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  • FIRST POST
    • fergalicious
    • By fergalicious 11th Jan 18, 5:59 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 0Thanks
    fergalicious
    Really struggling to make ends meet
    • #1
    • 11th Jan 18, 5:59 PM
    Really struggling to make ends meet 11th Jan 18 at 5:59 PM
    Hi all,

    I'm pretty good with money and have managed not to get myself into any debt, but at the moment my income is so low compared to my essential expenses I'm really struggling. I was wondering if anyone had any tips for how to trim the fat even more - not that there is much.

    Here are my in comings and outgoings - these are for both me and my husband, who is out of work at the moment (but not long enough to claim JSA):

    Income - £1040/month

    Expenses - £1016.12/month

    Rent - £550
    Council tax - £93
    Electric - £33
    Water - £10
    TV licence - £12.12
    Phones - £52 (this could be cheaper but husband is stuck in contract)
    Internet - £20
    Food - £120
    Netflix - £6
    Travel - £90 (this is to and from work, I get bus there and taxi back because it is too late to get bus, even then I split taxi fare with coworker)
    Smoking - £40 (this is husbands habit)

    This leaves £23 a month for any other expenses, including birthdays, seeing friends, clothing, household items, my husband getting a bus anywhere etc.

    So as you can see, I'm pretty skint! pretty good at getting by and not complaining as long as I have the basics covered but I feel like I can't even do that... so many things I own are so old and worn out and I simply cannot replace them. Any help is much appreciated xx
Page 1
    • easy
    • By easy 11th Jan 18, 6:07 PM
    • 2,285 Posts
    • 2,686 Thanks
    easy
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:07 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:07 PM
    I'm afraid the obvious one is smoking, If your husband isn't working and has no income I don't see why you should fund his unhealthy habit while you go without essential clothes.

    Also you need to find a way out of the expensive phone contract. Does he have a fancy phone with it ? The obvious way is to sell the phone on ebay to pay off the contract fee, then get a much cheaper contract/PAYG with a basic phone. Once your husband is working again he can upgrade once more when the family can afford it.
    I try not to get too stressed out on the forum. I won't argue, i'll just leave a thread if you don't like what I say.
    • fergalicious
    • By fergalicious 11th Jan 18, 6:15 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    fergalicious
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:15 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:15 PM
    That's a really good idea about the phone thank you! Mine is just a £5 sim only, his is some fancy new thing he got when he was working. I never thought of selling the phone to cover the cost. It's one where you have to pay the full amount of the contract so I'll look into it.

    And I know I've tried to get him to quit so many times, does annoy me a lot. If anyone had any ideas of how to help people to cut down at least that would be a help. He gets very grumpy whenever he tries to quit we just argue a lot and he gets even more stressed and smokes again
    • p00hsticks
    • By p00hsticks 11th Jan 18, 6:21 PM
    • 5,892 Posts
    • 5,858 Thanks
    p00hsticks
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:21 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:21 PM
    my husband, who is out of work at the moment (but not long enough to claim JSA):
    Originally posted by fergalicious
    I don't understand this remark - you should be able to sign on for JSA as soon as you become unemployed - as far as I'm aware there's no requirement to wait.

    Do you mean that he didn't build up sufficient NI contributions when working to qualify for contributions based JSA ? Or was he self-employed ?
    • WibblyGirly
    • By WibblyGirly 11th Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    • 285 Posts
    • 547 Thanks
    WibblyGirly
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    I'd cancel Netflix, cut down on the smoking (could he switch to a cheaper brand or roll ups?). I'd also try cut the food bill. I'd be having very basic meals on that money. Lots of rice and pasta as that's cheap to bulk buy.
    • fergalicious
    • By fergalicious 11th Jan 18, 7:21 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    fergalicious
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:21 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:21 PM
    WibblyGirly/anyone else, is this too much for food? I'm not really sure what the average is for 2 people or what it can really go down to? I was thinking about going veggie to cut down on meat which is always the most expensive. I really struggle with meal planning and such, need to look into this...

    About the JSA - I will look into this, I think he would have to wait for 26 weeks because he left voluntarily after becoming unable to continue the work on medical grounds. Not sure if he could have gone on sick leave/left another way but the condition is ongoing so he wouldn't have been able to return to the same position. He did pay NI so should be entitled after the 26 weeks

    Thank you everyone for your help x
    • easy
    • By easy 11th Jan 18, 7:41 PM
    • 2,285 Posts
    • 2,686 Thanks
    easy
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:41 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:41 PM
    BTW I wouldn't cancel the Netflix. £6 per month is neither here nor there, and a dam sight cheaper than going to the pub for an evening ... I think it would make me feel very sorry for myself if even that small pleasure was denied me (esp as £40 per month is literally going up in smoke). Being able to sit down to a film or your favourite tv programme can make life more bearable sometimes.




