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  • FIRST POST
    • Zoe185
    • By Zoe185 7th Sep 17, 10:23 AM
    • 9Posts
    • 13Thanks
    Zoe185
    No Debt but struggling
    • #1
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:23 AM
    No Debt but struggling 7th Sep 17 at 10:23 AM
    Hi All,

    I am struggling with money each month, i have no frivolous spends and am really tight with my budget. I used to have a gambling problem and spent about GBP 3000 over the course of it before i got clean. Been 5 months so im not wasting that anymore.

    I work and support myself and my mother (who's 73 and mentally ill) so I pay all her bills as well. Did an SOA which shows I should have money left at the end of it, but i usually only have maybe 10 quid left at the end of it with no clue where it's going. I have poured over my yearly statements and i'm at a loss. I have build up my savings over the past year and thankfully have that but it's not growing. Any help or advise would be appreciated. My rent is high but I cannot move as ive calculated it would cost me almost the same maybe saving 20 quid if I count in commuting costs and eating expenses

    Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information[/b]
    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 0
    Number of cars owned.................... 0

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 2200
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 0
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 2200


    Monthly Expense Details

    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 1045.5
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 108
    Electricity............................. 25
    Gas..................................... 25
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 23
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 20
    TV Licence.............................. 12.12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 49.99
    Internet Services....................... 0
    Groceries etc. ......................... 75
    Clothing................................ 0
    Petrol/diesel........................... 0
    Road tax................................ 0
    Car Insurance........................... 0
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 0
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 0
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 0
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 10
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 0
    Haircuts................................ 0
    Entertainment........................... 17.4 (Cineworld Membership)
    Holiday................................. 0
    Emergency fund.......................... 0
    Payment for Mom......................... 500
    Total monthly expenses.................. 1911.01



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 25000
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 0
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 25000


    No Secured nor Hire Purchase Debts


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Total unsecured debts..........0.........0.........-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 2,200
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 1,911.01
    Available for debt repayments........... 288.99
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 0
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 288.99


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 25,000
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -0
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -0
    Net Assets.............................. 25,000
Page 1
    • ChasingSunshine
    • By ChasingSunshine 7th Sep 17, 10:56 AM
    • 91 Posts
    • 737 Thanks
    ChasingSunshine
    • #2
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:56 AM
    • #2
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:56 AM
    Hi don't want to just read and run. That rent is a killer but appreciate you have looked at the cost and made the best decision for you.

    Someone who has more knowledge will no doubt be along soon with more advice but I think that if you don't know where the money is going each month then a spending diary is a good place to start so you can see how small spends add up even just a few pence here and there.

    Have all those bill totals included the money you are spending on your mum's as well? If there is nothing showing in your bank statements is it that you are paying it out in cash instead?

    Good luck. You will get there.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 7th Sep 17, 10:56 AM
    • 2,000 Posts
    • 2,919 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    • #3
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:56 AM
    • #3
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:56 AM
    Your SOA shows where it should be going - try keeping a spending diary to see where it actually is going. Record where every single penny goes.

    As far as the SOA goes, the satellite/cable TV sum is pretty high, but there are some things which you need to put an amount in, but currently have none (never have a hair cut for example).

    But the main problem outgoing is the £500 per month to your Mum, which you can barely afford. Given everything else seems cut almost to the bone, you need to cut this, or find a better paying which brings more in - the simple formula to get out of debt etc is spend less and earn more.

    Good luck
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 7th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    • 7,778 Posts
    • 40,284 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    • #4
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    • #4
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    Hi Zoe - welcome to the boards and well done for being brave enough to face up to your situation AND for beating your gambling addiction too - that's brilliant! You'll find there are a lot of folk who will really identify with your situation on here too - great for ongoing support!

    Now - let's take a look at that SOA - comments in red as usual...

    Hi All,

    I am struggling with money each month, i have no frivolous spends and am really tight with my budget. I used to have a gambling problem and spent about GBP 3000 over the course of it before i got clean. Been 5 months so im not wasting that anymore.

