My New Normal

Fla603Fla603 Forumite
43 Posts
Forumite
Hi, a quick bit about me:
I'm 33 years old, married, first time mum currently on maternity leave and I seem to spend any spare snippets of free time (of which there aren't many) reading peoples diaries and being motivated and inspired to think about my finances.
6-7 years ago when my family was in some financial difficulty I stumbled across this site and was inspired to take my debt matters into my own hands and slowly rid myself of the credit card debt I had (approx £1300) and start building up my savings so I could afford to buy my own home. At the time I was in a relationship with my now husband and while we both lived in our parents homes he had a very different financial upbringing than me. Not wanting him to know the situation I was in I began chipping away at my debt and then building my savings. Subsequently and thankfully this rubbed off on other family members. We have all been ticking along nicely for the last few years, buying our home, paying for our wedding and honeymoon without much help from family and without accruing any debt, but now that my family life has changed again - we now have a baby, have done considerable (ie expensive) work on our property, have had to purchase practical family cars and I'm only bringing home maternity wages, I have become more conscious again of the potential for debt increasing and poor money management.
If by this stage anyone out there is still reading, my aim for this diary is to docu my thoughts and feelings and PLANS for keeping my finances under control and being MS while I navigate my "new normal".
«1345

Replies

  • edited 23 November 2018 at 11:35PM
    Fla603Fla603 Forumite
    43 Posts
    Forumite
    edited 23 November 2018 at 11:35PM
    Starting with a quick summary to try and explain how DH and I work our finances.

    When I was 22, I had just finished University and was living at home with my parents. I had been in full time employment bringing home approx £900 a month for about 8 months when my dad announced one evening that he had been having an affair and was leaving. This changed the course of my financial future. My mum was retired due to ill health and contributed very little financially to the household. My father had been the "bread winner" and so his departure was the start of a very difficult time for my mum, for my brother (who living in rented accommodation moved home to help pay the mortgage and bills) and for myself. (I read a lot of diaries here which refer to divorce and OP's talking about being amenable to their exes financially so as not to rock the boat, but having seen the impact on my family I have very strong feelings on this.) Anyway... A lot of water under the bridge later and my attitude towards money is that I will always be financially independent and able to support myself. If my husband left tomorrow I could survive financially without his support.

    Therefore, DH and I have our separate current accounts - he gets his wages paid into his, I get my wages paid into mine. We then have a joint account to which we send the same amount of money each month. This covers our mortgage, household bills, food and any misc household expenses. What we do with our remaining money is up to us! I don't have to answer to him if I spend my money on shoes, or more likely going out for coffee with friends, and he doesn't have to ask my permission to spend money on tech that doesn't interest me.
    We did have a joint savings account for our wedding and house fund which has now been depleted due to building work we had done but once I return from mat leave we will start to rebuild this.
    Otherwise we have separate savings accounts and I honestly couldn't tell you how much in saving my DH has. Most married couples would probably be horrified at this but it works for us.
    Any large expenditure, such as recent baby purchases like our "travel system" (yes we are THOSE first time parents) and cot beds we split 50/50, and the same goes for holidays.
    I may do an SOA as it is general household expenses I want to become more MS about but thought it best to explain our arrangement first as we do not lump everything in together and it might seem strange looking in from outside.
  • pidge04pidge04 Forumite
    779 Posts
    500 Posts Third Anniversary
    Forumite
    Good for you being proactive about your financial management.
    You have done it before and you will do it again.
    Good luck with it!
    CC £4,012 left to pay (was £5400).
  • Fla603Fla603 Forumite
    43 Posts
    Forumite
    Thank you pidge04!

    It’s been a few days and I haven’t yet managed to compile my SOA. After a busy weekend DH had A/L today as we had planned a day out to another city. Months ago I purchased 2 x afternoon tea with gin cocktails on groupon and it was expiring soon so we used it up. The groupon price was £25 but I had a code for 50% off so got it for £12.50 total. This was a bargain compared to what we usually spend on lunch on days out (and we don’t usually have alcohol) so it was a great saving and we really liked the restaurant as we’d never been before.

