26 Feb 2015

A question about : Hurrah! Embarking on a money saving adventure.

Taking the plunge and making a big commitment to save money. Figure if I keep an online diary it’ll be extra motivation to stick with the challenge.

We’re a family of 3 living in a tiny 2 bed house. Want to move somewhere larger in 2 – 3 years. Husband and I each earn around Ј26k p.a. and have relatively low monthly outgoings – no credit or store card bills, got cheap-to-run vehicle, don’t bother with expensive clothes etc. If we were really frugal, we could get by on one of our salaries most months. I need to do an SOA, but it’ll be a task for the weekend.

But we save NOTHING! I’m so ashamed to admit that. If it’s there I spend it. Looking at bank statements, Tesco swallows a big chunk of my money! So, I am going to have to ‘hide’ money from myself. I’ve got an alleged savings account linked to my Natwest current account, but it’s too easy to transfer from one to the other.

I’m going to open a harder to access savings accounts (not sure which or where) for emergencies. Planning to stow 2k there. Until I’ve opened that account I’ve given a bundle of cash to my mum, because I couldn’t bear the shame of asking her for it back. It’s only Ј200 at the moment, but it’ll be Ј200 saved this month and that’s a start.

Ultimately, I want us to save 20 – 30k over the next 2 years, quite where I’ll stash that I’m not sure – somewhere I can’t dip into it and it can hopefully get a bit of interest. Seems a colossal amount at the moment, so if anyone wants to share their success stories then I’d love to hear them.

I know this is going to be a challenge. My motivation is through the roof now, but there will be times when my willpower is put to the test. I know keeping this diary will help keep me focussed on the task. Fortunately, the husband is committed to this too, so hopefully we’ll be able to help keep each other going.

Best answers:

