living on a tight budget

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Annpan
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living on a tight budget

Post: #226212 Annpan
Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:42 pm

We are trying to live off of £50 a week.... we need to find the money to pay for our house.

Petrol (so OH can get to work) is not included nor are bills or debt payments, nor are any of the things we need for our renovation....

Every other penny spent is being written down in a book so we know exactly where our money is going.

We are a family of 3 (+ cat) but at the moment we are living in the city (just for the next few weeks) and I am finding it very hard.... although I do have a fridge and cupboards full of food... it feels like I don't have the choices which I have got used to. I need to budget for going on a bus (£3) and there is no more stopping at a cafe for a tea or coffee.

I know once we get back home the £50 will go much further as we grow our own, make our own and don't go anywhere during the week anyway.

Does anyone else live off of a strict budget? how much for how many and any tips to share....


Anyone else want to join me?
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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226218 happyhippy
Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Not sure what your situation is as you mentioned "when we get back home"so I am guessing that the situation you're in right now is temporary?I've lived on a very tight budget when my kids were small,but I never felt poor.You're probably already doing alot of the lifestyle choices mentioned on this forum already.I think what helped me mentally alot was remembering that there are alot of people on this earth way worse off than what I was.I had a roof over my head,food in the cupboard,fresh water and so on.As I am guessing you're in a temporary situation,its abit pointless I suppose suggesting you grow your own food and I will assume when you return "home"you'll maybe be doing that anyway.Mentally,go with the flow of life.Try and look at £50 a week as a positive challenge rather than something negative.Rather than pay for a cuppa in a cafe,but yourself some nice teabags as a treat.Embrace free activities,like walking in a park/countryside,libraries,and what not.Visit the supermarket later in the day to pick up some cheapies.Not sure if this has helped,but rest assure,everything is impermanant and always changing.

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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226222 Susie
Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:53 pm

I am sure you do this, but the thing that helps me above anything else is drawing all the money I can spend out at the beginning of the week and not using my debit card unless there is an emergency. If I have to deal in cash it stops me adding in bits, because even if they're small it adds up.

I don't replace things before they have run out (except teabags and toilet rolls) because if I go to the shops for one thing I end up buying more (only small things but again it adds up),

I don't economise on things where it doesn't save lots of money but is depressing to have the cheap versions (butter and coffee),

Every time I want to buy something, I go and declutter a cupboard. I don't know how it works but it stops me wanting to buy more! (Mostly ;-) ),

I look at my bank balance on the internet all the time because if I can see it I'm less likely to spend it. It's when I lose track of how much I've got that I end up spending more, if that makes sense.

I am not on as tight a budget as you though so you may be doing all these and more. Wishing you luck though, it'll all be worth it in the end and your house will be fabulous!
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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226230 StripyPixieSocks
Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:31 pm

We're on the very same tight budget £40 - £50 per week and it is tough but do-able and I've been doing it most of my adult life so it's something I'm kind of used to and you really do become super creative!

When we cook we tend to cook bulk meals we can freeze such as Lentil Soup, Middle Eastern Chickpeas, Muttar Paneer and so on and so forth. Yes, it means eating the same meals a couple of times a week but when you've no choice it's better than nothing.

Beans, beans, beans... put them in everything. Making Cottage / Shepherds pie? put some beans or lentils in to make the meat go further, bulk it out with Carrots, Onion and Celery

Try and buy things like pasta, lentils and beans in bulk somewhere, I don't mean sacks of the stuff but say 1kg bag of chickpeas goes a long, long way and a bowl full of pasta with a simple tomato sauce and some mushrooms is filling and cheap.

Also, if you have something like left over mashed potatoes, why not mix in a little cheese and some spring onion, pop it into a muffin tray, bake and serve. We did that last night and had a sausage and some Cabbage with it and it was lovely.

I think the main tip from me would be, see it as a challenge and not something to be stressed about, frame of mind makes things alot easier to deal with and I know you must have enough to cope with already.

