Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 22nd Dec 17, 11:28 AM
    • 2,680Posts
    • 4,368Thanks
    Making savings before it's too late
    • #1
    • 22nd Dec 17, 11:28 AM
    Making savings before it's too late 22nd Dec 17 at 11:28 AM
    I decided to do a full audit of all our expenditure over the last 12 months. This was prompted by the realisation that, although we're still in the black, our savings are much reduced compared to this time last year. I really wanted to know the answer to the age-old question - where does it all go??

    As a result of a lot of number crunching and general faffing on, the end result is a list of things that we need to do next year to ensure that our savings don't disappear completely and we end up in the red. I thought I would share it on here. And if anyone has any better ideas...

    - stop having hair dyed. I started to go grey at 19. Now that I'm 57 I've decided to embrace the grey. This will save about £400 a year.
    - reduce gas and electric usage. We'd got a bit lazy and had it on 24/7 - now it's off from 10pm until 5am (we're up at 6). And the gas fire doesn't go on until the evening.
    - check that we're with the best supplier. We weren't!! Looks like there are substantial savings to be had.
    - I was already an Aldi convert, but tended to go to our nearest supermarket (Sainsbury's Local) for top-up shops. Aldi is only a little further away, so will make the effort.
    - make sure we're using the cheapest fuel locally. We'd got into a habit of always going to the same place, but it turns out it wasn't the cheapest by quite a long way.
    - shop around for the best deals on connectivity - I always feel ripped off by mobile/broadband etc anyway, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if we can get the same deal for less. This is OH's specialist subject, so hoping for significant savings.
    - PayPal. OH seems to have a bit of a PayPal habit. It's hard to say what exactly we've been buying via PayPal, and I'm sure it was all a bargain, but nevertheless an awful lot of money went that way. Needs to be brought under control.
    - cash. I think I very rarely use cash - most spends, even quite small ones, go on the credit card so that I get the cashback. But still, the amount of cash we withdraw seems a lot. Next year I'll start keeping a record of it.
    - buy less wine!!!
    - keep track of the (monetary) gifts we give to the kids. They're all grown up now, all in reasonably well paid employment, and generally heading in the right direction. We need to learn that they don't need us!!
    - keep a lid on what we spend on holiday, particularly on meals out. The last time we were away, we had every meal out apart from breakfast. Some were just snack-type lunches, but even so - it all mounts up. There's no reason why we can't buy some nice bread, some local cheese and some fruit and make up a picnic.
    - have fewer take-aways. We actually don't have that many, maybe one a month - but it would be cheaper to keep a few Chinese-type starters etc in the freezer. And probably quicker than waiting for a delivery!!
    - keep an eye on best before dates - again, I'm pretty good at this, and I wouldn't chuck something out just because it was after the best before date. But still, things need to be used!
    - use up the alcohol we already have!!
    - tumble dry everything in one load. I do a dark wash and a light wash, which is fair enough - but there's no reason why they can't go into the tumble dryer together (I dry them overnight on the radiator first, so the tumble dryer is just finishing them off).
    - reduce waste - what are we throwing away?
    - cancel the Santander credit card - it was worthwhile when we got the full cashback, but now that it's capped at £3 per category, the max you can get is £9 - and there's a £3 fee to take off. So - we'll use the Asda card for everything (0.5% cashback on everything, or 1% on spends at Asda, and no fee).
    - for things I can't get at Aldi, go to Asda to take advantage of the 1% cashback, and also the cheap fuel.

    That's the list so far. It'll be interesting to see where things stand next year at this time. Fingers crossed.
Page 10
    • Mrs Salad Dodger
    • By Mrs Salad Dodger 4th Jan 18, 1:15 AM
    • 737 Posts
    • 8,467 Thanks
    Mrs Salad Dodger
    Last council tax payment paid today, normally I leave Feb and March payments in the bills account as a buffer but moved it straight to savings, so will have to keep a watchful eye on the telephone / water bill as there is only £50ish more than what goes out now as much as I round up the bill money it's only a couple pounds more than what's needed each month and there is no overdraft on the account.
    Also had a message from the bank as they are stopping my credit card unless I contact them, it's not been used since 2013/14 I think as a balance transfers card at the time it was never actually spent on . This is the only credit link I have attached to my name, I don't own a mobile and I already shut down my cashback credit card when it moved to store shopping vouchers rather than cashback.
    I've never been a big shopper and sleep better saving for larger items then opting for credit but unsure if this may bite me on the bum with the reapplication for the mortgage, I had a bit of a nightmare the first time round due to lack of credit history and our outgoings so low, DH had no issue simply due to the amount of cards and loans he had over the years. Feels like he was rewarded for being crappy with money and I was treated with suspicion.
    It's an odd world we live in.
    Originally posted by tori.k

