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
    • RR4353
    • By RR4353 3rd Jul 18, 1:04 PM
    • 17Posts
    • 3Thanks
    RR4353
    Working households - Living costs and lifestyles - what is essential?
    • #1
    • 3rd Jul 18, 1:04 PM
    Working households - Living costs and lifestyles - what is essential? 3rd Jul 18 at 1:04 PM
    Hi

    I am looking for people in employment or self-employed in the UK to help me out with my research. This thread relates to living costs for working households and forms part of my research for my dissertation (MA in Social Research Methods and Social Policy at Durham University).

    I have been given permission by the MSE Forum Team to create this thread.

    The research considers living costs among working households, in particular the financial pressures associated with our lifestyles today. Therefore, it looks beyond essential costs, recognising that in the UK today housing, fuel and food costs are big issues but that we also have many other living costs to juggle, and people on decent/better incomes can still have little disposable income.

    The thread is intended to open up discussion about living costs to see how they vary among different households - there are no rights or wrongs, everyone will have their own opinions and experiences. You do not have to respond to all questions and may withdraw at any time up to 31 July 2018, by which time I will be preparing to submit the assignment. Taking part is completely voluntary.

    Parts of the discussion will be used in my dissertation assignment but all names will be changed to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. I will keep my assignment data on a password-protected computer. By contributing to the thread, you are giving your consent for me to use what you write in my assignment and this will only be used for the purpose of my dissertation.

    The first question is:
    Other than rent/mortgage, council tax, water, gas/electric/other fuel and food costs, what do you consider as essential/important for your living costs today?


    I'll post further questions below as the discussion gets going
    Last edited by RR4353; 06-07-2018 at 9:11 PM. Reason: add to title; omiited word
Page 2
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 4th Jul 18, 12:10 PM
    • 801 Posts
    • 1,566 Thanks
    BBH123
    Essentials - Pet food / insurance


    As for how I pay my mobile its Sim only contract
    Save 12k in 2018 challenge #14
    3700/ 10000

    Saving for Christmas 2018 - 1 a day challenge
    #15 120/365
    • scaredofdebt
    • By scaredofdebt 4th Jul 18, 12:29 PM
    • 1,195 Posts
    • 577 Thanks
    scaredofdebt
    My mobile is 40 a month on a 2 year contract, my old phone broke so I got a new one, I usually roll the contract on to a PAYG deal once the contract ends.

    Broadband and phone is 70 a month, I have a fast connection that is necessary as I work from home once a week. The saving on fuel by doing this pays for about half of the broadband alone, ie ~30 a month saved on fuel.
    Make 2018 in 2018 Challenge - Total to date 2,108
    • RR4353
    • By RR4353 4th Jul 18, 12:29 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    RR4353
    Yes, that's the next question - although I guess more of a topic with a few sub-questions, all feel free to answer only those relevant to you:

    QUESTION 2
    A) Why do you use Internet (and associated devices)? - work, keeping connected to friends/family, shopping, entertainment - as an alternative to having a TV for example......or a combination...any other reasons?

    B) How do people tend to pay for mobiles/laptops/, etc. - monthly contracts or outright?......how does this affect your budgets?

    C) Do people feel the pressure financially because of increased use of technology, services online, etc.?


    D) Or feel free to add any other ways that the Internet has a positive or negative effect on finances - for example - some people find shopping online saves them money because they can easily compare prices - others say they spend more because they see more adverts, it's always open, easier to browse more in a shorter space of time, etc.
    [/B]

    Thanks again
    Last edited by RR4353; 04-07-2018 at 9:01 PM.
    • RR4353
    • By RR4353 4th Jul 18, 12:32 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    RR4353
    My mobile is 40 a month on a 2 year contract, my old phone broke so I got a new one, I usually roll the contract on to a PAYG deal once the contract ends.

    Broadband and phone is 70 a month, I have a fast connection that is necessary as I work from home once a week. The saving on fuel by doing this pays for about half of the broadband alone, ie ~30 a month saved on fuel.
    Originally posted by scaredofdebt
    That's a big saving on fuel by doing that - do work make any additional contribution to your broadband costs?...or are you self-employed?
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 4th Jul 18, 1:03 PM
    • 7,284 Posts
    • 15,991 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Internet/phone/travel to work costs/ emergency savings. Tv licence.
    Debt free and mortgage free and early retiree. Living the dream

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • RR4353
    • By RR4353 4th Jul 18, 1:49 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    RR4353
    Internet/phone/travel to work costs/ emergency savings. Tv licence.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Thanks enthusiasticsaver!

