your present, stationery etc budget from your grocery budget, you may buy them in the same place but keep the amounts separate. You really need a notebook or some spreadsheets to do this.

    Could you do the pub thing with family every other week (also why are you paying for all the drinks or am I misunderstanding this) then maybe take turns in suggesting something inexpensive to do on the other weeks?

    My husband is out on the road too and had a habit of popping into the shop for 3 worth of nowt. He always took a packed lunch and still does, he takes a massive flask of coffee, homemade scones and muffins and a book to read at lunchtime (library books) usually ones I recommend and he is happy with that, he still buys the odd paper and chocolate bar but not everyday.

    Alcohol - you have had a bit of grief over this and I would never say you can't afford to drink because you can. Our alcohol budget for drinking at home is 5 each per week, that is one bottle of wine and beer for DH, we stock up on beer when on offer but he still drinks it at the same rate as normal. We only drink at weekends and the dry days are recommended for health. Drinking out is soooo expensive and just cannot for most people be a weekly occurence.

    One thing I did with my grocery budget was too take the last 4 receipts and highlight all the things that we didn't really need then added that up for the month, it was an eyeopener. Our budget for 4 is 350/month which included alcohol, toiletries and cleaning products.

    Give yourself some time and you will change your mindset if you are determined.
  • craigywv
    hi, i too amontheanti histamenes all year round,....bloody awful!!! anyway i on MIZOLLEN 10mg from doctors and on the few times i have ran out say a friday so cant get them till monday i have used the poundland ones they worked for me somaybe you too xxx i understand where your coming from i too was in the same frame of mind my oh works hard all week so he entitled to a bevvy at the weekends, that was ok until he was made redundant at christmas and he noticed not me just how much a box of beer was taking out of our weekly money people are not calling you a drunkard dont take it that way wat they are saying is its the bar/dining out etcthat might be the first step in you clawing back some of your money, granted my hubby doesnt drink the whole box of beer maybe 6 tins out of it a week (too old now,cant handle it hes 40 LOL!!!) but maybe your hubby needs to be brought into this problem more and take some fault in this and get his eyes opened ,you never know if you sit down and show him the listlike you showed us he could come up with some ideas to help, i did i told oh and he finally grew up a bit, we all like little extras but until the time comes thatyou are a bit more sure footed cut back hard as it is. all you will get on here is reality from posters we not going to cover up things are rosy etc when they are not, so sit down with pen and paper and oh and give it a go i bet u shave a couple of hundred of in your first sitting. i wish you all the luck in the world and dont be disheartened your not onyour own with a bit of juggling and pressing your money will go further 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!!.
  • peachyprice
    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.
    Originally posted by ScrimpingandSaving
    Well, there's a nice compromise right there.

    Cut out the mid-week drinking, beers and pub after the walk and treat yourselves to one nice bottle of wine to go home to after the walk. Even if you spend say 10 on this one nice bottle you've saved yourselves another 25-30 per week.

    I have to agree, if you can't have nice wine, have none. I always used to buy wine and beer or nice cider, every week, but as the bills started to go up I cut it out. We now only have a bottle every now and then, we've still got half a bottlle of gin and two bottles of champagne in the fridge left from christmas, one you get used to not having it you really don't miss it.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    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!
    Originally posted by rachbc
    I know, I have to watch what I spend at the supermarket. I will do all shopping online from now on as it gives me a better idea of what I am spending. I think I rely on them too much for other household items and I have fallen into the trap of impulse purchases, like buying FirstNews (a newspaper for kids), those practice Maths and English books, presents, etc.

    If I'm not physically there then I can't do that. From now on, my budget is set. How about 90pw? No more?
  • 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.
    Originally posted by peachyprice
    Just look at the active ingredient on your prescribed one and find a cheaper alternative

    I was prescribed fexofenadrine for my rhinitis, but find loratadine based tablets work just as well, now I've got it under control

    However for the past few years I have gone old school remedies and eat local honey and use a nasal light probe thing. Symptoms are greatly reduced and mean I only have to use meds occasionally
  • RAS
    Hi

    Re the walks and pub sessions.

    Do it once a fortnight for a while. If you do want the other walks take a flask of soup and rolls instead on the other weeks.

    In the summer cut back the pub sessions to once a month and pcinic the rest of the time. You can always include a bottle of beer for OH.

    Still gives you some luxury but bits back your spends a fair bit,
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    We don't drink mid-week!

    Oh God this is making me sound like someone who need a drink all the time!

    No mid-week drinking. We pop into the pub probably most Sundays after our walk. That will now stop.
    Fridays we might have a couple of beers in the evening at home. No more than 2.
    Sat we have wine with our tea, then when kids are in bed we usually open another to have whilst watching DVD.
    Sunday evening I stick to nice non-alcoholic drinks.
    That's it.

    I seriously don't drink as much as you think! Neither of us smokes, neither of us has an expensive hobby, we don't eat out, we go to the cinema once every 3 months, etc. What we spend on drink is what some people spend on cable TV.

    But yes, I will cut down on all of this too.

