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  • FIRST POST
    • Sharon87
    • By Sharon87 4th Jan 18, 1:02 AM
    • 3,617Posts
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    Sharon87
    YNAB - 1 year of budgeting, I can see why I'm in debt now
    • #1
    • 4th Jan 18, 1:02 AM
    YNAB - 1 year of budgeting, I can see why I'm in debt now 4th Jan 18 at 1:02 AM
    I always start off with good intentions of getting my debt down, I make a budget, transfer what I need for savings and monthly spends into different bank accounts at the beginning of the month. But nearly every month I overspend.

    On YNAB I have my credit cards as 'off budget' accounts, I try not to spend on these if I can help it (doesn't always work though, I should have put on 0% spend card as a budget one - the card I got to book my holiday on).

    So now I've been budgeting for a year I can see what I've spent in certain categories. These are the big red categories where my spending needs to reduce:

    Restaurants/Takeaways (inc expensive lunches)
    Yearly: 999.95
    Monthly: 83.33
    (my new monthly budget is reduced to 30)

    Entertainment (pubs, DVDs, cinema, theatre, apps, special birthday meals/drinking)
    Yearly: 1409.88
    Monthly: 117.49
    (my new monthly budget for this is 50)

    Holidays (and holiday savings)
    Yearly: 1771.94
    Monthly: 147.66
    (I'm thinking of setting a new monthly budget of around 40)

    Taxis:
    Yearly: 206.56
    Monthly: 17.21
    (monthly budget of 0 - will only get one for holidays if necessary and will come under holiday budget)

    Total on 'indulgences' is 4388.33
    Total on future indulgences for the year: 1440
    What I could have saved: 2948.33

    Here's what I've paid towards my credit cards this year:
    3064.43
    However I have cheated and used my credit cards for things like clothes, new phone and holiday, so my debt is almost the exact same as last year, with the indulgences spent as it is, I could have paid almost 3 grand off (3k was the aim to pay off this year).

    I've done this to show how easy it is to spend so much money without realising (even when budgeting). I have made a vow to not get any takeaways or go to restaurants this month or next month. I have even gone to the extent of blocking the sites to make it a bit harder and to remind myself to just cook instead!

    I have a holiday next month (been saving and planning it for years and years!), which I've decided will be my last major holiday until my debt is paid off. I have set of a limit of 480 per year for holidays/festivals, which I will set so in line with my budget. Most people veto holidays whilst they're paying off debts, but I want this to be my one treat. I can forego DVDs and the pub if I can go on holiday.

    Taxis - I don't need to get a taxi except maybe for holiday, I get them sometimes because I don't want to wait for the bus! This is also getting cut out.

    Entertainment - I am cutting this right back, this past month I've not spent much on booze when out, so my aim is for when I do go out with friends is to drink more soft drinks than alcohol (or lots more water), so that way I don't spend 60 on a night out! The exception being a special occasion in which I've saved up for it in advance.

    It's quite disappointing to see my debt not going down, but doing this budget makes me see the reasons why and then I can change what I'm doing. I could be maybe 3000 less in debt than I am.

    The one positive is that this year my debt has not increased for the first time in 8 years. I am putting the brakes on and about to reverse my way out of this debt!

    Here's to a year where I actually stick to my budget and my debt goes down!

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 09-01-2019 at 11:26 AM.
Page 2
    • sazaccount
    • By sazaccount 8th Jan 19, 10:29 AM
    • 312 Posts
    • 346 Thanks
    sazaccount
    I would suggest popping over to the old style board for meal ideas, fakaways etc you could try challenging yourself to say only having 1/2 bought work lunch a week, then "saving" what you would of spent towards your laptop? I used to definitely prefer my homemade lunches to something out of a tin or packet. I used to do my lunch prep the night before as I'm really not a morning person!!
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 8th Jan 19, 10:43 AM
    • 34,968 Posts
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    getmore4less
    Might not work in London, but if you have access to a M&S or Waitrose Around Closing some stores discount stuff very heavily
    Our M&S it is often 90% and 75%+ in Waitrose.

    Also make sure if using the food chains you are using coupons and find someone that qualifies for discounts to dine with(like NHS)
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 8th Jan 19, 11:42 AM
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    getmore4less
    My food bill is high and I do like eating out. I have cut back a lot on actual takeaways at home, it's just those trips to Nandos/Five Guys.etc I need to cut back on now and being more disciplined with lunches at work.
    Originally posted by Sharon87
    Cutbacks need to be realistic especially if it is a high priority item as it is for you.

