Sorting out personal finances

Just wondering if any of you had some good tips on keeping on top of your finances. I earn a decent enough wage and am a homeowner, but following a recent split with my partner things are beginning to get a bit tight. So far, since she left (that is all settled financially), I have managed not to get into too much bother but I can see the credit card balance slowly creeping up. I have 4 more years on my mortgage and have an outstanding loan of about 8k to finish alongside my mortgage (I will still have 5 years of work ahead of me, so if the worst came to the worst I could 'finish' that off with a loan at the end......what d'ya think?) I am not too depressed about it as things haven't yet got too far, but I was looking at ways of trimming my outgoings...for example I have mortgage protection but it is unlikely I will be made redundant within the next 4 years....can I get out of paying this now? That would be £30 a month saved in one go. I don't eat out or go to the pub so much now so I already save there. I have gym membership but that ends soon, and will be going (saving £41).

Any other ideas?

Bill
 

mcshroom

Bionic Subsonic
I'd suggest doing an audit of your budget to see where the money all goes. A good site to look at for this is moneysavingexpert.com, especially their budget planner here
Also look at the things you can compare like phone, gas, electricity, broadband online and see if you can save there.

I'm sure there will be others.
 

PBancroft

Senior Member
Location
Winchester
This is easier said than done, but I try not to buy anything unless I have the money in my bank account to pay for it.
I use Money Strands to try to monitor what I spend and where - the trick to this is to put as much as possible on card rather than pay cash so it will do much of the work for you. I use debit cards as much as possible (I don't own a credit card). This helps (or in my case did anyway) identify what your true outgoings are, and identify where they can be realistically cut back.
 

Spinney

Bimbleur extraordinaire
Location
Under the Edge
Take a look at your mortgage protection - there is stuff in the news about various protection policies being mis-sold. If this is the case for you, you could get some money back. (I think it applies mostly to protection for personal loans, though, so it may come to nothing. On the other hand, if you are paying for a protection policy on your loan as well...).

But £30 a month for mortgage protection :eek:
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
Without knowing your lifestyle, it's hard to say, but don't forget all the little savings you might be able make on things like groceries. Do you eat a lot of preprepared food? Cooking from ingredients could well be cheaper, and more enjoyable. Supermarket own brands are usually just as good as the branded stuff - indeed, it often IS the same stuff, just labelled differently. Even Basics/supervalue stuff can be fine - there is the odd case where it's a false economy, but you can experiment. Stock up on non-perishables when there's a special offer on. Don't bulk buy if it'll go to waste, but do if the stuff will keep.

I have a meat budget - the meat or fish component of a meal is no more than 50p. I buy mince and divvy it up into portions to freeze, I get sausages when they are reduced to clear and freeze them too, in 50p's worths*. The reduced to clear sections get closely inspected whenever I shop. Living carefully like this has got me through some lean times, and means I have the money to spend on treats everyso often. It might only be a few pence here and there, but 'look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves' as the saying goes.


*this has a double advantage of meaning that a portion is likely to be, for example, 2 sausages, not 3 - hence, I'm still losing weight slowly.
 

buggi

Bird Saviour
Location
Solihull
if you pm me your email i will send you a breakdown template that a debt company gave me. its basically to help you work out what goes out in a year (all the things you forget about!) and what the monthly cost is. that way, you will know what you are paying and what you don't need, and what you should be putting away each month to make sure you always have the bills covered.

Then you total the monthly bit up, subtract it from your monthly wage, and then hey ho you have your disposable income (i.e the amount you can spend on shoes and stuff).

it will make sure you don't miss anything off, but also when you look at the completed list you will see where you are bleeding money where you don't need to.

i left mine too late, and now am in financial poo (which is getting better) because i buried my head in the sand for too long, so if i was you i'd get right onto it.

pm your email and i'll send you the template.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
'Mortgage protection insurance' - ha!

I thought I was being sensible when I took out M.I.P. but when I was made redundant in 1990, I discovered that it hadn't been a particularly useful investment. I started claiming on it and immediately had the full amount deducted from my housing benefit. I also had to carry on paying the premiums so I was actually out of pocket. 

To cap it all, the insurance company sent a 'loss adjuster' round to try and intimidate me into stopping my claim. He was a giant of a man with a very scary attitude. I'm 6' 1" and a fairly chunky build but this man was about 7 inches taller than me, with a neck wider than his head and made me feel like a naughty child for daring to make a claim. I cancelled my insurance as soon as I got my next job!   :angry:
 

swee'pea99

Legendary Member
Lots of good advice above. As others have said, mortgage protection insurance has a very bad reputation, somewhat akin to those 'extended marranties' Currys and the l;ike are always so keen to sell you. Basically, a very bad deal for the consumer, a nice little earner for the industry. So I'd dump that. for sure. Add the £41 gym mebership and you're already over £70 a month ahead of the game. Not a bad start.

