Saving for my maternity leave in July 2013

Hi,
I haven't posted on here before, hope this is the right place for this, have just been lurking and taking all the good advice on board, but I feel like I need something to focus my savings on and to save money as I'll be starting my maternity leave on 1st July 2013, which will hopefully be for 12 months.

So far I've managed to put £5640 in an ISA and should quite a bit to put in a new ISA in April. This is thanks to a PPI claim and a bonus from work.

I'm hoping to be able to then put about £400 - £500/ month into either my ISA or a normal savings account. I'm trying to put my savings into somewhere that has a decent interest rate, but also where I can access if needed as i'll be needing to break into my savings from about the end of August until the end of June 2014 to supplement my maternity pay to pay the housebills etc.

I should also get a £2000 share bonus in September, about £1000 in December and then between £2000 - £4000 in March 2014 which all come from shares where I work. I've been quite economical on these amounts as the payments have gone down recently.

I've also looked at areas where I think we can cut back and they are:
Groceries.
Petrol.
Heating.
Electric.
Any extra cash will go into the savings account.

For info, in the house there is me, my partner, two dogs and a cat.

I'm also having a clear out and ebaying a load of stuff at the moment, which will all go into the savings account.

For baby stuff I'm quite lucky as I'm getting a load of stuff from my brother secondhand, loads of baby clothes from a friend, pram from parents, carseat from inlaws. Once I know what it is then I can budget for anything we need and don't have. This will have to come out of the savings account.

We are also getting new windows fitted downstairs, some carpentry work done on doors as they are broken and I need to get a few quotes to have the bedrooms and stairs carpeted which will all come out of the savings account.

But I've worked out the figures and budgets for each month and I'm hoping that by the end of my maternity leave I'll still have about £3-4k left, hopefully!!!

I've also taken into account child benefit, 10 keep in touch days, work car allowance (which they are letting me keep for SMP) in my budgets.

I'm toying with the idea of starting to grow my own salad, carrots and potatoes, to save money, but not sure if this will be a bit ambitious with a baby on the way???

I've not included any money from my partner as he doesn't earn enough to put into the savings, although he does contribute to the house bills and he needs to pay off his credit cards as a priority.

So I'm hoping to be able to post tomorrow that I've made £10 to put into the savings account from selling a couple of DVD's, the guy is coming to pick them up tomorrow.

Cheers :)
«1

Comments

  • gearfreak
    gearfreak Posts: 69 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I'll also do a statement of affairs which I'll post tomorrow, as it would be good to see if anybody has any suggestions of other areas we could cut back on and therefore put into the savings account.
  • gearfreak
    gearfreak Posts: 69 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    So this is my SOA I think I have managed to include everything, very open to suggestions on where we can save money:

    Statement of Affairs:

    Income:

    Salary - £2158.45 / month
    OH’s money towards mortgage & bills - £350.00 / month.

    Total Income: £2,508.45 / month.

    Outgoings:

    Mortgage - £642.87 / month – I have looked at changing this but we are on quite a good deal with the Coventry and if we change to a 2 year fix, we will only save the cost of the new mortgage application fee I think.

    Buildings & Contents Insurance – £23.43 / month – I do check this every year when its up for renewal and I know we have the cheapest quote available.

    Council Tax - £101.34 / month.

    Water Rates - £38.69 / month.

    Gas - £50/month – we are on LPG and 1 bottle costs us £50, so averages out over the year.

    Electricity - £44 / month.

    Home Phone & Internet - £30.18 / month – we can only have BT in our village so are pretty stuck.

    TV Licence - £12.12 / month.

    Mobile Phone - £7.00 / month – I recently changed contracts and this was the best one available for my usage.

    Pet Insurance - £28.16 / month – this is for 3 separate insurances for 2 dogs and a cat.

    Gas / Plumbing Cover - £16.58 / month – this is with british gas.

    Food and Household Shopping - £270.00 / month – I’m currently adding up all the receipts for the month, so will have a better idea at the end of this week.

    Car Insurance - £45.31 / month – this is for my car only, I did have a company car and this is why the insurance looks quite high, I’m hoping this will reduce again next year.

    Petrol - £120.00 / month – this is a guess at the moment as again I’m keeping hold of all my receipts to work it out.

    Personal Loan Repayments - £350.00 / month

    0% loan for mountain bike - £150 / month – this ends in November.