    Have you done a breakdown on frequency and any triggers.

    It might be that there are times you do a meal but don't really enjoy it as much as others could you cut those out.

    Is one of the triggers that you have not planned something at home so default to eating out.

    As sazaccount says could you home make a lunch one or two days a week to start, perhaps if you have a planned meal out that evening make lunch.


    Thinking about it, what are you getting for your 25pw?

    In London with 5 lunches probably only 1 or 2 eat outs a week which is not that bad and if you enjoy them it might just be one of those items that will always be there at a reasonable level.
    • Sharon87
    • By Sharon87 8th Jan 19, 1:53 PM
    • 3,617 Posts
    • 3,086 Thanks
    Sharon87
    I've had a look at my YNAB spends in the restaurant budget

    About:
    25 a month goes on eating out at restaurants (once a month on average, sometimes less)
    17 on fast food (travelling/hungry when shopping/coffee shops.etc)
    22 on takeaways at home (1 a month on average - lasts me multiple meals)
    40 a month on lunches (between 3 and 7 each, so around 8 times a month)

    Spelling it out like that doesn't sound like much! It looks like maybe once a week is my limit for lunches, less takeaways (I regret about half of them - sometimes it's just I have nothing in I want or really tired from work - need to ensure I have easy things to cook in, like a pizza or something). Eating out - it's about right at that budget. I have a tastecard with my bank account, so sometimes use that.

    Fast food I am trying to cut out as much as possible - trying to lose a bit of weight too! I spent 150 on Mcdonalds/KFC/Five Guys last year in total.
    • Chandelier.
    • By Chandelier. 8th Jan 19, 6:26 PM
    • 912 Posts
    • 2,453 Thanks
    Chandelier.
    I think the key here is to plan ahead re your food spends. You need to set a realistic budget that factors in all of the above. Set a target amount per month and work backwards from there. Once it's gone it's gone and you wait until the next month starts.

    You can easily cut back in this category, a lot of it takes planning ahead to get where you want to be.

    Just think, what you save from your food expenditure could go towards a future holiday or towards paying more off the CCs.

    I set myself an entertainment budget which covers everything including food spends. I use a seperate account which keeps track of these expenses and I check it daily to see what's left and what I can afford to spend or where I need to cut back on. I'd rather say no to a meal out one week and put the expenses towards something else that I will get more enjoyment from.
    Chandelier.
    Current Debt Repaid:
    49/619.

    Check out my Diary
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 8th Jan 19, 7:30 PM
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    getmore4less
    Looking at that breakdown

    One meal a month keep it in

    I think you would benefit from making sure you plan your food stock at home better to avoid the I've got nothing to eat problem.
    Maybe up that budget a bit to have some nice stuff to come home to.

    Also avoid the temptation to get takeaways that will do multiple meals

    22pm buys a lot of very nice food for a few meals at home like seriously good burgers or substitute a steak spiced chicken at home is a easy cook under 30mins.

    Can you carry some snacks or fruit to catch the hunger moments when out and about. Or plan these outings after eating.

    Lunches is the big one, meal plans that have leftovers for lunches might work look at what you like for lunch that you buy and replicate or try something different.

    One snack I had in reserve at work were noodle soups, I liked the Korean ones, just need access to hot water, a microwave helps get them hotter after standing.

    If you can make wanting to eat at home more attractive then the cutbacks will just happen.
    • bishbut
    • By bishbut 9th Jan 19, 8:16 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    bishbut
    my costs fo 2018
    As a single pensioner (basic pension)I have worked out I have spent just 14 pound per week over the last 12 months on food ,drinks,cleaning materials etc at ASDA .I usually do not buy anything elsewhere just the occasional item .I try to eat out once a week but most of my meals are at home I keep note of what I have spent at ASDA and calculate at the end of the year I spent less in 2018 than 2017 but not by much.I also go away on holidays
    • Chandelier.
    • By Chandelier. 9th Jan 19, 10:21 AM
    • 912 Posts
    • 2,453 Thanks
    Chandelier.
    25 a month goes on eating out at restaurants (once a month on average, sometimes less)
    17 on fast food (travelling/hungry when shopping/coffee shops.etc)
    22 on takeaways at home (1 a month on average - lasts me multiple meals)
    40 a month on lunches (between 3 and 7 each, so around 8 times a month)
    All of the above comes to just over 100. If you cut this in half, you could throw that extra 50 to the CCs or to your holiday fund, whichever you choose. I won't say remove this completely as its nice to have a treat once in a while but just be picky about what you want. Are fast food chains really worth the price they charge? Although tempting, I often feel disgusting afterwards. We don't really have takeaways either, we keep a pizza or such other quick items in for when we can't be bothered to cook. I would rather do that then spend 15/20 on a take away. I would much rather save and put it towards a nice meal out each month
    Chandelier.
    Current Debt Repaid:
    49/619.