    “The following is not to be regarded as financial advice”.
    I would keep the card and use it once every month or two (instead of cash) then pay in full. I would also use it once you have saved for any big items so you get the safety net of using a cc should there be any problems. I only have one cc and I use it sparingly and always pay in full.
    I agree that people who are cr...y with money seem to be more favoured than those of us who have been careful. I think it all went wrong when we became ‘a number’ at our banks rather than ‘a person’

    It really is an odd world.

    Mrs SD
    • kittie
    • By kittie 4th Jan 18, 6:40 AM
    • 12,141 Posts
    • 76,198 Thanks
    I agree with the above post 100%. I have only one cc and I pay if off in full every month, used to be paid from a savings account and will, in future, be paid from my other bank current account, the one I use all the time. I link my cc to amazon and paypal and use it, at least in part payment, every time I buy something that might need card protection. My aim is to use it a couple of times a month at least, to make sure it remains an active card

    I have had a few temptations this month, mostly for books but I have resisted and soon forgotten about them. The resistance came easily, now that savings are in focus. My personal, not large, private pension is paid in on the 18th and that is the day when I will pay my tax bill, any time before then is too `risky` because of the pinch point that I can clearly see on m/s money. I am looking forward to the middle of february when I can start to transfer a monthly amount to my `smoothing bills` savings account. For me this is very much going back to the old days, I remember sitting on the bed with a notebook, children playing downstairs, when I strived very hard to end the month in credit by a couple of £. A similar smoothing account was a lifesaver
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 4th Jan 18, 7:43 AM
    • 3,186 Posts
    • 8,086 Thanks
    Thanks everyone, I will give the bank a call and see about keeping it on for the time being.
    I do run most things through a credit card for the points that's paid in full each month but I'm just a card holder it's DH credit card, I'm just a tight old begger there is nothing to be gained from using my own other than the credit availability history.
    Does anyone shop at the A supermarket ? I have a £50 gift card can I just use it like a pre paid card bit by bit or does it have to be used whole in one transaction, we don't use very many branded products so it would take me while to use up.
    Debit to Credit (stage 1) 3652.34 completed 15/10/16
    Debit to Credit (stage 2) 6299.09 completed 25/06/17
    Mortgage Free (stage 3) 140000/ 1500
    Save 12k in 2018 #76 3000/6000
    • pipkin71
    • By pipkin71 4th Jan 18, 8:07 AM
    • 19,360 Posts
    • 87,163 Thanks
    Thanks everyone, I will give the bank a call and see about keeping it on for the time being.
    I do run most things through a credit card for the points that's paid in full each month but I'm just a card holder it's DH credit card, I'm just a tight old begger there is nothing to be gained from using my own other than the credit availability history.
    Does anyone shop at the A supermarket ? I have a £50 gift card can I just use it like a pre paid card bit by bit or does it have to be used whole in one transaction, we don't use very many branded products so it would take me while to use up.
    Originally posted by tori.k
    Last year, I won 12 x £50 Tesco gift cards which are used like a pre paid card, so any balance on each card, remained on there until it was used. I would have thought the same applied to Asda
    There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you - Beatrix Potter
    • MankyVegSoup
    • By MankyVegSoup 4th Jan 18, 9:17 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 154 Thanks
    Love this thread.

    We too have been taking a good look at our finances and are trimming the fat. Mr MVS's contract runs out in Feb (university) and although he has 3 months grace after that, so far no new funding has appeared. So definitely time to tighten the belts.

    So far we have:

    - remortgaged. Just come to the end of a 5 year fix which seemed a good idea at the time but was seriously uncompetitive compared with today's rates. Have taken £100 a month off that payment. Have also remortgaged on the flat we rent out and this will also save £100 + although the tax man will take a big cut.