    If your husband left work on health grounds he might be able to get some benefits. Has he been and explained it all to DWP?
    I try not to get too stressed out on the forum. I won't argue, i'll just leave a thread if you don't like what I say.
    • WibblyGirly
    • By WibblyGirly 11th Jan 18, 7:52 PM
    • 285 Posts
    • 547 Thanks
    WibblyGirly
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:52 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:52 PM
    Personally, no it's not too high for 2 people. But food is usually a flexible area to save money. Maybe look at what you eat for meals and how you can make them cheaper? Cheaper brands, I really hope your partner is looking for any job he can! Does he have an particular skills? He could bid for jobs on sites like peopleperhour for a little bit of cash to at least help ease things.
    • Flobberchops
    • By Flobberchops 11th Jan 18, 9:23 PM
    • 634 Posts
    • 451 Thanks
    Flobberchops
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 9:23 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 9:23 PM
    That's a very stretched budget. Rather than trying to look for ways to reduce outgoings, because you don't have any HUGE expenses, even the fags are only £10 a week, look at increasing income.

    1) Can your partner get a job, ANY job? Even just part time, temporary, or gig work.
    2) Make sure your partner (and you) fully explore all benefits available to you. Working tax credits, housing benefit, etc.
    3) Can you get a raise, work extra hours, or switch to a higher paying job?
    4) Sell old belongings you don't use or need. Ebay is a good way to get quick cash.
    I work for a UK bank, but any comments made on this forum are solely my personal opinion. Caveat Emptor!
    • p00hsticks
    • By p00hsticks 11th Jan 18, 10:13 PM
    • 5,892 Posts
    • 5,858 Thanks
    p00hsticks
    About the JSA - I will look into this, I think he would have to wait for 26 weeks because he left voluntarily after becoming unable to continue the work on medical grounds. Not sure if he could have gone on sick leave/left another way but the condition is ongoing so he wouldn't have been able to return to the same position. He did pay NI so should be entitled after the 26 weeks
    Originally posted by fergalicious
    Check the procedure over on the benefits board with the experts, but I think he should be submitting a claim straight away, and letting them decide if he will be sanctioned - any sanction would starts from when he claims, nor when he left work, so delaying claiming doesn't make sense, especially as you only get contributions based JSA for 26 weeks.

    If he has medical reasons which restrict his working then ESA may be an alternative he could look into.
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 11th Jan 18, 10:33 PM
    • 30,611 Posts
    • 19,359 Thanks
    DCFC79
    Have you considered moving closer to work or a job closer to home with better hours ?

    Could your husband not get a work from home job ?
    He could do some surveys, check the boost your income thread.
    Can people stop loaning money/being a guarator to family/friends, it rarely ends well and you lose out as your money is gone or you get shafted with being a guarantor.
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 11th Jan 18, 11:52 PM
    • 10,330 Posts
    • 26,356 Thanks
    suki1964
    First off your husband needs to put a claim in for ESA if he's not fit to work. This will give an extra £73 a week for 13 weeks until he is assessed and either kept on ESA or told to sign on for JSA

    You make the claim over the phone

    Then go to one of the benefits calculators and see if you can claim housing benefit, council tax help and WTC

    www.gov.uk
    if you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
    • rach_k
    • By rach_k 12th Jan 18, 10:09 AM
    • 1,084 Posts
    • 1,848 Thanks
    rach_k
    I agree with others that the smoking should stop. Get him to go and get help with quitting - he's more likely to succeed with support. Even if he doesn't quit completely, halving the number of cigarettes would be a good saving. Is he sitting around bored (smoking more?) or is he active? Maybe get him out and about if he can.

    I think your food budget is okay. You could probably trim it a little but I'd personally prefer a grumpy husband and nicer food! We currently spend £85/week for four of us and I believe that's about average, and you're spending less than that. Going veggie could save you some money, depending on how you do it. Replacing meat in every meal with a meat substitute like Quorn or a supermarket version might not save you much, depending on the quality of the meat you currently buy. Another option would be to just reduce how often you eat meat or have smaller portions of it. Beans on toast for dinner one night a week isn't a great hardship but can be very cheap, and even if you don't love it, you'll know tomorrow will be something bigger/better.

