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@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    lisa_75
    Keeping down spending on "stuff"
    • #1
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:26 AM
    Keeping down spending on "stuff" 22nd Jul 06 at 11:26 AM
    We have been overspending for a couple of years which has led to around £10,000 of debt. I am trying to nip this in the bud by living within our means. I have cut down on food shopping stopped going out so much, but the thing I am finding the hardest to cut down on are those extras that appear every month.

    This month after I have paid out for all the bills, debt repayments, food, petrol and getting the car taxed I have £280 to last me 4 weeks. Out of that I have school uniform to buy, entertainment for the kids during the holidays, a family birthday bash at night that I have to attend, 3 birthday presents, a christening gift and attending the christening do. Apart from that we all could do with some new summer clothes, I personally only have 3 t-shirts which I have to wash all the time with the weather.

    Usually I would just use my credit card, but I have cut them all up. I am really scared this month. Last month we scraped by without having to borrow, but this month, with the holidays and birthdays I have so many extra expenses.

    How do you budget for all the extras you have to buy? Also how much is reasonable to spend on “stuff” like clothes, going out, birthday gifts every month? Before my light bulb moment I was spending £800 - £1000 on “stuff” when in reality we only have £300 to spare.

    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 25-07-2006 at 2:53 PM.
Page 1
    • dottyanne
    • By dottyanne 22nd Jul 06, 11:34 AM
    • 1,526 Posts
    • 796 Thanks
    dottyanne
    • #2
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:34 AM
    • #2
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:34 AM
    Hi Im about to start a DMP with the CCCS - im not sure if this is 100% right (wonder girl works for them so maybe shes the better person to advise) however i think £10 per person a month for clothes/shoes, £10 per person per month for sports/hobbies/interests and £10 per person per month for sundries like xmas/birthdays..........if you put this amount away each month there will be months when you dont use it however as we all know you will probably spend more in the summer hols/xmas etc...........

    hope this helps

    dotty xx
    Focusing on clearing the credit cards in 2018
  • lisa_75
    • #3
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:51 AM
    • #3
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:51 AM
    Hi Im about to start a DMP with the CCCS - im not sure if this is 100% right (wonder girl works for them so maybe shes the better person to advise) however i think £10 per person a month for clothes/shoes, £10 per person per month for sports/hobbies/interests and £10 per person per month for sundries like xmas/birthdays..........if you put this amount away each month there will be months when you dont use it however as we all know you will probably spend more in the summer hols/xmas etc...........

    hope this helps

    dotty xx
    by dottyanne
    Thanks Dotty. I really have no idea how to manage on that little. £120 per year per person on clothes would only just cover 2 sets of school uniform, school shoes and a coat for my one of my kids. What about all the other clothes they need?

    Also there are 4 of us. That makes £480 per year for Christmas/birthdays. Including us I have 18 relatives and friends that need Christmas and birthday gifts every year. Also there are fathers/mothers day/anniversary. If i just buy Chritsmas and Birthday gifts that is only £13 per person per gift. What on earth can I buy for that? Also the kids at Christmas/Birthdays. I can't only spend £13 on them, they would be devastated.

    As for £120 per person on hobbies, My daughters brownie holiday is £90 alone, not including the weekly subs and uniform.

    I am not being difficult, but I really need some advice on how to manage on so little.
  • wigginsmum
    • #4
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:55 AM
    • #4
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:55 AM
    How do you budget for all the extras you have to buy? Also how much is reasonable to spend on “stuff” like clothes, going out, birthday gifts every month?
    by lisa_75
    I'd love to have £280 left each month - generally I have £30-40 after all the static outgoings including food.

    Clothes - I buy an item as one wears out, and have an upper limit of £20/item.

    Going out - I simply don't. I've got plenty to do at home and in the garden. Occasionally we have friends over for a meal. Surely your kids can entertain themselves, with the occasional day out or trip to the cinema? How old are they?