    - trimmed our Sky package to the minimum. Saving £50 a month - but no cricket this summer :-(

    - cut £20 a week from our grocery budget. And I reckon we can do more without really noticing just by being more savvy and cutting waste.

    We have a decent emergency fund and there is more fat we can trim if we really need to, but it's amazing how wasteful we get when we don't have to watch every penny.
    • kittie
    • By kittie 4th Jan 18, 12:18 PM
    • 12,141 Posts
    • 76,198 Thanks
    tori, I see that you are a named person on you dh`s cc. My huband was the named person on mine until I realiised that if I died then the cc would die with me. I pdq got him a cc in his own name. He was hopeless with passwords and accessing the bank accounts, so his own cc would have seen him through the early days. I was a named person on his and he was a named person on mine. I do remember me ringing the bank re his own cc and then the bill came, which I had been expecting and was not a lot but I imagine some couples would not be so open about money
    • maryb
    • By maryb 4th Jan 18, 8:02 PM
    • 3,737 Posts
    • 45,992 Thanks
    I run Microsoft Money for both of us. So I download all his statements every month and update the accounts. But I've never really got to grips with spreadsheets so he has a whizzy budget sheet which, if it is to be believed shows we won't run out of money before all our pensions kick in. So I forward MS Money summaries to him and he updates his spreadsheet. So although he leaves the day to day maintenance to me, he also know what we have and where
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
    • Hev
    • By Hev 4th Jan 18, 9:49 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 413 Thanks
    Popped into the library today, mainly to get out of the cold but we both very quickly found some great books so no more buying books (unless a bargain from charity shops). We must use the library here more, it's smaller than our last one but feels friendlier, it has a lovely atmosphere and a lot of groups run from there, just discovered a knitting group so might venture back for that, I'm not a very good knitter and hopeless at picking up stitches and stitching the item together but would love some help with putting baby cardigans and dolly clothes together. I've picked up the Crochet step by step book as well. Time to use my spare time to learn new skills. I can do a granny square but that's it

    I'm telling myself it's never to late to learn and change

    We've just this morning, had the talk regarding both being informed and prepared just in case something happens to one of us so must get moving on that. Technology and me don't always hit it off but today I took on learning to use the handset at Mr T's for the shopping and it was not too difficult to grasp even for me it's an excellent way to keep track as it adds up as you go and if you are spending too much you can cancel an item and pop it back. I regard this now as an excellent tool for saving money. Never too late to learn
    Some people are so poor all they have is money
    Jan 2018 GC £165.74/£200 = £34.26 left
    Feb 2018 GC £54/£200 = £146 left
    • kittie
    • By kittie 5th Jan 18, 8:06 AM
    • 12,141 Posts
    • 76,198 Thanks
    First week of the year is almost over and I have not spent a penny, not counting direct debits for standard bills. I have been nice and busy so entertainment has not been a problem, stash busting mostly ie knitting and some baking. I may well knit some nice small hanging bags with leftover yarn, then I will put them away and forget about them until next christmas. when I will put goodies in them for presents. Things like hm socks from stash yarns.

    I had a £25 prize from premium bonds, it all helps the savings
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 5th Jan 18, 10:30 AM
    • 3,186 Posts
    • 8,086 Thanks
    I'm £26.88 for the year, needed some fruit and fresh bits and fuel.
    Made use of the wind and got the washing dried on the line, we do need to cut down of the electric a bit to bring us back in line with the DD or will be getting a hike, I changed company each year for years now a get sick of the length of time it takes to get the credit back.
    Like you did Kittie, all our accounts are joint, income just goes into one pot, regardless who it's from, funeral costs are already sorted, historically DH has been a spender but the older we get the less that's become as he pretty much has all the gadgets he wants, and can't even justify to himself to add to it when we are in the process of downsizing. He entertaining himself with our youngest rolling project of restoring a classic mini, so that keeps him occupied at no cost to me
    We will have a lot of cost making the new house more sustainable for us longer term but that also should keep him busy as we will try and do as much as we can ourselves to keep the cost down.
    • Katieowl
    • By Katieowl 5th Jan 18, 11:01 AM
    • 137 Posts
    • 1,717 Thanks
    I spent £30 yesterday, had to take DD to the hospital in 'big town' an hour away, so hit the cash and carry's while she was there for apt, needed a couple of things for work, but churlish not to look at reduced stuff Wow... haven't had a haul like that for a long time, 500g pastrami for 50p, kilo of mozerella for £1 Got some steaks reduced to £2.99 a pack, picked up three, but noticed the multi buy discount came up still, so nipped back for a forth, which took another four quid off Got loads of veg and apples too, including 20k sacks of spuds and onions for about £6 total, so won't need to do a shop for us this weekend. Also spotted they sell alpro almond milk much cheaper than the that may be a way to inch the pennies down, as it's dear if its not on offer in Mr T