  • A good day. Went out and would normally buy coffee and snacks for family, which ends up about Ј10. Today, we took a flask of coffee, packed sandwiches and fruit.
    Put the tumble dryer we never use on eBay, cancelled a load of regular payments including gym (but I work out at home and run), Lovefilm, Spotify etc. This should save me about Ј80 per month.
    Paid out Ј35 for cat's vaccinations last night, but had to be done. He could do with a dental at some point, so that'll be about Ј100.
    Car insurance is due. Husband just renews automatically with Direct Line. Anyway, got him to use a comparison site and we saved about Ј106. And, instead of paying monthly and getting charged extra, he's paid it all in one go. So, that's about Ј150 saved on what he could have paid. Think he was quite impressed with my thrifty ways.
    More stuff to go on eBay later and I could get a load of DVDs down from the loft to flog on Magpie - got Ј100 out of that last time!
  • Hi good luck x
  • Hi Mudangel. Just reading through your post I thought I was reading my own story - 3 in a tiny 2 bed terrace, low monthly outgoings, Tesco swallowing any extra income.
    Then I read it again. The amount of income is what we earn between us!
    I have started a massive effort this year to save, just to have some cash put aside. What I tend to find that works for me is if I save some money or have a voucher I transfer this amount to a savings account. Similary if I earn extra. I find if its in my purse I spend it on nothing in particular (eg Mr T's)
    I set my food budget - anything saved from this goes in the account. This used to be my main downfall.
    This is obviously where online banking is really useful. Then at a certain point I will transfer this to a less accessible account.
    For me its easier if I dont have the money in my purse in the first place. Take out a budgeted amount each week. Or less if it will stop the over spending.
    Good luck! (although would love to be in your situation!)
  • Thanks, both!
    Davenport, thanks for the support! Yes, does sound like our situations are pretty similar. Very inspiring to hear all you are doing!
    It's funny - 8 years ago I was a single mum getting by on hardly anything. It was a struggle, but I managed my finances well because I had to. The more I've earned, the more I've frittered the money away. And, I was probably happier back then because I felt empowered by the control I had over my money. So, I do have good habits, but...erm... I need to blow the dust off them.
    Love the idea of setting a weekly budget! Did a Tesco shop today, but bought stuff like lentils, risotto rice, onions etc. which I can make into cheap meals and freeze. Took out Ј30 cash and I'm going to try to make that last the week. If I leave my debit card at home it's another barrier to me buying stuff.
    So, today's been another good day. Spent Ј12.34 at Tesco, which is okay, because the stuff should last. Added to that the Ј6.49 I spent yesterday (friend's 30th birthday party - bottle of Merlot on half price offer and card), I've spent Ј18.83 this weekend. Not a bad start, I think.
    Put another couple of bits on eBay. Husband just got DVDs down from the loft, so I'll start putting them on Music Magpie now.
    What's really odd is how much I'm enjoying this and that, although it's early days, it's bringing the family together. My daughter (she's 10) is getting involved too. She helped cook lentil curry and rice, then we went geocaching, because it's free and fun.
  • Mudangel - I loved the idea of giving the money to your mum to hold for you!
    I will follow your diary with interest. I have been a bit lax on preparing and batch freezing at the mo so really need to get back onto that.
    I'm guessing you've been over to the old style board. Lots of inspiration there.
    I know what you mean about managing more easily (?) on less.
  • Davenport, giving money to mum has definitely been a good idea. With money, it's definitely out of sight, out of mind.
    Out of interest (and sheer nosiness), is there anything in particular you are saving for or just saving because it's a good idea?
    Targets for today:
    Sort out childcare vouchers - yeah, I've never bothered with this. Shocker, eh?
    Don't spend any money. Nothing. Nada. I don't need to buy anything today, not even petrol. J
    Targets for the week:
    Live on the food we have bought (though may need to stock up on fresh fruit and veg mid-week).
    Clear out the bedroom. I need to sort my clothes out, decide what to keep, what to give to charity shops, what to eBay. If I can declutter a room a week, it'll also make living in a tiny house a bit nicer.
    Cycle to work at least two days. It's a 20 mile round trip, but I enjoy the exercise.
  • Oooh, and no, I've not been to the old style board. Will have to check it out. Thanks for the tip!
  • Thats ok, i'm nosey too. My main aim is to have some money behind us. That LBM moment when you realise exactly how much you spend on things you dont really need.
    Ideally I would like to move but not sure if that is a possibility at the mo. I definately need to update our kitchen though. Another idea if the moving is not a poss is to have a conservatory built on. So anything will go towards this.
    I love a no spend day too. I am working 2 extra days this week so that helps (I do 15 hours usually).
  • Davenport, I'm utterly sure you'll get there! We thought about extending our place too, but it'll still be a tiny house and the main problem is our daughter's bedroom is just a box room. There's no scope to extend that and she'll need more space when she's older.
    Yesterday went well! Achieved both targets - didn't spend any money at all and emailed our finance department to give them all the necessary info for sorting childcare vouchers. And, I cycled to work today.
    Haven't started decluttering the bedroom, that's a job to start this evening if there's time.
    Tomorrow will be more of a challenge. Each Wednesday evening my parents come round to play cards and have a meal. We take it in turn to provide the food/drink. Normally involves a couple of bottles of wine and some nice food. So, I'm thinking about sparkling white wine and orange juice instead (is that a mimosa?) That'll mean I just buy one bottle of wine. I've got a shedload of risotto rice, so I'll make a huge risotto and hope everyone eats it all, because can't freeze rice. Got onions, got stock, not sure what other veggies I'll use. Would normally spend Ј15 - Ј20 on the evening, but tomorrow the aim's to have change from a tenner.
    Target for today:
    Add to Music Magpie order. The DVDs are listed, but there's a load of CDs to go on too.
    Make today another no spend day.
    STOP PRESS: How fortunate was that?! Just got given a bottle of Chardonnay - the friend whose birthday I went to the other day drank a bit too much and has given away the booze she found at her desk this morning. I'm not much of a white wine drinker, but reckon I could put that with orange juice or will it taste minging?
  • Mmm not sure about the chardonnay with the orange juice.
    The sparkling wine with it sounds ok though. Its not bucks fizz is it? I think thats champagne and oj. Perhaps you could save that for a treat? The risotto is an excellent idea.
    well done on the cycling to work. A 20 mile round trip - thats impressvie. I work in the next village whilch is only a couple of miles.