    You have 'Debt free, mortgage free, early retiree, living the dream' on your posts - what advice would you give to others striving to achieve this?
    • Sapphire
    • By Sapphire 4th Jul 18, 5:54 PM
    • 2,338 Posts
    • 4,429 Thanks
    Sapphire
    Why do you use Internet (and associated devices)? - work, keeping connected to friends/family, shopping, entertainment - as an alternative to having a TV for example......or a combination...any other reasons?

    Use Internet for sending emails to friends/family/associates/work contacts. Use Internet primarily for checking facts connected with the work I do. I have an aversion to social media (too much time wasting, brainwashing, trolls and so forth), so stay off that. Only rarely use the Internet for shopping, preferring to buy things from shops whenever possible (with clothing, for example, always prefer to try it on for fit to avoid costly errors), though do sometimes use eBay. Also have an aversion to ads (if something is advertised anywhere, I've always automatically been turned off it). Wouldn't use the Internet for TV viewing. View terrestrial TV and DVDs, don't take 'advantage' of the various stations you have to pay for (very rarely watch the BBC, since I don't like most of the content any more), and don't use iPlayer ever since you had to 'sign in' to do so. I do have concerns about people's private spending (and other?) habits being analysed, etc, even though they do not want this, hence my aversion to the Internet.

    How do people tend to pay for mobiles/laptops/, etc. - monthly contracts or outright?......how does this affect your budgets?

    Monthly contracts. As mentioned the cost of the mobile is small because I use it so rarely. The Broadband cost is also not high, since I don't use it intensively.

    Do people feel the pressure financially because of increased use of technology, services online, etc.?

    Due to the sheer mass of advertising being thrown out via the Internet, I'm sure some people do feel the pressure financially, and get themselves into debt by spending beyond their means, even though they may not admit it to themselves or others.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 4th Jul 18, 6:22 PM
    • 17,567 Posts
    • 44,427 Thanks
    elsien
    As I thought might be the case, internet and mobiles, laptops, tablets, etc. are important to many and very much a part of daily life - is this for work, keeping connected to friends/family, entertainment - as an alternative to having a TV for example......or a combination/any other reasons?

    How do people tend to pay for mobiles, etc. - monthly contracts or outright?......how does this affect your budgets?....what would you be able to do with the money if these items weren't 'near essential'?
    Originally posted by RR4353
    Mobile and laptop for work, mobile for keeping in touch with friends family (texts to keep up to date rather than long conversations), making arrangements. I don't use the mobile for much else - social media not my thing. I don't do streaming at all so watch the TV rather than watching things on line and I don't have any paid for TV.

    I buy the mobile outright, keep it till it dies, and the contract is renegotiated each year usually around a tenner a month plus cashback. I keep the landline and the broadband but again look at what deals were on offer. My budget isn't so tight that it makes that much difference but if there was spare cash I'd use it for socialising and holidays. Just getting out more.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 4th Jul 18, 7:50 PM
    • 25,129 Posts
    • 65,781 Thanks
    pollypenny
    When we both worked a cleaner once a week was essential.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

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

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • Mnd
    • By Mnd 4th Jul 18, 8:44 PM
    • 795 Posts
    • 980 Thanks
    Mnd
    Our 2 mobile's are covered by 20 a month payment to Tesco, Mrs D is 15 of that. (Extortionate!) And mines a fiver
    • RR4353
    • By RR4353 4th Jul 18, 8:57 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    RR4353
    Thanks again everyone

    Feel free to keep answering my previous questions above if you're just joining the discussion now...I will number them more clearly to help me keep track of who is answering what - please just note which question you're referring to when commenting.

    So.....my next topic: personal credit (credit cards, store cards, catalogues, HP, paying monthly for things like insurance, car tax, etc. - anything where you pay monthly/defer payment, usually incurring interest, rather than outright for goods/services) -

