I want to become money smart!

in MoneySaving Mums
8 replies 674 views
amybeexamybeex Forumite
1 Post
Newbie
So I'm going to cut straight to the point. I have never been smart with money. As soon as I get some I spend it. Most of my household bills are upto date, but I couldn't tell you off top of my head what I pay or what I owe for the few things I do owe money for. I am 30 years old, with 3 children (11 year old, 19 month old and 9 week old). I live my my children and my partner of 10 years. Both of us are bad with money. With the worry of the rise of the cost of living. I really want to get money smart. I just don't know where to start. The site has so much information it is very overwhelming. I don't know how much money we get, I don't know what we pay out exactly, I don't know what we are entitled and i dont know what we owe and to where we owe it. So my question is where do I start?

Replies

  • ItsalwayssunnysomewhereItsalwayssunnysomewhere Forumite
    5 Posts
    Second Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    Start by looking at all of your bank statements from all bank accounts you both have. You'll see what income and outgoings there are. Most statements give a total amount of 'money in' and 'money out' for that month.
    Notice any cash you withdraw and ask yourself what you use it for - essentials (bus fare) or luxuries (expensive coffees). Consider taking out less next time and force yourself to live off that for the same time period as before.
    If you are collectively spending more than what's coming in, you need to reduce your spending -instantly. Ie. Less takeaways, nights out, clothes, shoes, expensive coffee's and sandwiches etc. 
    That's the simple start you need to be doing. But there are lots of other things which this website helps with. Make a list of outgoings you want to save on. Just look at one thing at a time then you won't be overwhelmed. Eg mortgage/rent, loans, mobile phone bill, Sky, Car and house insurance etc . Prioritise the thing on the list which is the most important to you then work down the list from that.

  • pollypennypollypenny Forumite
    29.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Forumite
    Make sure you sit down regularly and go through your budget for the month. Try to put your direct debits to be paid on the same day, either the first of the month or your pay day. 

    sit down together and focus. Try to put something into a savings account, to build up a safety net. 
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
    44.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    See if there is a CAP Money course in your area. It can be a struggle to go it alone, but this will give you some help.

    https://www.capmoney.org/

    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • SootySweep1SootySweep1 Forumite
    184 Posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Hi
    Do the sums so you know how much you have coming in and what your monthly outgoings are so you at least know if you're covering your outgoings and if not by how much. I think one of the other boards has an expenditure breakdown to help you review outgoings.

    Are you working ? If not check if you are receiving all the benefits you're entitled to. One of the other boards will be able to help you with this.

    I've found that I always get a better car/home insurance renewal quote if I do it a few weeks in advance rather than leaving to the last minute.

    Focus on one bit at a time otherwise it becomes totally overwhelming.

    Good Luck

    Jen
  • edited 28 March at 12:29PM
    Mimi_Arc_en_cielMimi_Arc_en_ciel Forumite
    4.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 28 March at 12:29PM
    amybeex said:
    So I'm going to cut straight to the point. I have never been smart with money. As soon as I get some I spend it. Most of my household bills are upto date, but I couldn't tell you off top of my head what I pay or what I owe for the few things I do owe money for. I am 30 years old, with 3 children (11 year old, 19 month old and 9 week old). I live my my children and my partner of 10 years. Both of us are bad with money. With the worry of the rise of the cost of living. I really want to get money smart. I just don't know where to start. The site has so much information it is very overwhelming. I don't know how much money we get, I don't know what we pay out exactly, I don't know what we are entitled and i dont know what we owe and to where we owe it. So my question is where do I start?
    If you go on the Debt Free Wannabe board there is a "Statement of Affairs" that you can complete. This breaks down all your income and outgoings. If you post it on the DFW board, they can suggest ways you can save money. 

    For every day life, I use a excel form. Happy to send you a blank one. I fill this in with what i spend daily and track where my money goes. I can then see where I am over spending (eating out!) and set a target for the following month. 
    Debts
    Tesco Loan 2.9595% £8,077.80 £1,546.69
    Bank of Ireland Loan 5.9% - £7,091.64 £6,697.66
    Santander Balance Transfer 0% - £9,400 £8,569.57
    Total Debt: £24,569.44 Total Repaid: £7,755.52 Left to pay: £16,813.92
    Debt Free prediction: November 2025 February 2025
  • NaomimNaomim Forumite
    3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Agree with the above post, but you also need to sit down with your bank statements to do this accurately.  This will tell you any salaries/benefits coming in and what's going out. Once you know your income use the https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/ benefits calculator to see if there is anything you can claim but aren't.  Then you can start to work out a proper budget.

    You can also access free credit reference agencies to see what you owe on credit cards, if you are in any defaults etc.