    I work and support myself and my mother (who's 73 and mentally ill) so I pay all her bills as well. Has your Mum been assessed to make sure she's getting all the benefits that she's due? If you're covering her bills too then I'm not surprised you're struggling - while your income is good it's not THAT good to manage that as well. Did an SOA which shows I should have money left at the end of it, but i usually only have maybe 10 quid left at the end of it with no clue where it's going. Spending diary is the first stop for you then - you need to establish where the lost money is being frittered. I have poured over my yearly statements and i'm at a loss. I have build up my savings over the past year and thankfully have that but it's not growing. Any help or advise would be appreciated. My rent is high but I cannot move as ive calculated it would cost me almost the same maybe saving 20 quid if I count in commuting costs and eating expenses

    Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information[/b]
    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 0
    Number of cars owned.................... 0

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 2200
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 0
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 2200


    Monthly Expense Details

    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 1045.5 This is a painful amount of money -
    personally I'd keep my eyes around for possibilities to move to. Otherwise have you thought about buying? Pretty sure you could get a mortgage for less and you have a lump sum saved for a deposit.

    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 108 Single person discount on yours I assume? Look at splitting payments across 12 months rather than 10 to help with budgeting
    Does your Mum get hers fully covered through benefits?

    Electricity............................. 25
    Gas..................................... 25
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 23
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 20
    TV Licence.............................. 12.12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 49.99 If you're struggling then I'd suggest taking a long hard look at this - ultimately it IS a luxury and you can get a very basic Phone/internet/TV package for less.
    Internet Services....................... 0
    Groceries etc. ......................... 75 Seriously? For two people if this covers your Mum as well? I think you really need to look at what you're eating as this is genuinely not enough. OK in spite of this not covering two people it still feels a bit low to me for someone earning the level of money you are - have a good look at the sort of food you're eating. Also is there a chance that this is not accurate I wonder and that things like a sandwich or a meal out, or extra supermarket visits are eating into that surplus that you donj't have each month?
    Clothing................................ 0 Nothing? Never? Not even new knickers occasionally?
    Petrol/diesel........................... 0
    Road tax................................ 0
    Car Insurance........................... 0
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 0
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 0 You walk everywhere, always? Never get the bus because it's raining, hop on a train to see relatives, or get a taxi back with heavy shopping? how about your Mum - there's not costs associated with her travel to medical appointments etc?
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 0
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 10 well done - is this for two properties, yours and your Mum's? When you renew shop around a bit - you can almost certainly knock a £ or two per month off that. Also look at paying upfront for the year then setting money aside - it works out cheaper.
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 0 Nothing? Never? Not even a bunch of flowers for your Mum on her birthday?
    Haircuts................................ 0 Nothing at all? You never have your hair cut?
    Entertainment........................... 17.4 (Cineworld Membership) Do you get full value from this? If not either make sure you use it to the fullest or let it go
    Holiday................................. 0
    Emergency fund.......................... 0
    Payment for Mom......................... 500 OK - this now makes sense so you pay this out a lump sum rather than it being split across the stuff above. I'll strikethrough the comments relating to it above then.
    Total monthly expenses.................. 1911.01



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 25000
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 0
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 25000


    No Secured nor Hire Purchase Debts


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Total unsecured debts..........0.........0.........-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 2,200
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 1,911.01
    Available for debt repayments........... 288.99
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 0
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 288.99 As above - spending diary as a matter of urgency - this is nearly £4k a year that's going astray.


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 25,000
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -0
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -0
    Net Assets.............................. 25,000
    Originally posted by Zoe185
    I think that the things you need to do are:
    a) Check on your Mum's benefits - you shouldn't be needing to pay out that lump sum each month to cover her costs - a small amount to facilitate some luxuries is one thing, having to pay for her to be able to live is not really on though.
    b) Spending diary - get that surplus tracked down and accounted for!
    c) Have a long hard think about your living arrangements - 50% of your hard-earned is currently going straight to someone elses pocket for rent and you have nothing to show for it going forwards.
    d) Think about the cash withdrawals you make - if you've got stray spending and it's not showing on your statements then it must be going in cash spends - this is where the spending diary will help. Also you could try switching to spending everything via contactless/debit card for the next month to see where it's disappearing to.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • tallyhoh
    • By tallyhoh 7th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    • 2,067 Posts
    • 2,061 Thanks
    tallyhoh
    • #5
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    • #5
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    Is your Mom getting all the help she is entitled to? Check on the link https://www.turn2us.org.uk/
    Tallyhoh!

    Stopped Smoking October 2000. Saved £21,840 so far!
    • Wookey
    • By Wookey 7th Sep 17, 11:37 AM
    • 795 Posts
    • 399 Thanks
    Wookey
    • #6
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:37 AM
    • #6
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:37 AM
    Paying £50 pm for sat tv and having a cineworld pass at £17.50 pm is that really worth it? I would cut out both but if you do use one more than the other then cut at least one of them out. When your mum turns 74 start the process for getting a free tv licence for her, as others say enquire she is getting her full entitlement for benefits, CAB could help there. Is that £75pm on groceries correct, it seems a bit low.