  • Davenport, good call. Perhaps we can crack out the booze at the end of the month for doing such good money saving. Actually, that's another unforeseen benefit of this frugality; we're hardly drinking at all! So easy to have a stressful day at work and pick up a bottle of wine.
    Added other stuff to the Music Magpie order, so that should get us about Ј50 now. Need to find a box to put everything in and send it.
    Today's target is to spend no more than Ј10 during the whole day.
  • Excellent idea Mudangel!
    Mind you money saving or not my treat is a glass of wine at the weekend.
    Good luck. Actually you are putting me to shame at the moment. I really need to declutter. These small houses soon look smaller with lots of stuff around!
  • Davenport, alas, I'm not putting you to shame - I've done absolutely nothing on the decluttering front. I've rather underestimated how much time it takes to do a bit of cooking in the evening on top of all the regular stuff I need to get done. But, yes, I do hope our house will magically become huge once I get it cleared. It's going to be nice to get rid of the tumble dryer (well, if) someone buys it on eBay. 15 watchers, so here's hoping!
    Achieved yesterday's goal - Ј6.75 spent on dinner. And it tasted really good! Made butternut squash risotto, had most of the ingredients already so only needed a butternut squash and sage (got dried instead of fresh - cheaper). Was meant to get pine nuts, but they were nearly Ј3 for a little bag so I didn't bother. Bought a v. cheap bottle of red which cost Ј4 and was quite drinkable, if not the nicest.
    I'm quids in today, because it's my birthday! I've got Ј100 (how nice to still get birthday money at 34!) to give to the Bank of Mum for her to add to the savings.
    Cycled to work yesterday, so that's the two day's cycle target met for this week.
    Might have to put ten quid's worth of petrol in the car today.
    Trying to think of a target for today... Ooh, I need to find a box for those CDs, DVDs and stuff.
    Spend limit - Ј15 pounds today. Including petrol. This might be difficult - we're out helping with a running event tonight, so won't have time to cook dinner and the like. Meh.
  • I like the challenges that come with money saving in regards to meal planning. If you need pinenuts for example and they are not cheap is there anything that can be substituted? I think i've used sunflower hearts in the past. Or our local sometimes does a really small bag for a fraction of the price.
    Mudangel you have inspired me to get going on decluttering. See what I can sell.
    Many thanks! Good luck with todays challenge, and I hope it went well yesterday.
  • Hey, good call on the sunflower seeds - I'd not thought of substituting, so might give that a go. Thanks! How's the decluttering going? I haven't done quite as much as I would have liked, but it's a work in progress. Took two large bags of clothes to Red Cross clothing bank and a load of books.
    Just over a week in and I'm amazed how enjoyable and easy it is to revamp one's finances. I'm loving this challenge.
    So far, I've made some big changes to my outgoings. Totally cut everything right back. I'm set to be Ј220 a month better off without really lifting a finger.
    The cutting right back on Tesco trips, taking a list and sticking to it, buying best value for money items and planning meals is making colossal savings! Did a big shop today - rice, pasata, tinned veg, frozen food... that kind of stuff to last the week, as well as washing powder, washing up liquid and stuff. Under Ј19, which is pretty amazing. After last week's big shop, I spent less than Ј15 from Mon - Fri. We ate good, healthy home-cooked meals.
    Should add, I'm really lucky as I work for a great company which provides breakfast and lunch, so that saves me a few quid anyway. Also, husband put petrol in the car.
    Today's task has been to redecorate daughter's bedroom - makes the home nicer, daughter happier and has inspired more decluttering! Besides, we bought her a new bed a few months back - it's been in its flat-pack state ever since! So, old bed's lined up for eBay once we've assembled the new one - that's tomorrow's task. Did buy some paint today and a brush - Ј29:11. Didn't realise paint was so pricy!
    Got a box and MusicMagpie are collecting all the stuff we're flogging on Wednesday.
    Am using Spend Diary to note any cash spends or card usage. Helpful to be able to look back and see what's gone where. Really easy to use too.
    So... a fantastic week. Off out tonight with family to go to Strada - got vouchers through from Tesco, so that'll be a cheap night out.
  • Nope, paint aint cheap! Mind you my Mum wanted some wallpaper a while back and thats really gone up in price too.
    Well done with the spend diary. I tend to jusy write down what I spend on food, so I can keep an eye on what goes where. Other things I do tend to think twice (or more) about whether they are really needed (or wanted).
  • Do you have a lidl or aldi nearby that you can switch too. Much cheaper than tesco and quality is good. The variety's not always there so you still might need to pop to Mr T's for somethings.
  • Yes, I find that Domino9. I use Aldi's (luckily it near my Mums). But theres a few things I need to get from Mr T's which is just over the road from me (too handy!) Which is why I have to be even more disciplined!
  • Thanks both! Hmm, the nearest Aldi (I think) is a bit of a trip into Cambridge. Could try it if I'm in the area though. We do have a Morrisons reasonably close - is Morrisons much cheaper than Tescos?
    Weekend's been cheap and productive. Daughter's bedroom totally redecorated and new bed assembled. She has loads of storage now, because it's one of those mid-sleeper things with drawers and the like underneath. She's delighted with it.
    Unfortunately, the rug she loved so much in her bedroom has had to go - can't get it under the bed. It was quite expensive, so have put on eBay. Daughter was fine about this, because have promised her the money we get from it for her to buy something else for her room.
    Spent under Ј15 all day yesterday. Got dad a father's day gift and card. Also, got a few plants from a cheap little garden centre to redo our hanging basket. This was definitely a want rather than a need, but it looks great and inspired me to tidy the front garden. House looks loved again.
    Made Ј28.xx on eBay from selling stuff last night, so that's nice. More stuff on there which sells next weekend.
    Today's goals.
    Send the riding hat I sold on eBay last night.
    Put Ј10 petrol in the car, but otherwise make today a no-spend day.
    Cancel daughter's maths lessons for August - she attends an additional class each week and has been doing for ages, just to supplement her learning. We discussed letting her have a break from it and August seems an appropriate time, because childcare's horrendously expensive that month!
    Goals for the week.
    Cycle to work at least twice.
    Continue bedroom decluttering.
    Find out about getting curtains made up - we have blinds in main bedroom, but they're just not quite thick enough. My aunt's a whiz with a sewing machine and we already have some lovely curtain material, so may see if I can pay auntie to make them up.
    The last one's not really money saving, but is making use of what we have. Priority is to save, second to that comes improving on what we have as cheaply as possible.