    Birthday gifts: max £10/present - 2 X Jan, 1 Jun, 1 Oct, 1 Nov, 1 Dec. Christmas - £50. I pay £10/month into a savings account for this.
    The ability of skinny old ladies to carry huge loads is phenomenal. An ant can carry one hundred times its own weight, but there is no known limit to the lifting power of the average tiny eighty-year-old Spanish peasant grandmother.
    • lynsayjane
    • By lynsayjane 22nd Jul 06, 11:56 AM
    • 3,308 Posts
    • 5,762 Thanks
    lynsayjane
    • #5
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:56 AM
    • #5
    • 22nd Jul 06, 11:56 AM
    sweetie the only way to cut down is to stop certain treats. if your daughters brownies are unaffordable then maybe she can't go on holiday with them. as for the summer hols, there are heaps of threads about free days out or things to do that don't cost much. where do you normally shop for the kids clothes? if you have a primark near by they do great kids clothes and they are incredibly cheap. i shop there a lot for my clothes!
    • bobsa1
    • By bobsa1 22nd Jul 06, 12:02 PM
    • 1,841 Posts
    • 2,291 Thanks
    bobsa1
    • #6
    • 22nd Jul 06, 12:02 PM
    • #6
    • 22nd Jul 06, 12:02 PM
    I shop for xmas and birthday gifts all year round and have a gifts box. If you look on Boots thread or grabbit you will see loads of offers/deals.

    For my mum's birthday last week I got her Elizabeth Arden perfume (half price at Boots and bought on points) which cost nothing and some l'oreal face cream which was a free gift. The cost to me for her gift was nothing but the actual value was about £50

    I have already bought most of my xmas presents for probably a quarter of their value. Look on the os board for ideas

    Also the Brownie movement can help with pack holidays etc if you are in genuine need.
  • lisa_75
    • #7
    • 22nd Jul 06, 12:04 PM
    • #7
    • 22nd Jul 06, 12:04 PM
    I'd love to have £280 left each month - generally I have £30-40 after all the static outgoings including food.

    Clothes - I buy an item as one wears out, and have an upper limit of £20/item.

    Going out - I simply don't. I've got plenty to do at home and in the garden. Occasionally we have friends over for a meal. Surely your kids can entertain themselves, with the occasional day out or trip to the cinema? How old are they?

    Birthday gifts: max £10/present - 2 X Jan, 1 Jun, 1 Oct, 1 Nov, 1 Dec. Christmas - £50. I pay £10/month into a savings account for this.
    by wigginsmum
    With the going out, how do you cope with birthdays/christenings/aniversarys /weddings? This month alone I have been invited to a christening (that I have to attend), an anniversay party (that i have to attend) and a wedding (that I have lied and said I can't go to). All these need a gift/ money for the bar etc. Do you just simply not go to things like this? The kids are also always being invited to parties at school.

    As for £10 on a gift, what kids of things do you buy? I would really love some ideas. I have my mum and best friend to buy for this month. I would usually spend £50 each at least as my best friend spent £150 on me last birthday. I am going to feel so awful only spending so little when I get such nice gifts.
    • ZTD
    • By ZTD 22nd Jul 06, 12:10 PM
    • 23,730 Posts
    • 42,880 Thanks
    ZTD
    • #8
    • 22nd Jul 06, 12:10 PM
    • #8
    • 22nd Jul 06, 12:10 PM
    I can't only spend £13 on them, they would be devastated.
    by lisa_75
    It goes back to the old saying.

    "What should I spend on the kids?

    Half the money and twice the time."

    If you spent no money on them, they'd get over it. If you spend no time on them, then they'd be devastated.

    Myself and they OH have a £10 limit on Christmas prezzies. It's very hard, and it takes time to select them, but the prezzies are better than £100 thoughtless ones.
    "Follow the money!" - Deepthroat (AKA William Mark Felt Sr - Associate Director of the FBI)
    "We were born and raised in a summer haze." Adele 'Someone like you.'
    "Blowing your mind, 'cause you know what you'll find, when you're looking for things in the sky."
    OMD 'Julia's Song'
    • bobsa1
    • By bobsa1 22nd Jul 06, 12:12 PM
    • 1,841 Posts
    • 2,291 Thanks
    bobsa1
    • #9
    • 22nd Jul 06, 12:12 PM
    • #9
    • 22nd Jul 06, 12:12 PM
    I think you are spending way over the top on gifts. Why £50 on your best friend when you can't afford it. Do your family/friends know that you haven't got the money to buy these types of gifts.

    You could always say that you are cutting back because you want to save/trying to pay the mortgage off etc and then buy a reasonable price gift.

    I think you probably need to get your head around the reality of your situation or alternatively you need to find another source of income, second job?

    Sorry if this sounds harsh but if you havan't got the money you can't spend it!
    • lynsayjane
    • By lynsayjane 22nd Jul 06, 12:13 PM
    • 3,308 Posts
    • 5,762 Thanks
    lynsayjane
    do your family and friends know how bad things are for you? if they did i bet they'd be very understanding of geting less spent on them. my imediate family and i agreed a limit of £30 each for xmas/bday pressies, tho we have no kids as yet so theres not many of us.
  • lisa_75
    I think you are spending way over the top on gifts. Why £50 on your best friend when you can't afford it. Do your family/friends know that you haven't got the money to buy these types of gifts.