    Pet Food - £17.00 / month – for cat and dog food.

    Dog haircut - £5.00 / month – 1nr dog needs haircut every so often and we take him to the lady down the road who charges £25.

    Cineworld card - £14.99 / month

    Pilates class - £20.35 / month – at local council gym.

    Dental Insurance - £14.00 / month – when I moved house I couldn’t get a Dentist so went private.

    Haircuts - £55 / month – this is for a cut and colour, I do sometimes colour it myself.

    Christmas Presents - £16.00 / month – for my familys presents.

    Birthday Presents - £16.00 / month – again just for my side of the family.

    Holiday - £100.00 / month – I would like this to be more as travelling is one of my passions, and I quite often end up paying for OH as he can’t afford it and I don’t want to go by myself, although this may change.

    Total outgoings - £2,188.02 / month

    Balance - £320.43 / month
    The balance needs to go into my savings account for when I am on maternity leave.

    Savings:

    Cash ISA £5640.00
    Savings £3,600.00

    Other Income:

    Share Dividend from Work in March - £2,100.00.
    Share Dividend from Work in September - £2,000.00 (although not sure we will get this).
    Share Payout Dec / Jan - £1,000.00 (again not sure we will receive this).

    Other Info:

    I also have a bad magazine habit, so I’m going to try and stop this and ask for magazine subscriptions as birthday / Christmas presents.
    I know I haven’t included a clothes allowance, not sure how much I spend, its not too much as if I need new stuff I’ll try and get it from Ebay or in the sales.
    I’m also trying to cut back on buying lunches at work and snacks.

    Like I say would welcome peoples comments / feedback / ideas on where we can cut back?
    Thanks
  • Derivative
    Derivative Posts: 1,698 Forumite
    edited 25 March 2013 at 9:50PM
    Growing salads and eating small snacks for lunch are not really priority items for you, IMO. Neither is selling DVD's. It's irrelevant compared to most of the big hitters on your list. It would be a sort of 'active' form of procrastination - pretending to make an effort when it's really not that material.

    Even buying ready made salad bags every day would cost a maximum of 30 pounds a month. You're spending 55 quid on haircuts. My female friends probably spend more like 55 pounds in a year.

    270 pounds a month on food sounds high to me. Is there any contribution from your husband? I spend a maximum of 100 on myself, generally lower.

    If you are paying for car insurance monthly, don't - they charge 20-30% APR. Pay the lump sum and you'll be better off long term.

    On some level the most important thing is not necessarily giving these things up so that you can 'save' more, but so that when you are reliant on your savings you have less commitments.

    I would also look at the longer term prospect of whether it seems sensible for a mother to have only £10k in savings. It sounds like a lot, but it's only 5 months' wages. How secure do you think your job is?

    Apologies if this seems rather oppressive, by the way - just trying to give a viewpoint.

    I tend to think that 'old style' money saving techniques like selling bits around the house / growing food / selling craft items etcetera are far more useful for people with limited income. You're earning £65/day - best off spending your time on leisure so that you're relaxed for work rather than stressing about the pennies.
    Said Aristippus, “If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.”
    Said Diogenes, “Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king.”[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][/FONT]
  • gearfreak
    gearfreak Posts: 69 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hi, thanks for the reply and the suggestions

    Growing salads and eating small snacks for lunch are not really priority items for you, IMO. Neither is selling DVD's. It's irrelevant compared to most of the big hitters on your list. It would be a sort of 'active' form of procrastination - pretending to make an effort when it's really not that material. - i know that taking lunch to work and selling stuff on ebay is not going to make that much difference but I would normally spend £3/4/day on lunch at work, if you total that up over a year thats quite a lot. Also I need to have a clear out so putting stuff on ebay if it makes a few extra pennies is worth it.

    Even buying ready made salad bags every day would cost a maximum of 30 pounds a month. You're spending 55 quid on haircuts. My female friends probably spend more like 55 pounds in a year. - I should have probably clarified this, its only been the last couple of months i've been doing this as its for a cut and colour, normally I would colour it myself but whilst I've been pregnant I can't stand the smell etc, normally it would be £25 for a cut and blowdry and then about £5 for a home colour kit. I'll look into getting it done at the local college and see how much I could save doing it that way, but I do need it cutting and colouring properly to look presentable for work.

