Bills & how to cut them?!!

Right here goes, if I'm going to start my MF journey I need to know if or what areas of our monthly outgoings we could reduce. I've not been the best at 'shopping' around for deals and dare I admit that I don't usually 'compare the market' so have been guilty in the past of just renewing deals without checking it's the most cost effective I wish I could have been a saver or thought about MF 20 years ago but hindsight is a great thing and I suppose better late then never

Income / Payment to joint AC - (Husband's salary £2600 and mine £800 - Total £3400)

Bills / Outgoings (Monthly):-

Mortgage (2.5% rate) - 1600.00
House Insurance (Home) - 18.37
Personal Loan (to pay credit cards) - 215.62
Life Assurance Policies (for both of us) - 86.82
Council Tax - 216.00
Gas & Electric - 192.00
British Gas Services - 23.63
Thames Water - 81.39
Telephone/Broadband - 61.00
Sky Digital - 82.50
TV License - 12.12
Window Cleaners - 15.00
Petrol/Car - 100.00 to 150.00
Approx Food/Household Goods - 400.00 (although have overspent here in the past upwards of £600 to £800) no wonder we're always overdrawn !!

It adds up to a lot, especially our bills which seem to be in the region of £800-1000 pcm! Am hoping we can reduce these by 215.00 when we finally pay off our loan (next June 2016) but not sure what else we can cut apart from obvious like food bill or Sky?!

Anyhow if you helpful souls can shed some light on what I could cut and how as every little bit could then be redirected to mortgage over payments if I'm to seriously start our quest to be MF cool:
Outstanding Mortgage (Jan 2015) £200k :eek: Original MF Date: November 2026
Intended MF Date: November 2020 (if we can learn how to save & overpay) :D
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Replies

  • choccieloverchoccielover Forumite
    412 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    From first glance your utilities seem high, water especially. Are you on a meter?
    There is an MSE linked tool to do find if you have the cheapest gas/elec providers too so that may be worth a look.
  • choccieloverchoccielover Forumite
    412 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Telephone and broadband, does that include mobiles otherwise that's high, and do you have the full sky package?? Could you cut back or at least call them and ask for a deal?? (Lots of MSE advice available on that one)
  • newgirlynewgirly Forumite
    8.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Forumite
    Hi and welcome :) defiantly try "leaving" sky - as long as you are not tied in then ring up and tell them your circumstances have changed and you want to cancel. The will always reduce what you pay usually by 50℅ or so .the only time this did not work for me they rang me back two weeks later and haggled a reduction to keep me (you have a months notice).

    Is it possible to switch some of your loan debt to 0% credit cards as there are some good long term deals around and you could try for more than one card.

    Food and household is higher than I spend on five of us and pets, how many are in your household? Try martins downshift challenge and gradually make small changes that you feel comfortable with,there are lots of tips on the oldstyle board too.

    Life and home assistance seem quite high , when they are up for renewal go on a coup!e of price comparison sites , its also cheaper to pay the home for insurance yearly I found (and car) we currently pay £123 per year for a 4 bed house in east london\essex.

    The best tip though is hang around mse to get lots of tips and support , best of luck :)
    2022 MFW 67 - 33 month challenge to clear mortgage, month 3 completed and on track 🙂MFI3 No.12
  • Hi just wanted to say many thanks to those who've taken the time to reply to my message. It's a great help and inspiration! I'm now all fired up to reducing those pesky household bills as best I can :-)
    Outstanding Mortgage (Jan 2015) £200k :eek: Original MF Date: November 2026
    Intended MF Date: November 2020 (if we can learn how to save & overpay) :D
  • One of the best things you can do is to stop buying a range of chemical cleaning products: you just don't need them. Water, microfibre cloths, vinegar and a wonderful liquid called Stardrops do most of the work. Use up what you have and then just use cheap, safe, gentle products.

    Could you do your own windows? Ever since I started doing mine the simple way, I have had a lot of compliments about how clear they look.

    How much food do you waste? I have a zero tolerance policy and use what I have before buying more.

    Could you break down your shopping bills so we can see what you get? Where do you shop?
    Who having known the diamond will concern himself with glass?

    Rudyard Kipling


  • Thanks for your helpful suggestions. I never really thought about cleaning products but will start shopping around for some gentler ones and simpler products (my husband always complains that I go for big name brands which are inevitably always more expensive). I know my downfall is buying far too much (& dare I say it often wasting food that goes out of date and hasn't been eaten)!! I need to get better at making some 'meal plans' so we don't do this and also shopping at cheaper supermarkets.....I'm forever popping into Waitrose or M&S (every third or fourth day) to buy a bit here and there, which costs a small fortune! Can't remember the saying but am certainly guilty of having a 'champagne' taste but on a beer budget :-) ha ha!

    I will also contact Sky and try what a couple of you suggested as we pay way too much for it. You never know you may make a saver out of me after all :-)
    Outstanding Mortgage (Jan 2015) £200k :eek: Original MF Date: November 2026
    Intended MF Date: November 2020 (if we can learn how to save & overpay) :D
  • edinburgheredinburgher Forumite
    13K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Life insurance also looks high unless you are both working on an oil rig ;)
  • firstly I would like to say welcome and secondly do not beat yourself up about not thinking to be mf earlier. The point is that you have made the decision now.

    As you do not mention children or pets the biggest things that jump out at me are your food, gas/electric, sky and internet seem very high.

    do you batch cook and freeze leftovera so you have your own readymade meals for long tiring days.

    Don't be overwhelmed , just decided one thing at a time to work on. You could post what you normally buy shopping, or meals you have and we can work out how to save money.
    House purchased November 2013
    Original MF Date: January 2045 - £104,400
    Current MF Date: April 2030- £48,719. 75
  • edited 12 May 2015 at 7:44PM
    ourcornercottageourcornercottage Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    edited 12 May 2015 at 7:44PM
    Personally I'd review all of those bills taking one at a time. The first thing I did was organise all my paperwork, then go through each one and pay least/ get most benefits.

    Now I'm going through my bank accounts to get the most rewards.

    I was in a very similar position to you when I started 6 months ago. Now I waste nothing on bills at all.

    In terms of food we spend £200 per month on food including a couple of bottles of wine and at least one meal out / take away per month but often we can get 2 or more and stay in budget. There are 3 of us. 2 veggies one gluten free. We eat really well and have lots of treats but waste very little.

    Good luck
  • You can probably shave quite a bit off the food bills and not affect standard of living.


    Cheap does not always mean poor quality and I would recommend trying different brands to see if you notice the difference. There are some things like my favourite granola that I now wont change for anything, and its [EMAIL="s@ins"][email protected][/EMAIL] own brand!!


    Meal planning will help cut out the waste as you wont overbuy. It will also help prevent the extra shops, where you could be tempted to buy other random items while you are there.


    Try the discount stores, who have very good fruit/veg. They are also a good place to stock up on toothpaste, loo rolls etc.


    Also think about when to shop to get the best discounts. I can spot a reduced to clear sticker from about 200m :rotfl:


    MC
    Initial mortgage (Dec 2012) £108,000 3.84%APR MF date Jan 2038

    Mortgage remaining £68285
    Daily interest £4.28
    2017
    MFW #14 £3746.90/£10,000
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