    On the bright side you have managed to build up 25k in savings which is a very tidy sum to have, make sure you have this split across the best interest paying accounts you can find, it should at the very least be holding it's own in regard to depreciation via inflation.
    Norn Iron Club member No 353
    • Zoe185
    • By Zoe185 7th Sep 17, 11:50 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Zoe185
    • #7
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:50 AM
    • #7
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:50 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Thank you so much for the replies, here goes:

    1) Mum lives overseas and is not in the UK. The 500 a month i send covers her maintenance, water, electricity, gas and food with little left over.
    2) Rent is a killer, unfortunately live in london and in Zone 6 as well. Struggling to find anything within a lower budget that would be benificial or get me any extra savings. Do not want to go back to a house share i lived a hellish life before.
    3) My work is literally around the corner from home so no commute costs.
    4) It's just me and mom i have no other family to visit. Struggled with years of depression and lonliness but hey ho.
    5) Council tax is a single person discount, will look into spreading that out to 12 months instead of the 10
    6) I was actually paying an eye watering 77 quid for the Internet/Tv/Phone package. Just spoke to them 2 days ago told them couldn't afford it and got it down to 49.99. It's the only other entertainment i have.
    7) Spend approximately 20-25 on food pw.Think i really need to sit and go through every single transaction as this is the only other place i can think the money is going.
    8) Cineworld I use quite a lot, as i'm alone it helps to go just sit and watch a movie and get out of the house
    9) Yep should have something under transport cost. Would say approximately 20 quid a month getting to and from Cineworld!
    10) No presents cause cant afford it! Think i should start putting some money away for it as I have a business partner who invites me over for xmas with his family (would be all alone otherwise)
    11) Haircut - Think the last time i had a haircut was 6 months ago. Stupid i know but i really hate spending when i dont need to.
    12) I do have to start keeping a little notebook. It's getting me down that i cant even manage on the type of salary I am getting for the kind of work i do. It's actually way above the standard salary and i'm earning as much as people who've working for 20+ years (been in the business for just 11)
    • Zoe185
    • By Zoe185 7th Sep 17, 11:56 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Zoe185
    • #8
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:56 AM
    • #8
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:56 AM
    Paying £50 pm for sat tv and having a cineworld pass at £17.50 pm is that really worth it? I would cut out both but if you do use one more than the other then cut at least one of them out. When your mum turns 74 start the process for getting a free tv licence for her, as others say enquire she is getting her full entitlement for benefits, CAB could help there. Is that £75pm on groceries correct, it seems a bit low.

    On the bright side you have managed to build up 25k in savings which is a very tidy sum to have, make sure you have this split across the best interest paying accounts you can find, it should at the very least be holding it's own in regard to depreciation via inflation.
    Originally posted by Wookey
    The money is currently parked in a Cash ISA. I'm not really sure what accounts or how to gain more interest on this. I don't want to gamble with this on stocks as it has taken me so very very long and with a lot of struggle to save this. I live like a complete pauper (work - home - work) dont go out much, have a few friends but they're all busy in their lives/families. So between the TV, Cineworld and my local library I keep myself busy with my free time.
    • Wookey
    • By Wookey 7th Sep 17, 12:07 PM
    • 795 Posts
    • 399 Thanks
    Wookey
    • #9
    • 7th Sep 17, 12:07 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Sep 17, 12:07 PM
    The money is currently parked in a Cash ISA. I'm not really sure what accounts or how to gain more interest on this. I don't want to gamble with this on stocks as it has taken me so very very long and with a lot of struggle to save this. I live like a complete pauper (work - home - work) dont go out much, have a few friends but they're all busy in their lives/families. So between the TV, Cineworld and my local library I keep myself busy with my free time.
    Originally posted by Zoe185
    Take a look on the savings board for ideas Re where to put money for better returns, regular savers are the best ones atm with 5% achievable on quite a few, you may need to setup a few accounts and cycle money thru them to hit the required criteria. Cash ISA aren't recognised now as being the best place for savings as the government now don't tax savings income (within limits) .

