Budget Advice

suziebear1985
suziebear1985 Posts: 73
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edited 7 November 2022 at 5:05PM in Old style MoneySaving
Hi, I'm looking for some advice in regards to my budget and I'm hoping someone can help. I am doing ok financially at the moment but I feel quite worried in relation to rising costs (as everyone is) so I'm looking to make changes where I can.

I do a budget on an Excel spreadsheet once a month and try to be fairly careful with expenditure. I've had a look at my finances but I'm struggling to see where I can make many changes so I'm hoping for some words of wisdom. I'll list my costs below (plus any changes I've identified) and I'd be really greatful to receive any feedback or hints/tips anyone has. I'm open to switching services but I appear to be a bit limited as most services I have are in the fixed term period.

Monthly Costs
Mortgage - £586.47 (Santander 5 Year Fixed until 09/26, 2.95%)

Council Tax - £188 (Currently paying over 10 months which I didn't realise but I will request this is changed to over 12 months for the new Council Tax period)

Gas & Electric - £100 Fixed with EDF until 2024. Currently in credit and have not had heating on for 10 months. I also have a Nest thermostat installed to help me keep an eye on this.

Water - £30 on a meter.

Home & Contents Insurance - £8.97 with Urban Jungle on a monthly rolling contract.

Tv License - £13.25 (I'm happy to get rid of this as we very rarely watch TV but the other half is clinging on to it for the football?).

Broadband- £23.50 Vodafone Fixed until 09/23

Mobile Phone - £36 Three Fixed until 07/24

Car Finance - £153 (Will be paid off fully in February and I will then own the car)

Car Tax - £11.37

Netflix - £10.99 (I've seen they are now offering a cheaper version with ads?)

Amazon Music - £9.99 (Happy to switch to a free service that can be used with Alexa but unsure what is best?).

Prescription - £9.35 (Long term but doesn't seem to be worth getting a pre paid certificate?)

Children's Savings Accounts - £40

Food - £70 per week at Aldi, was £50 2 years ago for roughly the same items. Really struggling to get this any lower but would welcome cheap recipe ideas or tips).

Petrol - £120 -Try to walk where I can I.e to the local shops.

Cleaner - £50 for a 2 hour clean once every 2 weeks (This is obviously a luxury which I can stop. I feel like this is an obvious choice but I also have a lot of empathy for the cleaner who will also be struggling financially at this time so I feel torn?).

Monthly Spending - £200 (This includes clothes, entertainment, toiletries, anything the children need etc)

Family Member - £100 (Paying back £8000 that was lent to me in regards to the purchase of my house (Already reduced from £200 some time ago).

Credit Card - £200 (Outstanding balance £2000, paying no interest for 18 months as balance transfer).

Current total outgoings £2190.84

Thanks



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Comments

  • CJRyder
    CJRyder Posts: 238
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    I would ditch the TV Licence. What TV service do you use if the OH is clinging to it for football?

    With regards to the music, Alexa plays many, many radio stations - both internet and traditional. Our local station is always having ads saying to use the Alexa skill...

    What are your habits with regards to the feeding and entertainment of kids? Do you batch cook? Use the oven or more energy efficient methods? Do you eat out?
    Mortgage free by 33 - (21/07/22 - 32 years and a bit...)

    Most DIY problems can be solved by a combination of spanner, pliers, screwdriver, Allan key and a blade. (Hold it, twist it, cut it!) Very occasionally industrial language, a hammer and an adhesive may need to be added to the mix. (Curse it, hit it, patch it!)
  • CJRyder said:
    I would ditch the TV Licence. What TV service do you use if the OH is clinging to it for football?

    With regards to the music, Alexa plays many, many radio stations - both internet and traditional. Our local station is always having ads saying to use the Alexa skill...

    What are your habits with regards to the feeding and entertainment of kids? Do you batch cook? Use the oven or more energy efficient methods? Do you eat out?
    We only have basic TV so he is clinging to it really just for Match of the Day on the BBC and the odd match that gets shown on the mainstream channels. Most matches are on Sky or a paid for service anyway and myself and the children only ever watch Netflix and not live TV. In regards to feeding etc I look for yellow sticker items and stick them in the freezer and I make meals that can bulked out with lentils or veg like curry, chilli, Spaghetti bol etc. There are 4 of us and I do meal plan and stick to a list. Everything I buy gets eaten although there has been a bit of fruit wastage recently. I usually use the oven but I'm keeping my eye open for a decent priced air fryer as I know they are cheaper to run. We do eat out but limit this once or twice a month. Once out for breakfast just me and other half and then sometimes all of us out for tea somewhere like a carvery. In relation to entertainment we walk a lot and explore the local parks and sometimes go to the cinema on cheaper days as the cinema near us has £3.50 tickets on Tuesday and Wednesday. I do get a starbucks coffee once a week which I could stop.
  • MovingForwards
    MovingForwards Posts: 16,805
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    If you're paying for insurance etc monthly, see if it's cheaper to pay annually.

    Depending on what your prescription is for, ask the Dr to do 3 or 6 months supply and say you're struggling to pay each month; I've done that before.

    Are you getting loyalty points for the petrol? I save mine up to cover some of the December shopping. 

    You've not mentioned saving for vehicle repairs / maintenance and need to put something aside.

    No mention of car insurance either, again pay for it annually and start saving for it.

    Monthly spending, as an adult you shouldn't need to buy clothes very often, obviously kids are growing. As for toiletries, can you swap brands?