    The shops seemed to be very full of stuff they hadn't sold over Xmas, Wilco was packed with 50% off christmas, it looked like they'd sold next to nothing, although the cashier did say they had had an awful lot in...maybe everyone is catching on to Chrismas Excess being too much?

    Only thing I bought in Wilco was a radiator rack to hang on front of rayburn, it does fit and I am doing great with not using the tumble drier!
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 5th Jan 18, 3:34 PM
    • 2,680 Posts
    • 4,368 Thanks
    Not so lucky over here -
    - OHs car broke down first day back at work, just forked out £500+ to fix it.
    - And today the Gas service was due - two faults = two excess charges = £120. Ouch.

    On a more positive note, my 'normal' weekly shopping only cost £30 as we've still got so much left from Christmas...
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 6th Jan 18, 9:34 AM
    • 20,160 Posts
    • 33,383 Thanks
    Never spent a penny yesterday, Thursday was a different matter. Me and kids (17 and 14) travelled to London to watch The Nutcracker. It was part of youngest's Christmas treat.

    Tickets were cheap for ballet (they were cheap for London theatre) that was mainly because it was all that was left when I went to book.

    Travelled on family and friends railcard. Gutted when I realised that after this one expires I can only ever buy one more and then it's the end of discounted fares for me.

    Went and had breakfast at a Premier Inn. DD was free as under 16. DH had given me a rewards voucher with £10 off. Buffet breakfast inc drinks for 3 was £8

    Then DS announced he needed deodorant as he'd forgotten to use any before leaving. The train was leaving before the shops opened, but we managed to find a market stall open and buy one (lynx at £3!). DS gave himself a squirt under each arm, but when on the train I said he'd have to take the can with him because my bag would be checked at the theatre and I've had an aerosol doedarant taken off me before in a bag check (show not longer after the Ariana Grande concert bombing) though that one was a half used £1 can. DS said he couldn't because he was visiting the Tower of London (Tesco clubcards and student concession price) and would also be subject to checks. I was pretty miffed at spending £3 on 2 squirts of deodarant! Anyway I managed to find a hiding place under a Christmas tree outside and put it there and retrieved it later (haven't told the kids that )

    The Nutcracker was fabulous. We didn't need any drinks and I thought their prices were reasonable. I paid £7 for a program and it is the most voluminous one I've ever bought, I've paid equal or more for slimmer versions at shows before. ice cream was £3, same as my local theatre and less than the cinema.

    When we came out we ate and this was the only time I felt ripped off. We went to an outside place and it was £16.50 for burger and chips, £4 for chips, £11.50 for margarita pizza, a whacking £4.50 for a small glass bottle of coke, I told DD if she spilt any she'd be licking it off the table. £45 in total! I wish we'd looked round more especially when I saw a Boots nearby and even more so when I saw an M&S Simply food, which I had a £10 gift card on me for (DH got it for filling in a survey), we sat outside anyway, we could have found somewhere for a sandwich. I looked on trip advisor when I got home and the reviews all complained about the price. It galls me so much I have to think about the overall cost of the day on food, breakfast had been a bargain and DS covered all his own meals with the spending money he had (sensibly finding a kfc for his lunch to keep costs down and then just buying a sandwich meal deal on the train).

    After that DD blew all her Christmas money on a designer handbag reduced to half price in the sales. It's more expensive than any bag I've bought, but I've had problems with her in the past thinking it's acceptable to go out into the town centre with her phone sticking out of her back jeans pocket and her purse and travel card in her hand. Attempts by me to get her a bag she likes and uses, haven't worked, so hopefully owning a bag she adores and paid for herself will.