    Instead of shelling out for the TV/cine maybe look for a bit of part time work in the evenings (maybe in that library), it would get you out earning a few extra quid and meeting new folk. I do some part time bar work over and above my regular job, i look at it from the pov that if I'm out earning I am not spending hardly anything.
    Last edited by Wookey; 07-09-2017 at 12:16 PM.
    Norn Iron Club member No 353
    • Zoe185
    • By Zoe185 7th Sep 17, 12:26 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Zoe185
    Take a look on the savings board for ideas Re where to put money for better returns, regular savers are the best ones atm with 5% achievable on quite a few, you may need to setup a few accounts and cycle money thru them to hit the required criteria. Cash ISA aren't recognised now as being the best place for savings as the government now don't tax savings income (within limits) .

    Instead of shelling out for the TV/cine maybe look for a bit of part time work in the evenings (maybe in that library), it would get you out earning a few extra quid and meeting new folk. I do some part time bar work over and above my regular job, i look at it from the pov that if I'm out earning I am not spending hardly anything.
    Originally posted by Wookey

    Hi Wookey: Thank you! WIll look into the other savings accounts as it makes no sense to keep the cash parked in an ISA with little return.

    I work 15hrs a day (Really not even kidding) and every 2 weeks saturday and sunday weekends from 9am-11pm to keep that level of salary. I was trying to look for jobs only for other 2 weekends i have free but I dont have many other skillsets. Retail would be an option but every time i've applied they want me to do regular work days as well which is not possible for me
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 7th Sep 17, 12:44 PM
    • 2,000 Posts
    • 2,919 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    I work 15hrs a day (Really not even kidding) and every 2 weeks saturday and sunday weekends from 9am-11pm to keep that level of salary. I was trying to look for jobs only for other 2 weekends i have free but I dont have many other skillsets. Retail would be an option but every time i've applied they want me to do regular work days as well which is not possible for me
    Originally posted by Zoe185
    If you can't get a better paying job, then you need to reduce you rent and/or the amount you send to your mother, which account for c.50% and c.25% of your net pay, respectively. Everything else is simply fiddling around the edges.

    Sorry to say this, but there's no magic bullet - you're not going to solve this issue until you increase what comes in (job) or reduce what goes out (rent, mother). If you can't (or won't) deal with these issues, things won't change.
    • gr1340
    • By gr1340 7th Sep 17, 12:56 PM
    • 61 Posts
    • 37 Thanks
    gr1340
    1 - Move out of London to somewhere that is cheaper to rent.
    2 - Get a new job that doesn't involve working 15 hours a day.

    You can't have any ties in London to keep you there such as friends or family so why stay?

    If you need 7 hours sleep a night you have around 2 hours of free time on all but circa 4 days a month. That isn't a life, that is just an existence and I wouldn't do that for a million a month. If you were running your own business then maybe it would be understandable.
    • Zoe185
    • By Zoe185 7th Sep 17, 2:47 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Zoe185
    Thank you yes i have thought of moving to somewhere cheaper but this is my thinking please do correct me if im wrong

    I work 15hrs a day which would mean getting up earlier and sleeping later. For that 20 or so quid of saving thinking of cheaper accommodation + travel cost i would have to give up the precious few hrs i have traveling

    Yep I know that i have no life as of right now just an existence from one day to the next. Unfortunately with mum being mentally ill and the country she lives in having no benifit or tax break system i am the only one left to support her.

    Some days I think of giving up and just moving to where she is but that would be another burden as the jobs there pay approx 14% of what i am making here so again would end up in the same boat of just existence and no life. Vicious cycle of paying bills and having nothing left.

    Standard salary in my industry is GBP 28000, im lucky im even making what i am right now tbh.
    • Narola1976
    • By Narola1976 7th Sep 17, 3:24 PM
    • 97 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    Narola1976
    Just a thought....have you tried doing surveys...they take a while to build up but every bit helps. Prolific is good. So is valued opinions
    HSBC CC £7150.15 - £6524.68 ~~~ Barclay Card £7894.74 £7846.32 ~~~ MBNA 1 £10382.67 - £10272.67 ~~~ MBNA 2 £7214.28 - £7062.94 ~~~Argos £202.05 - £100.05 ~~~ HSBC Loan £399.27 - £0 ~~~ Hitachi Loan £24.12 - £0 ~~~ Car Loan £14745.60 - £14008.32
    TOTAL £48012.88 - £45814.98 (Paid £2197.90 so far)
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 7th Sep 17, 3:53 PM
    • 7,778 Posts
    • 40,284 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    I think we're in danger of forgetting something here - the OP is not in debt. OP I think YOU'RE in danger of forgetting that too - and currently, pardon me for saying that, your lifestyle is actually sounding like a fairly toxic one - but I think you know that. If you could track down the surplus that is currently lost your position wouldn't be anything like as bad as it currently seems.