    You could always say that you are cutting back because you want to save/trying to pay the mortgage off etc and then buy a reasonable price gift.

    I think you probably need to get your head around the reality of your situation or alternatively you need to find another source of income, second job?

    Sorry if this sounds harsh but if you havan't got the money you can't spend it!
    by bobsa1
    I am looking into trying to do something from home myself to earn a second income. I can't work at nights or weekends as my husbands works varied shifts and is often not there at night to look after the kids. My husband may have to go down the route of doing some overtime, which is a last resort as he works hard enough as it is.

    My family and friends think we are well off as my husband has a very good job and we rent from the council, so our rent is very cheap. My parents especially would be furious to think we couldn't manage on the wage my husband earns. I have not told anyone about our situation as I am too ashamed.
    • sexymouse
    • By sexymouse 22nd Jul 06, 12:30 PM
    • 5,687 Posts
    • 70,489 Thanks
    sexymouse
    Along the lines of pressies from boots, why not sign up to pigsback.com There is a whole thread on the freebies board about this. It's free to join, and you earn piggy points just by clicking through adverts for about 5 mins a day. All of the answers to their quizzes are kindly posted by Jules-2005 so it's really easy. The points then can be turned into boots vouchers, amazon vouchers, or whatever you choose! You can do this when you have a spare few mins. I've earned enough for a ten pound boots voucher in less than a month! It's worth a try!

    Hope that helps you a bit.
  • Mrs Arkwright
    There's nothing to be ashamed about. Everyone makes a bad decision in their life, and you haven't done anything wrong. I think a choice has to be made - do you carry on as you are, getting further and further into debt, or admit that you're in a bit of a fix at the moment, so presents etc will have to be curbed for a bit?

    I would like to think (and I'm pretty sure I'm right) that my friends and family would be supportive and helpful if I told them we were in financial difficulty, and I don't mean helpful in a 'giving me money' type way, but helpful in being understanding if we can't afford to go somewhere, or can't afford to spend hundreds on gifts for them. I would be devastated if they were 'furious'.

    Surely the point of giving is the thought, not how much it costs?
    My sig's too large, apparently - so apologies to whoever's space I was taking up.
  • homersimpson
    if your level of income/money left after outgoings is less than friends stop trying to match/compete with her spending on pressies- it is the thought that counts not the amount spent- if amount spent is determining factor in friendship how good a friendship is it?
    the trick is to shop around- you can get one (or sometimes more than one) good quality present (not rubbish) for about £10. loads of free things for children to do.
  • all_hours

    My family and friends think we are well off as my husband has a very good job and we rent from the council, so our rent is very cheap. My parents especially would be furious to think we couldn't manage on the wage my husband earns. I have not told anyone about our situation as I am too ashamed.
    by lisa_75
    You would be able to manage if didn't have debt, surely overspending on xmas + birthday presents over the past few years has contributed to that debt.

    You can't afford to do everything. in my opinion the kids stuff - brownies and school uniform etc - should take priority. Then essential clothes for yourself, then presents and other spending on special occasions.

    Do everything as cheap as possible. You can buy second hand brownie + school uniforms on ebay. You can also buy bundles of clothing for £50-70 and get nearly everything they need in one go. Woolworths often have 3 for 2 offers on school kit.
  • LookingAhead
    Hi Lisa. Well done for coming on here and 'fessing up at least, to us how things really are.

    It's really not going to be easy, and we'd all be lying if we said it was, for you to come around to a full on change of 'attitude' towards money. It virtually does take over your whole life. By that I mean you are always on the look out for ways to save or make money. On the look out for a bargain or a present that could be put away for Christmas etc.

    Example: personally I usually never think about Christmas till about...December 16th or something stupid like that :rolleyes: by which time it's far too late to look for bargains and I have to panic buy which usually equates to top dollar for gifts. This year, for the first time, I have bought my first Christmas present early!! It's a fantastic big joke book for my brother-in-law and it cost me £3 from the book man at work. Perfect for him, had me in stitches whilst I was reading it so I know he will love it.

    I have to say, why don't you turn this thing around with your parents and say to yourself "I'd be furious if someone was furious with me for being honest about a worsening situation I was trying to improve".

    Hell, you've realised before it's way too late that something needs to be done and that is to be applauded in this debt riddled day & age. I can understand you don't want to broadcast your news all of a sudden to people - you don't have to do that. You could start planting a few seeds with people though and say things like "We've had a few unexpected bills this month so I'm going to have to pass" when you get an invite to something you can't afford (and may not want to go to anyway) and if anyone asks, you can easily say "I'd rather not go into details". They won't press further.