    Nothing for eye tests, dental, hair cuts etc.

    Reduce the kids savings for a bit.

    Little point stretching your finances for the cleaner if you're having to cut back in other areas.

    If you eat meat, bulk it out with lentils, veg etc to make it go further. Cut back on sweet treats, cakes etc and have it as a once a week treat.

    Can either of you increase your hours or take on a second job, Xmas ones are popping up and it's a temporary boost for a few months.

    Have you done a benefit check recently?
    Mortgage started 2020, aiming to clear it in 2026.
  • MovingForwards
    MovingForwards Posts: 16,805
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    In addition to the above, grab 3 - 6 months bank / credit card statements and carefully fill this in. If you want us to have another look at your full budget, format it for MSE before posting:

    https://www.lemonfool.co.uk/financecalculators/soa.php
    Mortgage started 2020, aiming to clear it in 2026.
  • bupster
    bupster Posts: 259
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    Break down the monthly spending. With a £200 pot you're going to spend up to the £200. As it doesn't include food there's a lot of scope here. If you're broke, you're also going to need to give up the cleaner - I know it's tough on her but if you were genuinely financially comfortable enough to support an extra person in your house you probably wouldn't be on here! 
    Grocery challenge September 2022: £230.04/£200
    Grocery challenge October 2022: 0/£200

    2012 numbers:
    Grocery challenge - April £65.28/£80
    Entertainment - £79

    Grocery challenge March £106.55/£100
    Grocery challenge February £90.11/£100
    Grocery challenge January £84.65/£300
  • -taff
    -taff Posts: 14,335
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    Maybe you could try half the amount of cleaning for your cleaner? Check out the prices of annual payments instead of mnthly, they do hike i up a bit sometimes. For the tv licence, everything bar the bbc has catch up and there are sites on the web that stream football...I don't watch football and I don't have a licence but I do watch have netflix and basic with adverts is 4.99, basic is 6.99. You only really need that package you have if you're using multiple devices. The £200 month spends needs to be looked at, make a list of what you've used it for the last six months to get some idea.
    I would talk to your kids about christmas this year and buy one present or do the IOU thing with each person doing something for someone else, get them involved in making presents for people, not buying them. Ditch the kids savings until you can comfortably afford them. Buying a PPC wil save you 4 pounds a year, and it may be worth it if you factor in unpredicatable prescription issues. How often do you listent o amazon music? With your vodafone, can you get free spotify?
    Shampoo? No thanks, I'll have real poo...
  • Bluegreen143
    Bluegreen143 Posts: 3,040
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    You haven’t shared your income. If you earn £4,000 a month I wouldn’t bother making any changes but if you earn £2,000 you really need to, if you see what I mean so it is relevant.

    Assuming as you have credit card debt you’re about breaking even though rather than having a large surplus - if you do have a surplus each month I’d aim to get this paid as quickly as possible. 

    None of your costs seem outrageous if you can afford it (my barometer for affording your lifestyle is that you can save at least 20% of your income, including what goes into your pension, and you don’t go into debt for purchases - ideally you spend up to 50% on needs and up to 30% on wants). But there are a couple of areas you may be able to save on: 

    - cleaner is a luxury as you note 
    - £200 general spending for fun, clothes and children’s costs seems reasonable but could be reduced in the short term 
    - making sure you channel any extra bonus money into paying off your debts as quickly as you can will free up more money in your monthly budget once they are gone 
    - children’s savings could be frozen for now 
    - your grocery and energy spends already seem low to me tbh but maybe eating more veggie meals and batch cooking will help. Less snacks for the kids, stick to toast and fruit, not things in packets (if you buy these) 
    Part time working mum | Married in 2014 | DS born 2015 & DD born 2018 | Allegedly attempting to be mortgage free - diary here
  • bouicca21
    bouicca21 Posts: 6,489
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    edited 8 November 2022 at 8:10AM
    Am I  out of date? I thought you needed a tv licence even if only watching Netflix?

    I sympathise about the cleaner (though £50 is pretty good going) - it’s the obvious cut for me too, but it makes my life so much easier.  I have opted instead to try to cut down my food bill in ways that don’t impact the quality (as in tasty as well as nutrition) of my diet.  The meal planning thread has been great, not only because it has helped me impose some discipline on my shopping, but because there are so many great ideas.  I’m also picked loads of ideas from the Favourite vegan recipes you didn’t even know were vegan thread.

    Mobile  phone - how much use does it get?  I saved loads by buying a refurbished iPhone and signing up to Giffgaff.
  • Bluegreen143
    Bluegreen143 Posts: 3,040
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    @bouicca21 you don’t need a TV license for Netflix, Amazon prime, catch up TV etc - only if you watch live TV as it is broadcast or if you use iPlayer.
    Part time working mum | Married in 2014 | DS born 2015 & DD born 2018 | Allegedly attempting to be mortgage free - diary here
  • Toonie
    Toonie Posts: 1,146
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    A quick save with regards Netflix - I have the basic plan (no ads) which is £6.99 so you could reduce the costs a bit without having to put up with adverts.
    Grocery budget in 2023 £2279.18/£2700

    Grocery budget in 2022 £2304.76/£2400
    Grocery budget in 2021 £2107.86/£2200
    Grocery budget in 2020 £2193.02/£2160

    Saving for Christmas 2023 #15 £ 90/ £365
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