    QUESTION 3
    Does credit help or hinder you (or family/friends) to improve your standard of living?....how?
    Last edited by RR4353; 04-07-2018 at 9:04 PM.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 4th Jul 18, 10:24 PM
    • 8,829 Posts
    • 10,152 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    QUESTION 2
    A) Why do you use Internet (and associated devices)?
    B) How do people tend to pay for mobiles/laptops/, etc. - monthly contracts or outright?......how does this affect your budgets?
    C) Do people feel the pressure financially because of increased use of technology, services online, etc.?
    D) Or feel free to add any other ways that the Internet has a positive or negative effect on finances
    Originally posted by RR4353
    A) Email - my life runs on email. VoIP phone services for all outgoing and incoming calls. Web browsing, a lot of online forums, some (free) streaming/catchup TV.
    B) Mobile PAYG, 10 a year. 15 if I need a new phone. VoIP 20 a year. New computers go on the credit card and paid off over a few months.
    C/D) Ebay / Awesomebooks for collectable tat and old books :-(. Getting much better interest rates and using comparison sites for utiities :-)
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 4th Jul 18, 10:26 PM
    • 8,829 Posts
    • 10,152 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    Does credit help or hinder you (or family/friends) to improve your standard of living?....how?
    Originally posted by RR4353
    Almost everything goes on the credit card - more secure than debit card and makes it easier to budget. It's (almost always) paid off though. Insurance is on monthly credit.

    I assume you exclude mortgages from this.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Sapphire
    • By Sapphire 5th Jul 18, 12:17 AM
    • 2,338 Posts
    • 4,429 Thanks
    Sapphire
    So.....my next topic: personal credit (credit cards, store cards, catalogues, HP, paying monthly for things like insurance, car tax, etc. - anything where you pay monthly/defer payment, usually incurring interest, rather than outright for goods/services) -

    Does credit help or hinder you (or family/friends) to improve your standard of living?....how?

    Not sure I understand the question. By 'credit', do you mean 'debt'? I never put anything on credit and have no debts. If I can't afford to buy something I really want, I save up for it (or wait until I do have the money), then buy it. I bought my last mobile phone outright, as well as the computers I've owned. Being in debt would make me feel incredibly insecure, perhaps because I know what it is like to lose everything and have nothing (war experiences of elders in family and the way my siblings and I lived as a result).

    By not spending excessively on fripperies, I was able to pay off my mortgage early, and I often thought I wasn't going to make it since my salary was never great in my chosen profession.

    I do generally find it easiest to pay monthly by direct debit for things like insurance and utilities, but I don't look on these things as debts. They don't help or hinder me, particularly. They are just responsibilities I have.

    The elders in my family did sometimes buy essentials such as cookers and fridges and cookers on HP because they could not afford lump-sum payments, but I have enough in savings to pay for things like that if any of these items break down.
    Last edited by Sapphire; 05-07-2018 at 12:33 AM.
    • RR4353
    • By RR4353 5th Jul 18, 12:59 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    RR4353
    Thank you Sapphire, that answers my question. Credit - where a contract is made to pay for goods monthly or 'buy now pay later' which often does incur interest, some people will use it and not incur debt (e.g by paying the balance on a credit card in full each month) but others will
    accumulate debt and for some this will be manageable but others not, just depending on their circumstances....others will use savings as an alternative and prefer 'deferred gratification'. You seem as though you manage your money well - what advice would you give others who may be struggling?...how did you learn to manage your budget/live within your means?

    So.....my next topic: personal credit (credit cards, store cards, catalogues, HP, paying monthly for things like insurance, car tax, etc. - anything where you pay monthly/defer payment, usually incurring interest, rather than outright for goods/services) -

    Does credit help or hinder you (or family/friends) to improve your standard of living?....how?

    Not sure I understand the question. By 'credit', do you mean 'debt'? I never put anything on credit and have no debts. If I can't afford to buy something I really want, I save up for it (or wait until I do have the money), then buy it. I bought my last mobile phone outright, as well as the computers I've owned. Being in debt would make me feel incredibly insecure, perhaps because I know what it is like to lose everything and have nothing (war experiences of elders in family and the way my siblings and I lived as a result).

    By not spending excessively on fripperies, I was able to pay off my mortgage early, and I often thought I wasn't going to make it since my salary was never great in my chosen profession.

    I do generally find it easiest to pay monthly by direct debit for things like insurance and utilities, but I don't look on these things as debts. They don't help or hinder me, particularly. They are just responsibilities I have.