    Not used yet as she started feeling shivery on the tube back, fell asleep for the whole train journey and spent yesterday in bed! I went for cuppas and catch ups at my friends houses.

    Back to reality today and having a good tidy up to see where we already have things, plenty of bathroom toiletries we have, so don't think we'll be buying much of them for some time.

    Groceries need topping up and we have 2 family birthdays next week so need to buy for them.
    • mardatha
    • By mardatha 6th Jan 18, 11:11 AM
    • 14,892 Posts
    • 142,371 Thanks
    My god- if I was charged money like that for coke and chips I'd be carted off to jail for breach of the peace!
    • kittie
    • By kittie 6th Jan 18, 1:07 PM
    • 12,141 Posts
    • 76,198 Thanks
    I would love to see a real nutcracker ballet but will never be going to London again. I felt very insecure going by train to surrey when my sister was very ill, had to go from a station over an hour away in the car, unlit narrow fast lanes and always but always had that feeling `what if the train back was cancelled etc`. I was parked at a very small country station. Sounds like a lovely family day spendless, making memories

    Is anyone else starting to get bills? I just had the car insurance, up from last year and did the online comparison. Looks as though I am getting a good deal tbh and factored in via m/s money, will pay that about the 20th of this month. Its a pity that it is so cold, it would be silly of me to go out on a cycle ride, breathing in cold air isn`t a good idea at my age. Entertainment today is free, as I am stash busting by knitting and making a beautiful fair isle hat, interesting and rewarding to make. Shops will be full again, people still bored after the long break
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 6th Jan 18, 1:24 PM
    • 10,568 Posts
    • 115,709 Thanks
    Kittie I don't know where you are based, but often Milton Keynes Theatre plays host to cultural events such as ballet, opera etc. Neither of us really cares for ballet, so I can't comment on what sort of ballets are on, but we have attended many operas; and in fact have tickets for "La Forza Del Destino" in April, which is WNO on tour. I would never in a million years consider travelling to London; far too scary and far too tiring for me.
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • Katieowl
    • By Katieowl 6th Jan 18, 1:52 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 1,717 Thanks
    What a sad state of affairs when you have to hide spray cans in bushes (I would have so done that!) I'm really glad I live in under a rock and hardly ever go anywhere!
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 6th Jan 18, 2:04 PM
    • 15,823 Posts
    • 43,815 Thanks
    You want to be careful re hiding things in bushes LOL. I recall back BM (Before Moving here) I realised that there were a couple of drug drop-off points around.

    There must have been some rather puzzled drug-users and suppliers sometimes after that - as the "rubbish" etc left there mysteriously vanished more than once. I couldn't begin to speculate as to how that happened....

    EDIT; Hastens to add that I've never taken drugs in my life myself...
    How to make the worst decisions you'll ever make. Think "What would the ancestors do?" and (be you a person or a part of a country) you'll make a mistake every time.
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 6th Jan 18, 2:20 PM
    • 3,670 Posts
    • 5,515 Thanks
    Kittie, depending on where you are, you may be able to see screenings of ballets, operas, plays at an Odeon. You get the best views and the bonus of interviews.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 6th Jan 18, 3:26 PM
    • 20,160 Posts
    • 33,383 Thanks
    Seeing The Nutcracker was a very special occassion, I'd forgotten to say the whole reason we went is one of DD's friends was in it. He got a place at the Royal Ballet school and went there in September, instead of going to the local Secondary school.

    My friend did point out to me if there'd been an 'incident' nearby , cctv would have been checked and I might have needed to do some explanation. I felt more comfortable putting in by a seasonal xmas display (not going to say where exactly, am mindful this is an open forum) than I would putting it anywhere. Once I'd paid a fortune for food though, I did wonder why I'd worried about a £3 can of deodorant.

    This morning I have tidied our bathroom. We have so many toiletries, I won't be buying for a very long time, including finding 6 half used cans of mens deodorant Have put one in DS's bedroom, going to check one is in his college bag and then going to wait till he complains he 'hasn't got any' and take them out of the cupboard one by one.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

154Posts Today

1,709Users online

Martin's Twitter