    Check out my Diary
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 9th Jan 19, 12:12 PM
    • 7,182 Posts
    • 42,628 Thanks
    determined new ms
    I've had a look at my YNAB spends in the restaurant budget

    About:
    25 a month goes on eating out at restaurants (once a month on average, sometimes less)
    17 on fast food (travelling/hungry when shopping/coffee shops.etc)
    22 on takeaways at home (1 a month on average - lasts me multiple meals)
    40 a month on lunches (between 3 and 7 each, so around 8 times a month)

    Spelling it out like that doesn't sound like much! It looks like maybe once a week is my limit for lunches, less takeaways (I regret about half of them - sometimes it's just I have nothing in I want or really tired from work - need to ensure I have easy things to cook in, like a pizza or something). Eating out - it's about right at that budget. I have a tastecard with my bank account, so sometimes use that.

    Fast food I am trying to cut out as much as possible - trying to lose a bit of weight too! I spent 150 on Mcdonalds/KFC/Five Guys last year in total.
    Originally posted by Sharon87
    I find if I factor in a nice meal a week it helps with sticking to meal planning and reducing takeaways - we often go for a big walk and stop at a pub. Sometimes over the last year we would get a lunch as well. 2 x ciabattas, a portion of chips for lo and a drink each easily comes to 25 so I started getting the ingredients in so we could still go for the walk and have a pint but know we had a lovely lunch at home for say 8 instead of 25.

    Also always keep a couple of nice pizzas in the freezer for those cbb evenings. I also pick up a takeaway for 2 if I ever see them reduced and just keep in the freezer for when we fancy a take away. Takeaways are never as nice as they seem and full of regret for me, both in terms of health and finances.

    I love the golden arch breakfasts and used to get one once a week. In the end I decided 200 on this a year was a waste of money so now I roughly get one once a month. Still love it, so don't want to cut it out, but a waste of money and unhealthy to boot!
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling 2017 3016.55/Roadkill 8.73
    Wombling 2018 145.73/RK 0.04
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 9th Jan 19, 1:43 PM
    • 993 Posts
    • 7,642 Thanks
    PipneyJane
    I've had a look at my YNAB spends in the restaurant budget

    About:
    25 a month goes on eating out at restaurants (once a month on average, sometimes less)
    17 on fast food (travelling/hungry when shopping/coffee shops.etc)
    22 on takeaways at home (1 a month on average - lasts me multiple meals)
    40 a month on lunches (between 3 and 7 each, so around 8 times a month)

    Spelling it out like that doesn't sound like much! It looks like maybe once a week is my limit for lunches, less takeaways (I regret about half of them - sometimes it's just I have nothing in I want or really tired from work - need to ensure I have easy things to cook in, like a pizza or something). Eating out - it's about right at that budget. I have a tastecard with my bank account, so sometimes use that.

    Fast food I am trying to cut out as much as possible - trying to lose a bit of weight too! I spent 150 on Mcdonalds/KFC/Five Guys last year in total.
    Originally posted by Sharon87
    Hello. I've just been thinking about your expenditure, having read the thread over my lunch break.

    Please join us on the Old Style Board, particularly in the monthly Grocery Challenge. We'd love to help you cut down on your grocery spending and we're good at last minute meal solutions and taking-your-lunch-to-work.

    You mentioned that you are a contractor - do you have an emergency fund to cover your expenses during those times when there is no work? 3-6 months is the usually recommended, but I'd aim for at least 6 months of personal money plus building up to 6 months of "salary" left in my company so that I can pay myself holidays and salary when I'm out of work. It took me long enough to pay off my own credit cards; I don't want to start down that slippery slope again. (I'm a contractor too, contracting through my own limited company. I'm currently working on building up that 6 month cushion.)

    Good luck.

    - Pip
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. #47 Official Brain Harvesting Body Counter
    • Sharon87
    • By Sharon87 10th Jan 19, 11:44 PM
    • 3,617 Posts
    • 3,086 Thanks
    Sharon87
    Hello. I've just been thinking about your expenditure, having read the thread over my lunch break.