    Would it be possible for you to cycle to and from work? You might be able to pick up a free or cheap bike somewhere like Gumtree or Freecycle. If not in winter, maybe when it warms up a bit and gets lighter in the evenings?
    • Socajam
    • By Socajam 16th Jan 18, 3:18 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Socajam
    I share your pain. I remember in 1989 I had to give up meat because I was so stretched with a 60,000 mortgage, endowment and other bills. By the time I paid everything I had no money left.
    I gave up eating meat/chicken, but be careful because you can become anemic.
    You could buy mince meat, mince turkey etc and make burgers seasoned with herbs and spices along with a homemade sauce over spaghetti (save some for lunch the next day).
    Walk around the supermarkets and look at their cheaper brands. Sometimes they have chicken/meat on sale, even the expiration date is the day you bought it. Buy them and freeze them.
    Use the bones from the whole chicken to make soup - or get a couple of salmon head from the fishmonger and make fish soup.
    You are going to have to become very creative in cooking in order to save money. Trust me it can be done. Good luck.
    • NineDeuce
    • By NineDeuce 16th Jan 18, 8:41 AM
    • 683 Posts
    • 599 Thanks
    NineDeuce
    Get another job/more hours..... and you shouldnt be paying to get taxis to work.

    How is your other half unable to claim JSA?
    Last edited by NineDeuce; 16-01-2018 at 9:47 AM.
    • Shashwoo
    • By Shashwoo 16th Jan 18, 10:38 AM
    • 204 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    Shashwoo
    Whilst I know what you're all saying in regards to the smoking part, as a smoker who has tried and failed too many times to guess I will just say this.... It's isn't as easy as saying he needs to quit, I am sure he is aware of that fact.
    I smoke roll ups and a 50g pouch of bacci is roughly £20, unless he is a chain smoker that should last him at least 2 weeks. This would help you both, if he doesn't like smoking rollies he wont smoke as much and it will help you money wise.
    **1p Challenge 2017 /£667.95** **Virtual Sealed Pot Challenge No# £7.61 /£250**

    1st June 2012 @ 1pm I married the man of my dreams!!!
    • Samsung_Note2
    • By Samsung_Note2 16th Jan 18, 1:15 PM
    • 280 Posts
    • 105 Thanks
    Samsung_Note2
    When I was made redundant we had to look very closely as what we had to cut and it was quit smoking and no booze, phone contract terminated (explained the situation and wasn't a great deal they could do, cost of chasing versus length left).



    TV licence - £12.12
    Phones - £52 (this could be cheaper but husband is stuck in contract)
    Internet - £20
    Netflix - £6
    Smoking - £40 (this is husbands habit)


    Well if you really want to cut costs...that's £130 straight away, yes I know people will wail "oh no..how will we live with out TV or Mobiles".

    That's the harsh reality...they are luxuries we all pretty much take for granted, same with smoking.

    Get him down the doctors and they can help, I went from a 20G pouch of baccy (which I started smoking as hated it compared to cigs and ended up smoking far more as started to like it) every few days to nothing with the help of zyban from Doctors.

    Don't wont to sound rude or its easy...its not,but when you've got nothing spare you need to make some very hard decisions.
    If my appalling spelling offends you that much...dont read my posts.
    • veryintrigued
    • By veryintrigued 16th Jan 18, 1:38 PM
    • 2,005 Posts
    • 1,455 Thanks
    veryintrigued
    How badly do you want to get out of debt? Bad enough to:

    Get a bike and ditch the cabs?
    Get rid of your husbands fags.
    Increase yours and his income.
    Get rid of Netflix - if you cant find something on the 200 odd channels Freeview then its a poor deal. If you cant - do something more productive with your time.
    Talk to your mobile providers and explain the issues regarding contract.
    Look at the food bill.
    • Kim_13
    • By Kim_13 16th Jan 18, 1:50 PM
    • 1,670 Posts
    • 1,907 Thanks
    Kim_13
    Do you watch live TV or use BBC iPlayer? If you can do without them, you can be legally licence free.

    It won't help immediately but you can earn vouchers or cash from cashback sites such as TopCashback and Quidco. TopCashback will issue a Love To Shop card which can be spent in Iceland and many other places. There is also a payout bonus for choosing a gift card/certificate option.

    This MSE guide may give you some ideas to help bring in some extra: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/make-money
    Sealed Pot 11 #520 ~ /£100
    VSP 2018 #9 ~ £0/£180.00
    CCCC 2018 #1 ~ £8.00/£180.00

    I'm a Board Guide on the Savings and Investments , Budgeting and Bank Accounts , Credit Cards and Marriage, Relationships and Families boards which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this.) Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
    • bertiewhite
    • By bertiewhite 16th Jan 18, 3:27 PM
    • 772 Posts
    • 823 Thanks
    bertiewhite
    WibblyGirly/anyone else, is this too much for food? I'm not really sure what the average is for 2 people or what it can really go down to?
    Originally posted by fergalicious
    Blimey, we are currently paying an average of £50/week (ALDI) for 2 people but that's for food and household stuff such as loo roll, washing powder etc. We don't scrimp but then again we don't over-indulge and sometimes we do treat ourselves to a bottle of wine at the weekend or some lamb for Sunday Roast.
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