If I think of anything else I'll add it later but most of all I just want to send you a HUGE ishy :hugish:

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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226237 Annpan
Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:35 pm

Thanks guys, we already do all of the things listed above :mrgreen:

The one thing that we are loosing is the treats and I think that might be especially hard for my LO. We home educate and will need to work hard to ensure she doesn't loose out on anything

@ happyhippy Our home was destroyed by an incompetent and nasty builder. We have been unable to live safely in our home for a year (though we did 'camp' at it over the summer) Our new builder is close to completing a full redo of the work. But we have had to pay out several times over what was budgeted... including expenses while living away from home for so long (not so easy to control a budget when you are sleeping on a floor and paying your part in the 'household expenditure')
We now have immense debts to pay off and we have still got all the costs of finishing off the house to make it safe and comfortable for us to move back home.

But apart from that...... we're fine :cooldude:
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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226239 niknik
Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:57 pm

It is hard isnt it!

I´m on a similar budget, self-imposed, to pay off debts etc...........

I think sometimes its actually harder, when it is self imposed.more will power required to say NO to some things!

writing it all down certainly helps, and has made it easier to resist buying some things.
I have several bank accounts, so I make sure the money gets distributed to each one as soon as I have it, and only 1 has any "spare" in it.

Ive also set some stiff ( but realistic) budgets for phone, mobile, electriciry, water, anything where I can maybe save a little.

All the savings ( well not lots, but a good start) I may open another account for, see them build up a bit, before they get paid out! but Ive got all that written down too, and that helps as well.

Yo have to have some treats! (Mine is the occasional coffee when I go to town.) and maybe even a longer term treat... that you could save for seperately. Iput 2 euro coins aside.......... they can soon mount up, and unless you get loads all in one day, you dont really notice putting them away!

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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226244 oldjerry
Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:15 pm

This last year,as our small holding has wound down,we've had to buy stuff that I,ve always grown,or raised myself(till a few months ago I'd never bought an egg) but it's a new challenge,and we're on a VERY low budget.In an odd way it's quite liberating,but big probs at kids birthdays,christmas etc.The one thing we've done that helps the most(and I'm sure you do it anyhow)is to always do a whole weeks menu before going shopping with a specific list.To repeat what's above,pasta sauces ,pesto,arrabiata,below the knees etc are easy to make from scratch,and a big bowl of each will last in the fridge for ages and make LOADS of meals. Pastry/pasta/pizza are easy from catch too,and combine any of those with the sauces,and things begin to look up.You'll know this,and it's stating the obvious,but the more you make yourself,and the less meat you eat,the less your food bill.It seems counter intuitive to buy olive oil and double O flour when you're trying to preserve the pennies,but it works for us. Best Wishes.

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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226256 Annpan
Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:15 am

Buying eggs is my biggest bugbear just now... we have 5 chickens living in a foster home 30 miles away... and my veg plots are still full of root veg that I haven't managed to harvest... blumin' madness it is :roll:

We are buying a lot more meat than we used to, but still bulking it out in sauces, etc. We grate mushrooms, carrots and courgettes - a small handful of lentils - and pop in a stock cube.... it more than doubles the 'mince'

We have decided that anything left over from the £50 at the end of the week can be used for treats over the weekend... It is some time before we have to worry about a birthday luckily. (giant cardboard box full of balloons is on the cards for Shorty)

We also have plans to do a super-major-clear-out (via ebay) to raise more funds.
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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226261 boboff
Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:08 am

The key to long term success with this I personally think is record keeping.