    Those who you are close to and trust, you can confide in, if & when you are ready.

    You do have to make an admission to yourself though that you can't spend a fortune on gifts etc for prides sake. I have a friend who did the same and she always had to have the latest stuff too and damn the expense. She's now at the end of her financial tether with nowhere left to turn after remortgaging for what can only be the last time. It's very sad to see someone's penny drop, way too late.

    Just remember one thing........landfill sites are running out and they produce greenhouse gases......one day all that money you spend on a gift will probably end up there. So make your gifts cheaper and more thoughtful.....a cinema ticket or trip to a zoo or something. Get creative & alternative. People will envy you your talent rather than opening up yet another off the shelf toy or whatever that they've seen dozens of times before.

    Last piece of advice. Scour this site for all the money saving, debt busting & freebie tips you can. It really is a change of mindset but you won't regret it I promise.

    Good luck and hope to see you again soon posting progress.

    xxLAxx
    Last edited by LookingAhead; 22-07-2006 at 1:18 PM.
    Bank Balance: In the black for the moment.
    Sainsburys Loan: Cleared July 2010
    Credit cards: AMEX Airmiles Card: direct debit set to clear balance monthly
  • GardenMillie
    Saving Money
    How about making some presents? Plus get the children involved making sweets or cakes and putting them in a nice (cheap) box with a ribbon or getting them to paint flower pots and putting a little plant in. It will help keep the children busy and save you money.

    When I have my friends children we always bake - they love it and we can eat it or freeze it later. Also try growing veg like spinach or courgettes in large plastic pots in the garden.

    Keep an eye out in charity shops in the craft section for gifts that are cheap but look nice. Good luck it's not easy cutting back but with every month it gets easier.
  • LookingAhead
    Another thought for a present (I may pop back from time to time with more ideas.... )

    Do you have a local beautician near you who operates from home or is mobile? They tend to be cheaper.

    Female family & friends would probably love you buying them a pedicure or a manicure or even just a file & polish....or a waxing treatment (although careful on that....some people might think you were dropping hints! )

    Male family & friends might like an essential oil back massage.


    Think about the things your family & friends do with their spare time/how they look after themselves and see if there is something you can work with there....it doesn't have to be something you have to 'wrap'.

    Check out this site as well

    http://www.fun-vouchers.org.uk/

    You could promise to take someone out for a pizza or do some babysitting or whatever springs to mind.

    Those who love & care for you for you will be thrilled. Those who just love shiny new things with nice price tags.....frankly you can do without.
    Bank Balance: In the black for the moment.
    Sainsburys Loan: Cleared July 2010
    Credit cards: AMEX Airmiles Card: direct debit set to clear balance monthly
  • wigginsmum
    With the going out, how do you cope with birthdays/christenings/aniversarys /weddings? Do you just simply not go to things like this?

    As for £10 on a gift, what kinds of things do you buy?
    by lisa_75
    I'll usually buy toiletries, a book, a DVD or some flavoured cooking oils etc. None of our crowd are into christenings or weddings (they're all mostly already married and have chosen not to have kids), and DH and I don't generally give each other anniversary presents. I guess we're not really into giving 'stuff.'
    The ability of skinny old ladies to carry huge loads is phenomenal. An ant can carry one hundred times its own weight, but there is no known limit to the lifting power of the average tiny eighty-year-old Spanish peasant grandmother.
    • newleaf
    • By newleaf 22nd Jul 06, 1:52 PM
    • 3,005 Posts
    • 3,448 Thanks
    newleaf
    The sooner you confide in your family and friends the better. You don't need to spill the beans completely, just say you are 'having to make some economies to stop things getting out of control, the children must come first' etc. You may well be surprised to find you aren't the only one struggling. Make a deal with your friend, set a price limit on the gifts you are going to exchange with her. It is, after all, the thought that counts. Your continued friendship should mean much more to her than the monetary value of your gifts - if it doesn't then dump her quick!
    Try shopping more selectively. Get yourself to Lidl or Aldi, you will be surprised at the quality of the goods and you will be amazed how much you can save. If you must shop at a big name supermarket, try own brands or Value range, look out for BOGOF's, make a list and stick to it. Do a meal plan - look on the Old Style board for loads of moneysaving inspiration.
    Best of luck
    Official DFW Nerd No 096 - Proud to have dealt with my debt!
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

3,708Posts Today

9,907Users online

Martin's Twitter