    270 pounds a month on food sounds high to me. Is there any contribution from your husband? I spend a maximum of 100 on myself, generally lower. - This is a guess at the moment as I'm saving all my receipts to see how much I actually spend on groceries, this includes all household stuff ie cleaning products, toiletries and food, going to add it all up at the end of the month, hopefully I'll have spent less! Would love it to be £100 for me for the month. My OH (not husband) only contributes the £350 to the bills and then buys an occasional amount of shopping, but won't contribute to the meal planning that I have been trying to do, even though I have asked for his input, but he says he doesn't want anything and will eat anything I plan for, but then when I have done meals he has complained that he isn't that keen on them and goes and buys food himself. So yes this is a problem at the moment and not sure how to deal with it :0(

    If you are paying for car insurance monthly, don't - they charge 20-30% APR. Pay the lump sum and you'll be better off long term. - agree, I couldn't afford to pay a lump sum at the time i renewed but will look at doing this next year.

    I would also look at the longer term prospect of whether it seems sensible for a mother to have only £10k in savings. It sounds like a lot, but it's only 5 months' wages. How secure do you think your job is? - agree, but when you add my maternity pay to that and child benefit etc, by the end of my maternity leave I should be left with about £3-4k which I hope to then add to when I go back to work. My job is pretty secure, I've been there for nearly 6 years and if I did get made redundant then I should get a job doing a similar thing quite easily (fingers crossed).

    Apologies if this seems rather oppressive, by the way - just trying to give a viewpoint. - nope its good to have another persons objective view :0) I was ready for the constructive criticism otherwise I wouldn't have posted.

    I tend to think that 'old style' money saving techniques like selling bits around the house / growing food / selling craft items etcetera are far more useful for people with limited income. You're earning £65/day - best off spending your time on leisure so that you're relaxed for work rather than stressing about the pennies. - I'm quite enjoying saving as much as possible, and I have lived a quite extravagant lifestyle in the past and need to get into good habits as eventually I'd like to be in a position to start making overpayments on the mortgage and build up a really good savings pot. I'm not getting too stressed over the money as if the worst come to the worst I can go back to work earlier than 12 months, but want to do as much as I can to make the 12 months possible, as when I do go back it will probably full time.
    Thanks for the input :)
  • Peonie
    Peonie Posts: 1,471 Forumite
    Hi GF,

    There's a Baby Fund Challenge here: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4224759

    Quite a few of your bills are a lot cheaper than ours; like your water, electricity, gas, mobile phone, council tax.

    I now take my lunch to work rather than buying it in. I've saved a lot of money and I'm losing weight. A win win.

    Like Derivative said, if you are able to pay for things like insurance at once rather than monthly the cost is cheaper. I have a virtual pot and save a bit each month to pay annual bills.

    We have 2 cats and don't pay pet insurance. It's the risk you need to decide whether you want to take. Years ago one of them needed an emergency operation. That cost £400 plus follow-ups. I would say we've saved money over the years by not paying insurance.

    We also don't have gas or plumbing cover but I have wondered about getting it.

    Our food and household shopping costs around £150 a month for the 2 of us and the cats. I'm lucky that I work across from a mini supermarket so try to nip in after work and pick up the sell-by food and we do our other shopping in L1dl/Ald1. Cutting out takeaways also cut our food bill.

    For things like exercise classes; search UTube. There are loads of DVDs on there.

    I've cut down on the frequency of hair cuts to save a few more pennies. Mine cost £25-£30 a time. I used to have it cut every 6 weeks, then knocked it down to 8 weeks and my last cut was 5 months ago. I have long hair so it's easy to get away with.

    I think your magazine subscription for Xmas/birthday is a good idea. I have that on my Am@z0n present list. Keep an eye on this thread http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=1075149 for offers on your favourite mags.

    Consider getting a monthly saving account. F1rst D1rect have a one year saver that pays 6% AER and you can save up to £300 a month. On maturity move the money into your ISA or spend on your maternity leave.

    Good luck.
    Pots: House £6966/£7100, Rainy day Complete, [STRIKE]Sunny day £0/£700[/STRIKE], IVF £2523/£2523, Car up-keep £135/£135, New car £5000/£5000, Holiday £1000/£1000, MFW #16 £2077/£3120
    MFiT3 #86: Reduce mortgage from £146,800 to £125,000
    Mortgage Sept 2014: £135,500, MF Oct 2035 Peak July 2011: £154,000, MF July 2036
  • gearfreak
    gearfreak Posts: 69 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hi Peonie,
    Thanks for the link I'll check it out :T.

