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I finally realised money management is a skill that can be learned

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I finally realised money management is a skill that can be learned

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I've never been materialistic regarding brands and so on, but like many people, I often frittered away my hard earned cash on lunches, snacks and so on. I'd save, but often had to dip into it to clear overdrafts as I never planned ahead for specific annual costs like Christmas, school uniforms and birthdays. I barely muddled through and at points heavily used credit cards for emergencies such as needing to repair or replace appliances - these are now thankfully now all paid off.
Since the coronavirus lockdown, I've had to make many changes and am learning to stick within a budget. Here's what I've saved so far this year:

1. Building and contents insurance: Was with Santander for years, and was worried about being underinsured so I stuck with their unlimited policy, for which I was paying almost £68 per month. They offered £799 per year and actually said I could probably get cheaper elsewhere. So I did my research and left them for e-sure, paying £190 for the entire year. I was gobsmacked and annoyed at how much I'd been paying out, so the money saving ball got rolling. I've started putting aside around £20 per month for next year's cover.

2. Gas bill: I switched from British Gas (£68 per month) to SSE for £45 per month.

3. Electricity: Stayed with E.ON, reducing the cost from £60 to £40 per month. I switched years ago and it went wrong, which put me off looking for deals for many years, but I finally realised it doesn't have to be that way and will be on the lookout for better energy costs in a year or so.

These alone will save me £1085 this year! Will be switching broadband when the contract runs out and cancelling my TV package for Freeview. Unfortunately I'm tied into a 2 year mobile phone contract until next year, when I plan to change to a SIM-only deal. I've switched bank accounts to one that has the Save the Change feature, 

My goal is to not even go into overdraft by being more mindful of my spending, and saving ahead for those essentials, while building my emergency fund and savings. I feel far less stressed and anxious about what's in the post!

Replies

  • captainlongtoescaptainlongtoes Forumite
    16 posts
    10 Posts
    Thought I'd also add my savings and (so far) meagre investments:
    • I have a fixed rate cash ISA, £14k (1.15%), which I can't pay into until next year. I started saving into that about 1.5 years ago
    • Regular Saver account, £2k (3%) which matures later this year. The funds will go towards my emergency fund (only £400 so far) and I'm thinking of using the £250 per month to increase my contribution to my stocks and shares ISA, I currently pay £300 per month into that, it's worth just under £2k at the moment.
    • Just started another regular saver (2.5%) and will be paying £400 per month (which used to go into my Cash ISA) into that. 
    • I have smaller accounts for saving towards Christmas, birthdays, home insurance, etc, standing orders go into these on pay day.
    I transferred my S&S ISA last year after meeting with a financial adviser and plan to speak to him about pensions.  I have an old final salary pension from a job I was in for 10+ years and a couple of others, so I'm not sure if I should combine them into the current one I have with my employer. I have some research to do! 

    I also want to look into earning more, maybe a small business or online surveys, but I haven't a clue just what yet as I also have childcare to consider. I also signed up for the free trial of You Need A Budget, but haven't quite got to grips with it yet.
  • savingwannabesavingwannabe Forumite
    14.9K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10,000 Posts
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    Hello Captainlongtoes, welcome to the thread!!! I think everyone is friendly we all cheer each other up. I think you have made fantastic savings on utilities. Well done you. Your savings look great. I don't do many online surveys but now my summer employer has closed I will have to do some over the summer as I don't know if I want to risk going out to work. I think your savings are fantastic - keep up the good work. 

    You might want to keep a spending diary. I was until last month having No Spend Days. Another thing is to consider changing your current accounts as the banks do give cash away but this may mess up your credit record for loans (I think). Dave Ramsay is a very inspirational person if you have time to watch youtube. 
    Trying to be frugal 18/31Jan; 15/29 Feb 26/31 March 23/30 April 18/31 May 20/300 Jun NSDs.
    Saving change in money box.
  • captainlongtoescaptainlongtoes Forumite
    16 posts
    10 Posts
    Thank you for the very warm welcome! 
    A spending diary and no spend days are such good ideas! I use the Yolt app to keep an eye on my balances, but looking at my spending separately from my expenses will really help me rein it in  :)

    I upgraded my Santander Everyday Account which I used to allocate spending money to, to the 123 Lite, so I've transferred my main direct debits to those for the monthly cashback while keeping my main account which my salary goes into separate. My credit rating has taken a slight hit with getting a cashback credit card and switching my main account (most cash incentives are suspended at the moment, but Lloyds had a competitive regular saver account and debit card cashback scheme) but I'm not planning on any loans for the forseeable future so I'm not too fussed.

    I've heard of Dave Ramsey but never watched him on YouTube, will have a look later on, thanks again!
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