    Please join us on the Old Style Board, particularly in the monthly Grocery Challenge. We'd love to help you cut down on your grocery spending and we're good at last minute meal solutions and taking-your-lunch-to-work.

    You mentioned that you are a contractor - do you have an emergency fund to cover your expenses during those times when there is no work? 3-6 months is the usually recommended, but I'd aim for at least 6 months of personal money plus building up to 6 months of "salary" left in my company so that I can pay myself holidays and salary when I'm out of work. It took me long enough to pay off my own credit cards; I don't want to start down that slippery slope again. (I'm a contractor too, contracting through my own limited company. I'm currently working on building up that 6 month cushion.)

    Good luck.

    - Pip
    Originally posted by PipneyJane
    I have some savings, it's saving for long term/potential deposit on a house, but could be used as an emergency fund. There's only about 700 in at the moment. I save 60 or more a month for this.

    I used to be really good at food budgeting and spending less. These days I like my good food and sometimes try and buy the better quality meat (free range chicken if I can afford it). I'm trying to be good at work with food. Today I had a jacket potato with beans and cheese - cost me less than a pound (would have been close to 6 in the local cafe - extortionate, but that's London!)

    I actually came home after drinks today and whilst fast food was tempting I did have last night's dinner leftovers to eat. I just need to get back into the habit of cooking more for leftovers.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 11th Jan 19, 6:35 AM
    • 34,968 Posts
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    getmore4less
    ....

    I actually came home after drinks today and whilst fast food was tempting I did have last night's dinner leftovers to eat. I just need to get back into the habit of cooking more for leftovers.
    Originally posted by Sharon87
    A good indicator of getting the purchases and meal planning right is reduced waste.

    I try to remind myself every time I throw something out it was something that did not need buying.
    • Sharon87
    • By Sharon87 12th Jan 19, 3:50 PM
    • 3,617 Posts
    • 3,086 Thanks
    Sharon87
    A good indicator of getting the purchases and meal planning right is reduced waste.

    I try to remind myself every time I throw something out it was something that did not need buying.
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    Downside of being single. I cook for myself, buy the bag of spinach or bread or mushrooms. It doesn't always get used before it goes off. I waste bread a lot, I buy the small or half loaves but even then I rarely eat the entire loaf before it goes off! I have frozen it in the past, but defrosting it takes ages and I'm not always in the mood for toasting it!

    I do batch cook sometimes, but not all the time.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 12th Jan 19, 6:19 PM
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    • 21,337 Thanks
    getmore4less
    Seconds to defrost bread in a microwave.

    Or just take out a few slices each day as you use up the fresh stuff.

    Veg needs a bit of planning or a soup pot in the freezer.

    Many just make sandwiches freeze them and use them for lunches.
    (keep the messy ingredients to add at work like tomato).


    if you have food waste look for solutions to use up the products if you still need to buy it.
    Back to planning.
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 12th Jan 19, 6:56 PM
    • 7,182 Posts
    • 42,628 Thanks
    determined new ms
    when I get bread slices out to defrost for a sandwich I stand them up in a /\ and it takes 5 mins for them to defrost
    DF as at 30/12/16
    Wombling 2017 3016.55/Roadkill 8.73
    Wombling 2018 145.73/RK 0.04
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 12th Jan 19, 7:33 PM
    • 4,073 Posts
    • 10,994 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    Downside of being single. I cook for myself, buy the bag of spinach or bread or mushrooms. It doesn't always get used before it goes off. I waste bread a lot, I buy the small or half loaves but even then I rarely eat the entire loaf before it goes off! I have frozen it in the past, but defrosting it takes ages and I'm not always in the mood for toasting it!

    I do batch cook sometimes, but not all the time.
    Originally posted by Sharon87
    Bread lasts a lot longer in the fridge, and you can get big bags of frozen spinach and take what you need, you can cook from frozen. Or spinach goes with most things if you chop it small and just chuck it in and its great for you!
    • KxMx
    • By KxMx 12th Jan 19, 11:11 PM
    • 7,562 Posts
    • 11,050 Thanks
    KxMx
    I freeze my bread in bags of 3 slices. I usually get a bag out the night before I need it. If I forget then I separate the slices to defrost quickly.

    Then I've got either got a days bread (breakfast and lunch) or three breakfasts if I already have rolls.

    I also do this with sandwich meat. I buy a large pack and 4 slices go into each bag, then in the freezer. Once defrosted I've fillings for 2 days.

    Most veg can be gotten frozen. If not then it's a false economy to buy the cheaper bag then throw some away. Better value to get a little loose that you need for planned meals.
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