    I'll try and get the car and house insurance pots sorted out for next year now then.

    Unfortunatly one of our dogs and the cat quite regularly go to the vets so we have got our money back on their insurance two fold, so more than happy to pay this.

    I'm going to try and do meal plans for this month and then take out only the money I need for petrol and groceries and to try and stick to that, so I'll see how it goes. Going to try it on £200/month for groceries and see how I get on and maybe try and cut it down from there if it goes ok.

    Just put a load of stuff on ebay as part of my clear out and so far made £30 which has gone on baby stuff, but got that from ebay in excellent condition and for half the cost of brand new stuff! :j

    Cheers
    GF
  • gearfreak
    gearfreak Posts: 69 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    So this morning just set up a new cash isa for this year, was very excited about getting up early to get this done :)

    Have made quite a bit on ebay over the last week or so, of which some has paid for baby stuff from ebay and the balance has been transferred into my current account.

    I still have a declutter to do in our office/ outbuilding where I'll either ebay or free cycle anything we no longer use.

    Been trying to get OH to turn off and pull our phone chargers, laptop plugs etc to try and cut down on electric, but this is proving to be a challenge!

    Although I have got him now logged into the TCB site so he can earn extra cash back when he buys bits for the bikes he fixes :)

    Also off to do another menu plan today, hopefully for the rest of the month and I'm planning on batch cooking and freezing next weekend when OH is working away all weekend.

    Still need to plan my grow your own stuff, but not been too keen on doing this yet as its still freezing up here so going to wait a week or so.

    Got a sewing machine though this week as something to keep me sane / mind occupied whilst I am pregnant as I can't do any of the outdoor sports I would normally do as I get way too tired. Already I have sorted our door curtain out which will hopefully help to reduce the heating costs and have a draught excluder to make.

    My brothers visiting today and bringing me loads of their baby stuff which will be good as that means we won't have to buy certain things.

    Going to work out how much I've earned overall on ebay later and will transfer to savings account, will post on here.

    GF x
  • Peonie
    Peonie Posts: 1,471 Forumite
    That's some great activities and you have done all that while you are tired. Go you.

    I live in the north west of England so not a million miles from you. And the ground is hard here too. I've on planted a few sweet pea seeds but nothing for food. Actually, I'll plant some seeds indoors this weekend to get them started.

    I'm impressed you have made a door curtain. I've sewn for years and have not attempted one yet.
    Pots: House £6966/£7100, Rainy day Complete, [STRIKE]Sunny day £0/£700[/STRIKE], IVF £2523/£2523, Car up-keep £135/£135, New car £5000/£5000, Holiday £1000/£1000, MFW #16 £2077/£3120
    MFiT3 #86: Reduce mortgage from £146,800 to £125,000
    Mortgage Sept 2014: £135,500, MF Oct 2035 Peak July 2011: £154,000, MF July 2036
  • gearfreak
    gearfreak Posts: 69 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Ah well peonie, I'd normally be out mountain biking / mountaineering or something so really find it hard to not do anything at the moment and I was on annual leave last week which helped :0)

    I'm impressed with you planting indoor seeds, I still haven't got round to doing any gardening yet, sweet peas are gorgeous aren't they.

    Don't be too impressed with the door curtain, all I did was sew the bottom up so it fitted properly and didn't drag on the floor, I bought the curtain itself a while ago, so cheated a lot!! Think I need to practice sewing in a straight line before trying to make an actual curtain ;0)
  • Peonie
    Peonie Posts: 1,471 Forumite
    That is active, I've kept my activities down to gardening and going on my exercise bike until the weather improves.

    Well, I did not get round to planting the food seeds but planted flowering bulbs instead. Much cheaper than buying them grown.

    Even sewing the bottom of a curtain is more than I have done.
    Pots: House £6966/£7100, Rainy day Complete, [STRIKE]Sunny day £0/£700[/STRIKE], IVF £2523/£2523, Car up-keep £135/£135, New car £5000/£5000, Holiday £1000/£1000, MFW #16 £2077/£3120
    MFiT3 #86: Reduce mortgage from £146,800 to £125,000
    Mortgage Sept 2014: £135,500, MF Oct 2035 Peak July 2011: £154,000, MF July 2036
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