Saving on food isn't hard - especially if you have a freezer. You can make up massiv batches of spag bol sauce and chilli con carne and freeze it in one-serve portions. A bit of mince and a lot of (cheap) canned tomatoes and (cheap) canned kidney beans, then all you ned is a handful of rice and you've got a meal in 20 minutes.

Learn to use ebay - you can save lots on all sorts of things.

Shop around when it comes to things like insurance - again, you can easily save loads of money with a little homework.

And do use sites like moneysavingexpert - full of good tips and special deals you might miss.

Good luck.
 

BenScoobert

Senior Member
Location
Halifax
Ditch the insurance

Whore your credit card to another company, usually 3% to balance transfer and get 15-18 months interest free, then whore it again to another company. Try haggle the transfer fee down too, I got virgin to do £5k interest free for 15 months on a 1% transfer fee.

Swith banks to someone like hsbc and they gove you £50 for moving and they do all the work. Which also gives you a good opportunity to double check your direct debits.

Also you may have been misold the mortgage insurance, make an enquiry with one of those companies and you may be entitlled to all your payments back, plus interest.
 

BenScoobert

Senior Member
Location
Halifax
Just to add, we used to have a sandwich caravan, therefore we got a wholesale card for every wholesaler near us.

Now we use them for our regular shopping, you can buy tins in 12 packs and meat in bulk and freeze it, saves a fortune.
Easiest way is make up a fake receipt for a sandwich caravan and tell them you just bought it and want to stock up, after that you're in.

Avoid supermarkets, convenient, but not cheap, get to your local veggie market, much fresher too.
 

PBancroft

Senior Member
Location
Winchester
A quick thought... You mention you have split with your partner and this is all settled financially, so what's happening with the house? Are you buying her out, or is she still keeping a stake (or was it only ever in your name to begin with)? If the house is yours have you considered downsizing if its a viable option? If you live in a largish house designed for a family, but could now move somewhere smaller you may be able to pay off your mortgage now rather than five years time...
 

swee'pea99

Legendary Member
Just to add, we used to have a sandwich caravan, therefore we got a wholesale card for every wholesaler near us.

Now we use them for our regular shopping, you can buy tins in 12 packs and meat in bulk and freeze it, saves a fortune.
Easiest way is make up a fake receipt for a sandwich caravan and tell them you just bought it and want to stock up, after that you're in.

Avoid supermarkets, convenient, but not cheap, get to your local veggie market, much fresher too.
Yes - forgot that one. Get a local printer to make you up a letterhead (sheet of A4 paper with 'AJH Trading' or something on the top) - probably do it for £20 for 100 sheets. Then take that to Makro and sign up, and go there every two or three months to buy bog rolls by the 48, kithcne rolls, washing liquid in gallons and so on - everything you use lots of, that doesn't go off. You'll probably pay about half/two-thirds of what you would at sainsburys (plus it saves you lots of trips to sainsburys!)
 

BenScoobert

Senior Member
Location
Halifax
[quote name='swee'pea99' timestamp='1280000453' post='1339575']
Yes - forgot that one. Get a local printer to make you up a letterhead (sheet of A4 paper with 'AJH Trading' or something on the top) - probably do it for £20 for 100 sheets. Then take that to Makro and sign up, and go there every two or three months to buy bog rolls by the 48, kithcne rolls, washing liquid in gallons and so on - everything you use lots of, that doesn't go off. You'll probably pay about half/two-thirds of what you would at sainsburys (plus it saves you lots of trips to sainsburys!)
[/quote]

Print your own, thats £20 blown!!!!
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
[quote name='swee'pea99' timestamp='1280000453' post='1339575']
Yes - forgot that one. Get a local printer to make you up a letterhead (sheet of A4 paper with 'AJH Trading' or something on the top) - probably do it for £20 for 100 sheets. Then take that to Makro and sign up, and go there every two or three months to buy bog rolls by the 48, kithcne rolls, washing liquid in gallons and so on - everything you use lots of, that doesn't go off. You'll probably pay about half/two-thirds of what you would at sainsburys (plus it saves you lots of trips to sainsburys!)
[/quote]

I can see the point, but on the other hand - a single person doesn't get through washing up liquid very fast.... for me in a small flat, storing bulk stuff is an issue.

The only cash and carry I know of is 3 miles away. Sainsburys is about 500 yards, so convenience isn't really an issue. Depending on your transport too - would you drive to buy in bulk, as opposed to walk or cycle for regular smaller trips?

Anyway, I get all my washing up liquid free, through work (the dregs people leave in the bottles they recycle). I've started collecting laundry liquid too... ;)
 
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