    Otherwise I purchased my remaining 2 Christmas gifts. I was buying some “smellies” for a male relative and was interested in a gift set with 2 items in it for £12. I then went to the individual toiletries and managed to get the same 2 items plus 2 more as they were on offer for near enough the same amount. Crazy to think how much we are paying for pretty packaging at Christmas and I know my relly won’t care either way!
    I had originally planned to buy a gift voucher for another couple that I know. I planned to spend £40. I then remembered that in January past I bought a ladies gift set 50% off in the sales for £8. Today I bought a mans jumper for £15 making the total spend for this couple £23 and a saving of £17.
    In my family & friends we have most of our birthdays in July so I save every month in a separate account for Birthdays/Christmas/misc gifts such as baby gifts. This means there is never one month where I have a big outlay on gifts from my wages and if I see any gift bargains/ideas throughout the year I have the funds available to snap them up. It had been particularly helpful this year as I’ve been on maternity leave so Christmas has been budgeted and paid for in advance.
  • Fla603Fla603 Forumite
    43 Posts
    Forumite
    *I should mention that in my family we have a set budget we spend per person, so although the toiletries cost the same amount it wasn’t really a cost saving exercise - just better value for the amount being spent.
  • pidge04pidge04 Forumite
    779 Posts
    500 Posts Third Anniversary
    Forumite
    Very savvy on the Christmas shopping front! Well done. Very satisfying!
    CC £4,012 left to pay (was £5400).
  • Fla603Fla603 Forumite
    43 Posts
    Forumite
    In money saving news DH and I have managed to secure a new mortgage deal.
    5 yrs ago we took a 25 yr mortgage with Ulsterbank on a 5 yr fix. Our monthly payment was £464.
    We are now re-mortgaging with HSBC and have taken another 5 yr fix. Initially we looked at keeping with 20 yrs remaining and reducing our monthly payment but after juggling the figures we have settled for an 18 year term with a monthly payment of £400. Therefore saving us £60 a month (£720 a year) and saving us 2 years worth of payments. Had we stuck with UBank this would equate to an additional 24 months payments @ £464 = £11,136.
    Really happy with the monthly saving due to our increased costs now that we have a child and also that if we continue as we currently are we will be MF when DS is 18 years old. I should also note that we have considerable equity in our property due which meant we got a good rate with HSBC.
  • MndMnd Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Hi, enjoyed your new diary so far. Your financial arrangements could not be further away from us, all our cash is merged, but if that's what works for you, well done.

    Good luck and I will continue to read with interest
    No.79 save £12k in 2020. Total end May £11610
    Annual target £24000
  • BabyStepperBabyStepper Forumite
    771 Posts
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Hi Fla603

    Love your new diary, it makes very interesting reading, thanks. I'm interested in how you manage your finances with OH, combined to pay the bills but separate in every other way. It's making me think about how everything needs to be completely merged if you are dealing with a debt emergency but without any debt it sounds fine to have this independence. Just wondering if you know each others' wage? And how you would feel if you found out he was bringing in significantly more than you thought but hadn't let on? Think I may aspire to have more independence when the debt is gone, thanks for the inspiration.
    Emergency fund £8,500/£8,500
    Mortgage overpayment £260
    Debtfree!
    £21,228.07 paid off in 22 months
  • Fla603Fla603 Forumite
    43 Posts
    Forumite
    Hi Babystepper, thanks for stopping by!
    DH and I both earn very similar amounts, although any freelance work he does is not counted in this. My husband has some expenses for his freelance work and then any remaining profit he saves and has used towards our recent building work. DH doesn’t really have the same money “issues” that I have and will gladly spend it on our family. He previously offered to pay for our honeymoon but I prefer to pay my own way when I can. Now that I am on smp he is contributing a larger amount to our joint expenses. I guess we work on our contribution being a portion of our wage.
    We do actually have debt in the form of two personal loans, one in my name, one in DH. They are for almost the same amount and repaid over the same term so we pay these separately from our personal accounts. It sounds a bit confusing but DH’s loan was for our garage build, which DH really wanted and therefore was happy to spend the money. my loan was for a new car and again it was an amount that I felt was manageable on my wage and money spent on something I wanted/needed. If I hadn’t been comfortable with that amount I would’ve reduced it and compromised on a suitable car. While it is a loan on a fixed term and doesn’t have the same anxiety attached as a credit card, it is debt and we want to get it repaid as quickly as possible!
    Hope all this makes sense? Contrary to how it sounds we are in a very lovely marriage :) and I don’t envisage getting a divorce anytime soon!! BUT I just like my independence and to be an equal in our finances.
  • BabyStepperBabyStepper Forumite
    771 Posts
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    I think your financial arrangement with your OH sounds great, committed together but also independent. I was listening to a caller on Dave Ramsey's show the other day who wanted to buy his wife a lovely surprise for Christmas. He was asking for advice about how to keep the cost a secret given their finances are completely joined and they are fighting debt together. Dave basically said it is not possible to keep such a secret from your partner EVER, with or without debt, and that both partners would need to know where every penny was going. It made me so sad! :( I've been puzzling about it ever since, and your arrangement seems to be a perfect solution. Thanks for that! Me and OH are not there yet, but hopefully we will be one day soon.
    Emergency fund £8,500/£8,500
    Mortgage overpayment £260
    Debtfree!
    £21,228.07 paid off in 22 months
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Boost your Nectar points

Get up to £25 in bonus points

MSE News

Ask an Expert: Scams

Watch MSE Katie's answers to your questions

MSE Forum

Hot Diamonds 40% off code

Including already-reduced outlet stock

MSE Deals