    Things to consider in a budget

    Priorities:
    Rent/mortgage
    Council Tax
    Utlities - water/gas/elec

    Important stuff:
    Groceries
    Insurance - car/home
    Credit Cards

    Other stuff:
    TV subscriptions
    mobile phones

    Wants not Needs
    gym memberships
    eating out/coffees
    kids clubs

    You might find there's quite a few surprises in your bank statements. Groceries and eating out often catch people unawares and they under budget for these.  However these are also ones that are easier to tackle with a bit of thought.  Meal planning is definitely a good way to get the groceries in line.  Write down the meals you like to start with and then plan accordingly.

    If you have any credit card debt, then try and get hold of your current statements, see if you are paying interest and what the interest rates are. Are you paying the minimums or maybe not enough and incurring extra charges? If you are paying the minimums, then try and pay each one a little over. 

    Come over to the debt free wannabe boards, there's loads of people there who are more than willing to help.  A diary on the boards can also help with keeping you focussed.

    Good luck

    Naomim


    Credit Cards
    NOV 2019 £33,220.42
    Dec 2021 £24,651.53

    Tilly Tidy 2022 Total £23.73
    Here's my diary: A Ditherer's Diary Again
  • tealadytealady Forumite
    3.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Mortgage-free Glee! Debt-free and Proud!
    Forumite
    Hi
    In a past life I used to deal with self employed people.
    One thing I learned was that a job was easier when broken down into small steps (the "how do you eat an elephant")
    I would suggest you set aside an hour a week (same day, same time), to go through everything you owe, what is due, what have paid out and  have coming in
    That way there should be few nasty surprises and you will have a good idea of where you stand.
    HTH
    Find out who you are and do that on purpose (thanks to Owain Wyn Jones quoting Dolly Parton)
  • SuperScrimper1SuperScrimper1 Forumite
    13 Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    Hi...you say you are both bad with money management and that you do not know what to do or where to start. Bless you you have made the first start in saying that and accepting you need to learn and change. If you both find this overwhelming I would look for reliable help with this like this site or  Citizens advice .....and your bank ...they can provide you with a list of all your outgoings like Direct debits...this should help you start with a budget and this should really help . Take a good look at your statements really see what you are spending money on especially the frivolities because when you are tapping a card you have no clue as to what you are spending. I use my Bank App which shows everyday where I am spending Money and how much I have if you have an App like this check it every day it reminds you of what are spending MONEY and what you have spent it on. You can get help from this site.. as I think piggy banking eventually could really help you get to grip with what you really need to pay out for and putting money 'By' for it  eg Birthdays Christmas. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/budget-planning/ is basically everything you need to start and get to grips with this and your budgeting it gives you are budget sheet . Martin says you need a whole day to fully get to grips with this . And as you have children and their ages I would suggest for you and your Partner to fully absorb what you need to, you will probably need to either take a day off and  arrange for someone to be around to help with the children as I think just one of you knowing would lead to inconsistency and failure . Once you get to grips with what you have going out you can then look at those outgoings and start to look at ways to reduce them eg: Home, car, phone, pet insurance can all be compared on a comparison site and hopefully reduced. You can then look at packages like phone, TV and broad band and sometimes a call to your supplier saying you are thinking of moving to a better deal will see them reduce further to keep you as a customer. Martin's suggestions of needs and wants is very true ...Where you shop and how you shop are Important too...Cut Big Brands to supermarket own brands where you can...shop around and google for Online discount codes...getting your priorities right is the most important Human tool in being Happy and financially Savvy and smart with money So knowing what is truly important 'must haves' and if not affordable cutting frivolities such as expensive take-away will help ...Always have something in the freezer and replace it as soon as you have used it that can be a 'I just can't cook I'm knackered meal' such as pizza's ...pasta's etc as I can imagine with an 11yr...19mth and 9 week year old this will be much needed. Then look at what you have coming in that is Earnings ...Child benefits...any other Benefits etc. What is the difference a Plus = start to save eg Future expenses holiday etc. A minus= look for ways to make up that shortfall ..sell un-wanteds...extra work...Buy clothes and items such as Christmas presents out of season ...Write a plan before you start eg Step one Go to Bank get my statements and my direct debits list etc...as with your childcare commitments it will enable you to not forget and keep on track to gathering what you need to start properly. Keep off of social media with its algorithms designed by psychologists to send adverts to entice spending and time on it and 'Influencers' to get you to spend and want an unsustainable life style....get debt advice from Citizens advice. Most importantly look for things to do as a family that are free and low cost..Look at things offered by your council in your area as this is also a part of being Smart with money and being happy :)
    Really Good luck with your financial planning and budgeting I wish you and your family well . Since I became a smart shopper and did all of the above I am a much happier person..
Sign In or Register to comment.
Latest News and Guides