    I would agree with the idea of surveys if it wasn't for the hours you're already working - more working time is simply not a good plan right now even if it's unofficial sort of work.

    On the rent thing - do a rightmove search with the postcode set to work - set a 2 mile (ie easy walking distance) radius and see what there is out there. Keep looking - every day - you will need to be quick to get anything at the right price. Also search for properties for sale and start investigating mortgage costs. It's great that you have savings, but what exactly are you saving for?
    Last edited by EssexHebridean; 07-09-2017 at 3:56 PM.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • lynz68
    • By lynz68 7th Sep 17, 4:04 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 274 Thanks
    lynz68
    I'm sorry but you cannot continue with the amount of hours you are working at some point it's going to start affecting your own health both physically and mentally. I work 12hrs a day both days and nights but that's not every day.

    Something is going to have to give you either need to cut your rent drastically or stop paying for your Mum (which I know you won't).
    • Potbellypig
    • By Potbellypig 7th Sep 17, 5:27 PM
    • 119 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    Potbellypig
    Forget the money, you're managing just fine. From reading this thread, the main thing that sticks out to me is your existence. Go out and meet people, get some hobbies, spend your time doing stuff you want to do.

    No form of debt and £25k in savings?! Most people on this earth would snap your hand off for that.

    Live your life, Zoe. You only get one chance.
    • MagicMoneyTree
    • By MagicMoneyTree 7th Sep 17, 5:55 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    MagicMoneyTree
    I'm a big fan of prepay spending cards like Monzo and Loot. Keep one bank account for bills, another for longer term savings like Christmas, birthdays and holidays, then load your spending money onto one of these cards and leave the rest at home.

    The apps that come with the cards can help you track your spending in a clean and simple way, making you think a bit.

    Best of luck and congrats on getting to a pretty good place already!
    • zippygeorgeandben
    • By zippygeorgeandben 7th Sep 17, 9:41 PM
    • 662 Posts
    • 765 Thanks
    zippygeorgeandben
    I'm sad for the OP reading this. I live in London and rent is extortionate but I just wouldn't want to move. I love the cosmopolitan make up of our city and it offers so much entertainment for no money (parks, museums etc,)
    The money for your mum does need addressing though. You could potentially be paying £6000 for each year and than could be for a long time. You can't afford this. Have you looked into every single avenue here?
    I'm really proud of you though for kicking the gambling. I've been through that.
    End Sep 2016 End August 2017
    £8236.57 £4876.49
    (Tesco 4.8%) £222.61pcm
    £6185.75 £851.34 (Zopa 4.0%) £48.99pcm

    £5344.50
    £2890.04 (Sainsburys 0% until 06/19) £140pcm
    £2000.00 £1333.35 (Sister 0%) £133.33pcm

    Total debt
    £19.766.82 £11499.70 Original DFD May 2019.
    • fiisch
    • By fiisch 7th Sep 17, 11:07 PM
    • 163 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    fiisch
    I would say you're doing amazingly well to live in London on your salary and afford to give £500 a month to your mum... fair play!

    I don't think expenditure is the problem - you're obviously pretty frugal, and the cineworld card is worth it assuming you're going at least twice a month (it's a hell of a lot cheaper than going out for dinner, for example).

    If I were you (and I'm not), I'd be wanting a higher income for living in London - if the pay isn't that good in your industry, consider a sideways step, but if you're working in Central London you should be able to command a higher salary in the not too distant future. I'd be investigating further qualifications/avenues to progress career to boost my income, as I think holding down your own flat and supporting your mum overseas on what you're earning is amazing.

    Could the £25,000 in savings be working harder for you? Have you maxed the interest (could you afford the risk for S&S ISA)? Depends what you have in mind for it, but might help out (£25,000 could bring in an extra £100 a month if invested properly for example, but your capital would be at risk).

    If not, can you max out the interest (Atom Bank for example for fixed interest account, or Santander 123 for 1% savings up to £20k, regular savers etc....)
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  • RT @thismorning: 'Sometimes the best gift is releasing somebody else from the obligation of having to give to you' says @MartinSLewis. Do y?

  • Shana tova umetuka - a sweet Jewish New Year to all celebrating. I won't be online the rest of t'week, as I take the time to be with family

  • Dear Steve. Please note doing a poll to ask people's opinion does not in itself imply an opinion! https://t.co/UGvWlMURxy

  • Follow Martin