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Keeping down spending on "stuff"

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Keeping down spending on "stuff"

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
100 replies 17.5K views
lisa_75lisa_75 Forumite
555 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
We have been overspending for a couple of years which has led to around £10,000 of debt. I am trying to nip this in the bud by living within our means. I have cut down on food shopping stopped going out so much, but the thing I am finding the hardest to cut down on are those extras that appear every month.

This month after I have paid out for all the bills, debt repayments, food, petrol and getting the car taxed I have £280 to last me 4 weeks. Out of that I have school uniform to buy, entertainment for the kids during the holidays, a family birthday bash at night that I have to attend, 3 birthday presents, a christening gift and attending the christening do. Apart from that we all could do with some new summer clothes, I personally only have 3 t-shirts which I have to wash all the time with the weather.

Usually I would just use my credit card, but I have cut them all up. I am really scared this month. Last month we scraped by without having to borrow, but this month, with the holidays and birthdays I have so many extra expenses.

How do you budget for all the extras you have to buy? Also how much is reasonable to spend on “stuff” like clothes, going out, birthday gifts every month? Before my light bulb moment I was spending £800 - £1000 on “stuff” when in reality we only have £300 to spare.
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Replies

  • dottyannedottyanne Forumite
    1.5K posts
    Hi Im about to start a DMP with the CCCS - im not sure if this is 100% right (wonder girl works for them so maybe shes the better person to advise) however i think £10 per person a month for clothes/shoes, £10 per person per month for sports/hobbies/interests and £10 per person per month for sundries like xmas/birthdays..........if you put this amount away each month there will be months when you dont use it however as we all know you will probably spend more in the summer hols/xmas etc...........

    hope this helps

    dotty xx
    Focusing on clearing the credit cards in 2018 :T
  • lisa_75lisa_75 Forumite
    555 posts
    dottyanne wrote:
    Hi Im about to start a DMP with the CCCS - im not sure if this is 100% right (wonder girl works for them so maybe shes the better person to advise) however i think £10 per person a month for clothes/shoes, £10 per person per month for sports/hobbies/interests and £10 per person per month for sundries like xmas/birthdays..........if you put this amount away each month there will be months when you dont use it however as we all know you will probably spend more in the summer hols/xmas etc...........

    hope this helps

    dotty xx

    Thanks Dotty. I really have no idea how to manage on that little. £120 per year per person on clothes would only just cover 2 sets of school uniform, school shoes and a coat for my one of my kids. What about all the other clothes they need?

    Also there are 4 of us. That makes £480 per year for Christmas/birthdays. Including us I have 18 relatives and friends that need Christmas and birthday gifts every year. Also there are fathers/mothers day/anniversary. If i just buy Chritsmas and Birthday gifts that is only £13 per person per gift. What on earth can I buy for that? Also the kids at Christmas/Birthdays. I can't only spend £13 on them, they would be devastated.

    As for £120 per person on hobbies, My daughters brownie holiday is £90 alone, not including the weekly subs and uniform.

    I am not being difficult, but I really need some advice on how to manage on so little.
  • wigginsmumwigginsmum Users Awaiting Email Confirmation
    4.2K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    lisa_75 wrote:
    How do you budget for all the extras you have to buy? Also how much is reasonable to spend on “stuff” like clothes, going out, birthday gifts every month?

    I'd love to have £280 left each month - generally I have £30-40 after all the static outgoings including food.

    Clothes - I buy an item as one wears out, and have an upper limit of £20/item.

    Going out - I simply don't. I've got plenty to do at home and in the garden. Occasionally we have friends over for a meal. Surely your kids can entertain themselves, with the occasional day out or trip to the cinema? How old are they?

    Birthday gifts: max £10/present - 2 X Jan, 1 Jun, 1 Oct, 1 Nov, 1 Dec. Christmas - £50. I pay £10/month into a savings account for this.
    The ability of skinny old ladies to carry huge loads is phenomenal. An ant can carry one hundred times its own weight, but there is no known limit to the lifting power of the average tiny eighty-year-old Spanish peasant grandmother.
  • lynsayjanelynsayjane Forumite
    3.5K posts
    Xmas Saver!
    sweetie the only way to cut down is to stop certain treats. if your daughters brownies are unaffordable then maybe she can't go on holiday with them. as for the summer hols, there are heaps of threads about free days out or things to do that don't cost much. where do you normally shop for the kids clothes? if you have a primark near by they do great kids clothes and they are incredibly cheap. i shop there a lot for my clothes!
  • bobsa1bobsa1 Forumite
    1.9K posts
    ✭✭✭
    I shop for xmas and birthday gifts all year round and have a gifts box. If you look on Boots thread or grabbit you will see loads of offers/deals.

