Keeping to a budget, paying off debt and saving up money

in Debt free diaries
15 replies 1.3K views
Hello all.

I've been lurking around and reading some of the diaries here and I find them inspirational, so I'm hoping if I have one some of that inspiration will rub off on me too!

I'll spend a few posts introducing myself and my situation.

Well I'm married and have a 7 month old daughter. Currently on maternity leave but return to work in the 24th October. Husband is full time employed and I will be part time. We both have relatively secure jobs that are well paid for the area and what we do.

When I go back to work my daughter will be spending a day each with grandparents and one day at childcare and obviously this will be a massive help budget wise.

Me and DH are comfortable. We have an amount of debt (mainly in my name) standing at around £4500. We both have a mortgage (he owns the house we live in and I own another currently rented out). We have a small amount of savings (£2300) and we really want to have £5000 saved by next April to get a new car.

I handle most of the budget and finances and I'm very good at checking balances and having a spreadsheet with everything in, but and this is the main reason why we have debt and why we need to get better at saving, I'm not always very good at sticking to said budget. I allow generous amounts for food/petrol/general spends but always going over so therefore dipping into savings.

I hope this diary can keep me on track with the budget and help me make inroads to paying off the debts and building up that savings pot.

Wish me luck.


  • More info.

    I'm good at keeping our bills (Sky, electric, gas, insurances) as low as possible by shopping around and have a quidco account for cash back and generally try to shop at lidl and aldi. I meal plan.

    My downfall is going off plan, tea and cake out with friends, treating myself to small items, treating the baby to clothes and toys ( she has more than she'll ever need).

    Short term. I'd like to save the money for the car and pay down some debt. Longer term once the car is purchased. I'd like to clear the debt and build a savings cushion.

    Both me and DH are paid on the 15th of each month so this will be when each new month starts.

    I've already overspent for the 15th August-15th September period. There's not much in the pot, so I'm selling some items in eBay tonight to raise funds to stop me dipping into savings. Obviously this is a short term solution so I really need to work on sticking to the Budget and not overspending.
  • Love your username! Hope the diary is useful and helps. Good luck.
    2017- 5 credit cards plus loan
    Overdraft And 1 credit card paid off.

    2018 plans - reduce debt
  • Thank you @Poor_Single_Lady I hope so too!
  • Right more about me then.

    I use excel to budget monthly Direct Debits, budget for haircuts, Christmas, birthdays, food and petrol and savings. We transfer an amount to our individual accounts for private spending as well.

    So budget is ok, I'm happy that we allow for most spending, like I say it's that I'm not keeping within the budget allowed. Main area I overspend is Food and general spending. being on maternity leave means I'm more likely to pop out to the shop for something to do. This needs to stop. I need to plan meals better, plan my day better to take snacks out for me and baby, or return home for these.

    I also am guilty of treat buys for both myself and baby. Clothes, shoes, toys, cake etc.. and this is not just out of my private spends but out of joint money or building up debt and it's got to stop as it doesn't make me happy in the long term and baby really does not need anything.

    I want to lose weight/stop gaining weight. I have two wardrobes bursting with clothes. Baby has piles of clothes and would be happy playing with a sweet wrapper (not that I'd let her - it's just an example that she doesn't need expensive toys!!)

    So some goals need to be wrote down in black and white.

    1. Save £5000 for car by April 2017
    2. Keep up payments to all debts - I pay minimum payment plus more where I can.
    3. Stick to budgets
    4. Stick to meal plan
    5. Stop unnecessary spends on food out when this can be avoided
    6. Watch what I eat - I waste money because I eat ALOT!! :-)
    7. Free activities with baby - walk in the park, library etc.
  • So I check our bank account almost daily - I mark off on our spreadsheet what's come out and I budget for what is expected.

    For the rest of this pay month I have £74 left, this is for food and joint spending and this is after budgeted bills. It's not enough, and it's likely I will dip into our savings. I have listed some items on eBay tonight that will end on Sunday 4th September in the hope of raising some funds and preventing me from tapping into the savings.

    I have food shopped today and have enough for the next week, maybe longer. Husband is on standby from Monday for a week so there won't be much spending going on as we can't really go anywhere and previous standby weeks we've stayed at or near home and got jobs done (lawn, DIY, cleaning/sorting).

    Husband is away on Saturday - paid for with his own money. I've booked myself onto a free event at our local park. It's walking distance and will cost me nothing.

    Friday - I've got a friend coming round for a cuppa and chat so again should be a NSD. I'd like to have more NSD's. I dread to think what our neighbours must think of me returning home with shopping bags all the time. I'm going to aim to have at least 3 NSD a week, this should be achievable and hopefully I will actually achieve more than this!
  • enthusiasticsaverenthusiasticsaver Forumite, Ambassador
    13.9K Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    You sound pretty organised OP.

    Is it worth using some of your savings to pay off some of the debt? What interest rate are you paying on the debt. I get that you want a new car though so well done on saving for it rather than taking on more debt.

    I love my spreadsheets too but in the early days when my kids were young and money was much tighter I found using cash rather than cards for food and treat money was a better way to stay on budget. Every penny used to be allocated at the beginning of the month with a small contingency which was stashed in a savings account.

    Maternity leave is expensive though. My DD has recently gone back to part time work after ML and I look after my 11 month old DGD one day a week . Lucky you have family to help out too.
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free Wannabe, Budgeting and Banking and Savings and Investment boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected] All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
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  • louby40louby40 Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker

    You've had your LBM and now you've got a plan! Well done!

    Why not set yourself a set number of No Spend Days (NSD) for each month. Try some of the survey sites to earn cash or high street vouchers, it's boring and you only earn pence but I do it when I'm sitting watching TV. I've got 2 £10 sainsburys vouchers in the past week.

    If you want to really look at future budgeting (as opposed to ticking things off once you bought/spent) have a look at YNAB - You Need a Budget. You can get a free months trial and is used by loads of people that highly recommend it.

    Good luck
  • givememoneygivememoney Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts I've been Money Tipped!
    When my kids were young we like you were very hard up. Being brought up in an age where you had to save for things there was no alternative made me very frugal. Also DH often went on 'short time' so this made me afraid to spend, even in the good times. If saving is your ultimate aim, start tomorrow. Each day congratulate yourself when you have resisted temptation and put a small amount aside, in a jar say. Keep doing this and you will get into the habit. As time goes on, not immediately of course, it will make you feel very pleased with youself and you won't want to go back to your old ways and you'll gradually built up a nice nest egg.
  • Hi All and thanks for your responses.

    Most of the debt is on 0% card, we have no overdraft and the rest is a store card/next account which is mine alone. DH doesn't actually know the true figure of debt and it would be an awkward conversation, as he thinks all is ok. I have an immense amount of guilt about this. So paying off with savings is not an option for now.

    I'm naturally a spender and he is naturally a saver and I am really trying to be more like him.

    I have registered on the Topcashback site today and need to find out more about surveys as I've heard a lot about them and could definitely do them.

    I think I also like the idea of making a payment a day towards debt, so taking the small pence amount off our available balance and paying a debt. It all adds up and I may start this next pay month.

    I've also read abit about the envelope budgeting system and whilst this wouldn't wholly work for us as we pay most of our bills by Direct Debit when we get paid, I think it could help with making the food and entertainment budget last by taking out a set amount for the month or per week. So again, this is something I will start next pay month.
  • Can anyone recommend survey sites they use?
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