    Spreadsheets are a good idea. Again, online shopping will help me with this.
  • peachyprice
    Just look at the active ingredient on your prescribed one and find a cheaper alternative

    I was prescribed fexofenadrine for my rhinitis, but find loratadine based tablets work just as well, now I've got it under control

    However for the past few years I have gone old school remedies and eat local honey and use a nasal light probe thing. Symptoms are greatly reduced and mean I only have to use meds occasionally
    Originally posted by flea72
    Fexofenadrine (Telfast) is different to loratadine, loratadine doesn't work on my DD, although it it a little better than citirazine which is a complete waste of time.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    Just look at the active ingredient on your prescribed one and find a cheaper alternative

    I was prescribed fexofenadrine for my rhinitis, but find loratadine based tablets work just as well, now I've got it under control

    However for the past few years I have gone old school remedies and eat local honey and use a nasal light probe thing. Symptoms are greatly reduced and mean I only have to use meds occasionally
    Originally posted by flea72
    My husband has psoriasis. He gets Dovonex and treatment for his scalp. You cannot buy that over the counter any cheaper. It costs around 40 a tube privately.

    I have had severe hayfever for years. I have tried everything, including spending 15 on pollen drops. I have tried every herbal remedy going and it's turned out to be more expensive than just getting meds. In the spring/summer I take a tablet every day, nasal spray twice a day and eye drops 3 times a day. 7 for all those - I wouldn't get them much cheaper anywhere else.

    I am not going to take any chances with either my health or my husbands.
  • cbsexec
    Could I suggest that you make a shopping list. It is so easy just to go round putting this and that into your shopping basket and being horrifield when you get to the till. You should also shop around - do you have a Home Bargains or B + M - they have branded foods at cheap prices. Have a serious think - are you throwing away food from your shop. It is easy to get into the habit of buying the same things every week and not realising how much you are binning. One of the os mse members has a cheap meal website lots of good ideas. Get the children on board - perhaps they won't get through so many socks!!!
  • flea72
    If you like a decent bottle of wine and a takeaway, then look at the meal deals the supermarkets do for 10 that include wine

    I know most of they say 'dine in deal for 2' but if you choose the right bits, they can pad out to feed 4. Ie. choose whole chicken and trifle, rather than chicken breast and cheesecake slice
  • peachyprice
    We don't drink mid-week!
    .
    Originally posted by ScrimpingandSaving
    Sorry, I didn't realise that the two bottles were for one night. You said 2 bottles lasted a week so I assumed you drunk one at the weekend and one through the week, my mistake.

    I don't think you drink alot at all, it's not the volume of alcohol, it's the amount of money it costs.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
  • flea72
    Fexofenadrine (Telfast) is different to loratadine, loratadine doesn't work on my DD, although it it a little better than citirazine which is a complete waste of time.
    Originally posted by peachyprice
    You say DD, so I'm assuming that means child? If so her medication should be free, so no need to find cheaper alternatives
  • flea72
    Just one query, do you know what causes your rhinitis? I take it you have had allegy tests? Because if it's year round, its got to be something in your immediate area, not pollen based
  • peachyprice
    You say DD, so I'm assuming that means child? If so her medication should be free, so no need to find cheaper alternatives
    Originally posted by flea72

    Yes, hers are free at the moment, but when they no longer are I doubt she'll be able to use OTC, her hayfever seems to be getting worse with age. It's relatively short lived, but very severe. We're pretty sure it's Linden blossom pollen and there are a hell of a lot around here!

    I really would prefer to be able to use OTC for her, even if they're not free, it's so much easier to nip into a shop than faff with doctors appointments.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
  • dolly84
    If you like a decent bottle of wine and a takeaway, then look at the meal deals the supermarkets do for 10 that include wine

    I know most of they say 'dine in deal for 2' but if you choose the right bits, they can pad out to feed 4. Ie. choose whole chicken and trifle, rather than chicken breast and cheesecake slice
    Originally posted by flea72
    I do this with the meal deals, add in some extras from home and it feeds us all and I save the wine for the evening. Best of all I pay for them with vouchers from surveys and I think I enjoy those meals the most
  • Honey Bear
    I don't really have this sense of entitlement though. We don't have cable TV. We don't go out as a couple. Restaurants are for special birthdays. No weekends away. No theme parks. No expensive take-aways or ready meals.

    We buy a supermarket curry every Sunday. It costs around 7.

    We buy drinks out at the weekend and our time together as a couple consists of a DVD and a nice bottle of wine or 2.

    That's it. I didn't think that was overindulging. I really didn't.
    Originally posted by ScrimpingandSaving
    Scrimping I don't mean to suggest you have a sense of entitlement. What's happened is that we all think we should be able to afford things because everyone else seems to be able to.
    Keeping it AF
  • ScrimpingandSaving
    flea72, no I haven't. We have moved around quite a bit, been here now for almost 2 years and have had hayfever for 10 years.

    It's definitely pollen in spring and summer. Rapeseed and sunflowers are a killer. But it can last through the autumn (fungas pores?) and I will also get the odd day in the winter. It makes no sense. It doesn't help that we live a bit out in the sticks.

    If I'm allergic to something in the environment there's not a right lot I can do about it. Hayfever runs in the family but my sister's has more or less stopped so I'm hoping I'll be the same in a few years.
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