I use microsoft money to plot all expenditure, and income. You reconcile your accounts with it, and it produces cash flow and net worth reports. It's not a strict accountancy package so you can break the odd accounting rule quite easily if it suits you. ( i.e. classing say endownment payments as all expence or all "investment" depending on what you want)

I would say however Ann that although I don't know your situation, obviously, I would try and cut yourself a bit of slack due to the fact of your homelessness. Really if you can live "rough" on £50 a week, when you get home you should be able to manage on £35! Nothing to compare with your story, but a couple of years ago we were ground floor flooded and I found the most expensive part of the whole thing was eating out for a few nights whilst we decorated! I bet you can wait to get home, these cowboy builders should be imprisoned.
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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226264 happyhippy
Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:29 am

Annpan,really sorry to hear about your home!As I said earlier when I was younger we were quite poor,but did'nt feel it.Years later,now I have a good income,I look back on those "lean"times and bloody wish I was still back there! :iconbiggrin: Those days were some of the happiest days of my life!

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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226265 bonniethomas06
Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:36 am

I know the feeling Annpan - it is SO hard to stick to a budget. The crazy thing is that if we (me and OH) had set ourselves a budget and stuck to it, we would be in a much better financial position than we are now as we would have had spare cash to pay off debts and things. But time after time we set ourselves a budget and time after time we loose track (OH is not one for writing expenditure down) and end up blowing it.

However, when I was on my own I have done it...and I think the key is not to go out! Like Susie said, the most fatal thing is to go to the shops for one or two things. We did it last night with catfood, and ended up with wraps, nachos, cheese, spring onions...

When I was really economising, I did one weekly shop and that was it, for the rest of the week I didn't go into town and if I ran out of something I just lived without it. And ended up saving lots of cash that would have gone on magazines, cans of diet coke, stationary (I have a stationary fetish - just watch me try to resist buying a crisp, blank 59p exercise book!). But I guess if you are living in the city it is a bit unavoidable if you don't want to be stuck in the house all day.

It became a bit of a hobby, not spending anything and writing down every last p. I spent a lot of time on this forum: http://boards.fool.co.uk/living-below-your-means-50074.aspx with other like minded scrooges.

Hope you manage and hope you get back in your lovely new (ish) house very soon.
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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226279 red
Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:55 pm

i think a lot of us here are on a tight budget. we certainly have been since OH changed his job and cut his hours.

Good record keeping and good planning are the key. Work out what you have to set money aside for (childrens clothes for example) and put that away. then the rest, divide down to a daily figure and work out what you will buy that week etc. it becomes almost a full time job.

I agree with other's comments - pulses are the way forward - mushrooms are not much cop for bulking meat out as they are relatively expensive and give very few calories. Salads are also expensive for few calories - make soup instead. Next time you are back at the house, dig those root veg (what do you still have left? we only have leeks left in the ground) as they will start sprouting and go to waste.

We walk a lot. walking is free. and again - as others have said. dont go to the shops.. if you do have to make a bus trip - make it cover as many things as possible..

and lastly of course, you could look at trying to find some evening work? I worked part time as a book keeper when I decided to home educate my lad, so for many years I worked in the evening at my job - sometimes doing payroll at 10 pm etc. you do what you have to do. I realise you are only temporary at your brother's house, but you might be able to find some temp work?

just suggestions.
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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226280 niknik
Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:12 pm

I think one also needs to be flexible, or t least have . a sort of budget float, in order to take adavantage of any special offers, bogoffs or whatever., otherwise it will completely blow the weekly/monthly budget, even though saving in the long run.......
The danger of course is buying something one doesnt really NEED, just because it´s cheap! although of course, something on special, couldbe your treat for the week/ month or whatever!

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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226284 grahamhobbs
Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:12 pm

boboff wrote:The key to long term success with this I personally think is record keeping.

I use microsoft money to plot all expenditure, and income. .........


My gran used to have a load of jam jars in her larder, each week she would put a penny or tuppence in each, they were for her various expenditures and included jars for peoples birthdays.

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Re: living on a tight budget

Post: #226286 Susiwaa
Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:29 pm

I made a shopping list template, tick the boxes of the things we want and don't stray.

Well that's the theory anyway! Has worked in keeping us on task and I do look to see what we need before we go so that cuts down the thinking-while shopping.

Good luck!

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