    For my mum's birthday last week I got her Elizabeth Arden perfume (half price at Boots and bought on points) which cost nothing and some l'oreal face cream which was a free gift. The cost to me for her gift was nothing but the actual value was about £50

    I have already bought most of my xmas presents for probably a quarter of their value. Look on the os board for ideas

    Also the Brownie movement can help with pack holidays etc if you are in genuine need.
  • lisa_75lisa_75 Forumite
    555 posts
    wigginsmum wrote:
    I'd love to have £280 left each month - generally I have £30-40 after all the static outgoings including food.

    Clothes - I buy an item as one wears out, and have an upper limit of £20/item.

    Going out - I simply don't. I've got plenty to do at home and in the garden. Occasionally we have friends over for a meal. Surely your kids can entertain themselves, with the occasional day out or trip to the cinema? How old are they?

    Birthday gifts: max £10/present - 2 X Jan, 1 Jun, 1 Oct, 1 Nov, 1 Dec. Christmas - £50. I pay £10/month into a savings account for this.

    With the going out, how do you cope with birthdays/christenings/aniversarys /weddings? This month alone I have been invited to a christening (that I have to attend), an anniversay party (that i have to attend) and a wedding (that I have lied and said I can't go to). All these need a gift/ money for the bar etc. Do you just simply not go to things like this? The kids are also always being invited to parties at school.

    As for £10 on a gift, what kids of things do you buy? I would really love some ideas. I have my mum and best friend to buy for this month. I would usually spend £50 each at least as my best friend spent £150 on me last birthday. I am going to feel so awful only spending so little when I get such nice gifts.
  • ZTDZTD Forumite
    24.3K posts
    lisa_75 wrote:
    I can't only spend £13 on them, they would be devastated.

    It goes back to the old saying.

    "What should I spend on the kids?

    Half the money and twice the time."

    If you spent no money on them, they'd get over it. If you spend no time on them, then they'd be devastated.

    Myself and they OH have a £10 limit on Christmas prezzies. It's very hard, and it takes time to select them, but the prezzies are better than £100 thoughtless ones.
    "Follow the money!" - Deepthroat (AKA William Mark Felt Sr - Associate Director of the FBI)
    "We were born and raised in a summer haze." Adele 'Someone like you.'
    "Blowing your mind, 'cause you know what you'll find, when you're looking for things in the sky." OMD 'Julia's Song'
  • bobsa1bobsa1 Forumite
    1.9K posts
    ✭✭✭
    I think you are spending way over the top on gifts. Why £50 on your best friend when you can't afford it. Do your family/friends know that you haven't got the money to buy these types of gifts.

    You could always say that you are cutting back because you want to save/trying to pay the mortgage off etc and then buy a reasonable price gift.

    I think you probably need to get your head around the reality of your situation or alternatively you need to find another source of income, second job?

    Sorry if this sounds harsh but if you havan't got the money you can't spend it!
  • lynsayjanelynsayjane Forumite
    3.5K posts
    Xmas Saver!
    do your family and friends know how bad things are for you? if they did i bet they'd be very understanding of geting less spent on them. my imediate family and i agreed a limit of £30 each for xmas/bday pressies, tho we have no kids as yet so theres not many of us.
  • lisa_75lisa_75 Forumite
    555 posts
    bobsa1 wrote:
    I think you are spending way over the top on gifts. Why £50 on your best friend when you can't afford it. Do your family/friends know that you haven't got the money to buy these types of gifts.

    You could always say that you are cutting back because you want to save/trying to pay the mortgage off etc and then buy a reasonable price gift.

    I think you probably need to get your head around the reality of your situation or alternatively you need to find another source of income, second job?

    Sorry if this sounds harsh but if you havan't got the money you can't spend it!

    I am looking into trying to do something from home myself to earn a second income. I can't work at nights or weekends as my husbands works varied shifts and is often not there at night to look after the kids. My husband may have to go down the route of doing some overtime, which is a last resort as he works hard enough as it is.

    My family and friends think we are well off as my husband has a very good job and we rent from the council, so our rent is very cheap. My parents especially would be furious to think we couldn't manage on the wage my husband earns. I have not told anyone about our situation as I am too ashamed.
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