    The elders in my family did sometimes buy essentials such as cookers and fridges and cookers on HP because they could not afford lump-sum payments, but I have enough in savings to pay for things like that if any of these items break down.
    Originally posted by Sapphire
    • Sapphire
    • By Sapphire 5th Jul 18, 3:39 PM
    • 2,338 Posts
    • 4,429 Thanks
    Sapphire
    Thank you Sapphire, that answers my question. Credit - where a contract is made to pay for goods monthly or 'buy now pay later' which often does incur interest, some people will use it and not incur debt (e.g by paying the balance on a credit card in full each month) but others will
    accumulate debt and for some this will be manageable but others not, just depending on their circumstances....others will use savings as an alternative and prefer 'deferred gratification'. You seem as though you manage your money well - what advice would you give others who may be struggling?...how did you learn to manage your budget/live within your means?
    Originally posted by RR4353
    I never earned a high salary, working in publishing. I think managing my money well and not incurring debt was instilled in me by my mother, who always drummed it into me that I had to save. Also, seeing how elders in my family lost everything material (and family members) during the war made me realise how easy it was to lose everything, and how difficult it was to 'climb back up again', hence my sense of insecurity about incurring debt. (For years, the elders and their children lived in what would certainly be classified as poverty today, though not unhappily.) The worrying thing is that many people in this society are living as though there's no tomorrow, and when a crash of some kind comes (as it inevitably will, judging by past history), they will be left very vulnerable, which could have repercussions on the whole of society. Perhaps both the education system and parents should be teaching children to live more frugally, and why, though such advice would obviously be too late for those in the full throes of the consumer 'culture' (who will beget offspring that will presumably follow their lead).

    In general, I've never been into the 'consumer culture', involving people buying generic 'must-have' products, which they have been persuaded by advertising that they have to have (to 'keep up' with others, mainly). You only need to look at the ads for things like kitchens, say, and to see how generic everything is (they all look much the same, with little character). Also, I prefer quite unusual, older, lived in things, since they were often made much better than they are now, look far better (to me) and last longer. Obviously, some things, such as cookers and fridges, need to be up to date to function in the best way possible, but in the case of, say, sofas, older, hand-made ones are often better designed than new ones and can be re-covered if necessary. My sofa is from the 1920s, and had already belonged to at least two people before it reached me. I've just had it re-covered twice because the cat got to the first two covers. My dining table is Georgian (a simple oak country thing, not one of the upper-level ones), and the chairs are from a similar period and were hand-made by 'bodgers' in woods. I much prefer such well-made items created by hand, with history attached to them, than the modern junk (some of it far more expensive than the things I prefer), and also am aware of the harm human mass consumption is doing to the natural environment.

    Another thing I was thinking about earlier, sparked by your project: it is interesting that words such as 'debt' and 'loans' are now often replaced by the positive-sounding 'credit', the subtle suggestion being that having debts was to one's credit and somehow admirable. Presumably coming up with such a connotation was a deliberate tactic by the money-lenders. Also, the word 'usury' is now rarely used and is somewhat archaic, whereas usurers used to be despised. Moreover, being in debt was until recently considered to be a matter of shame. All food for thought.
    Last edited by Sapphire; 05-07-2018 at 11:12 PM.
    • Uxb
    • By Uxb 5th Jul 18, 8:10 PM
    • 1,239 Posts
    • 1,357 Thanks
    Uxb
    Another item not yet covered

    Living in a very rural area so no services.
    If access to functional transport is essential then it is equally essential you have two cars:- in effect one is a backup
    I do.
    Depending on cirucmstances one of those might be a 4WD vehicle, because one thing is for certain your local roads will not be gritted.
    • scaredofdebt
    • By scaredofdebt 6th Jul 18, 1:45 PM
    • 1,195 Posts
    • 577 Thanks
    scaredofdebt
    I actually earn money online so that more than covers the cost if you want to look at it that way, my online income is around 400 a month on top of my salary, broadband and phone contracts etc are under 100 so I am in profit here.
    Make 2018 in 2018 Challenge - Total to date 2,108
    • elsien
    • By elsien 6th Jul 18, 7:36 PM
    • 17,567 Posts
    • 44,427 Thanks
    elsien
    Credit neither helps nor hinders my standard of living as such it just makes life easier.
    I pay my cards off in full every month. I use them for the S75 protection and when booking events online, for convenience.
    You're probably not getting a representative sample on here because it's a site targeted at a certain demographic. Those who don't care about spending till they get in strife aren't likely to loitering in these parts,
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • RR4353
    • By RR4353 6th Jul 18, 9:01 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    RR4353
    Almost everything goes on the credit card - more secure than debit card and makes it easier to budget. It's (almost always) paid off though. Insurance is on monthly credit.

    I assume you exclude mortgages from this.
    Originally posted by Owain Moneysaver
    Thank you
    Yes, excluding mortgages just because there's quite a lot already being done on housing costs (and fuel and food) - so I'm looking mainly at other living costs more to do with
    the way technology/services have changed so rapidly + social/leisure costs
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

201Posts Today

2,317Users online

Martin's Twitter