Tuesday, 27 August 2013


 . . . or lack thereof.

You know, when I moved out of my flatshare at the end of June, I wasn't stupid - I KNEW I was going to struggle a bit. That was one of the reasons why I'd actually chickened out of even TRYING this year.  Obviously my landlord took that decision out of my hands, which I'm probably a bit relieved about because moving into a place myself HAS improved my life. And obviously the fact I didn't have to scout around because of my ex passing his place on to me when he was moving helped too, and I think I would have struggled to find anything much cheaper in this area or any other area I like because what I am paying is pretty reasonable. But . . .

When you go from paying less than 400 pounds a month for EVERYTHING - and I mean everything, from rent to bills, to council tax and internet - to paying MORE than 400 just on rent itself . . . it's pretty daunting. This is pretty much the first time in about six, seven years that I've worried about how much electricity I'm using, panicking because I've left a light on unnecessarily, actually properly worrying about how much money I have on a month to month basis.

I've missed a birthday present and a wedding present for friends so far and when invitations come up for nights out I do actually have to think about whether or not I can afford it. Hell, I've only even ordered off asos ONCE since I moved. Once in two months??? That's pretty unheard of for me.

I'm trying to think of ways to make some extra money, not so much to live on, but as savings "just in case". I've been taking all the overtime I can get (within reason; I do need to have some semblance of life outside of work after all!) I've got some clothes I can sell, I have had three boxes of stuff for Music Magpie that I actually had pretty much packed up months before my move, I'm doing online surveys for a pittance,  I'm writing reviews for ciao again . . . oh, and I have a shitload of change that I really need to take to a Coinstar machine at some stage . . . but it's not going to make a big dent in my skintness.

It looks like I'm going to actually have to - gulp - make up a budget.

I have no idea where to even BEGIN with that, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

In the meantime though, the feeling when I walk in my front door, close it behind me and realise I have the whole place to myself . .. it makes me feel FAR less bitter about my newfound lack of disposable income . . .


  1. Money issues suck. Like... well, you know.

    If you can't spend less, the only way is to find a way to make more. Okay, I sound like the master of the obvious but a budget is only helpful if you know you can cut some expenses, and sometime you simply can't :-(

    Paying cash for everything helped me when I was broke. Less ATM fees as well.

  2. You can try the envelope system. I just read about it and am trying it out myself this month. Here is the blog about it - http://lostintravelsblog.blogspot.sg/2013/08/budgeting-and-envelope-system.html

  3. Ugh I know the feeling. I am working on every extra thing I can to get more money in just now. Doesn't help that I just got a pension, life assurance etc. I hate being an adult!

  4. Being broke sucks. The better half an I obviously pay halves on everything, but with the wedding to pay for, we've found ourselves somewhat... lacking... in the funds department.

    Enter 2nd jobs. Just because there are things I will not skimp on!

    We've got a strict budget for our regular outgoings. It's strict as in you can't go over it, but not strict as in "live off beans & toast and never turn the heating on". It's comfortable.

    You've got to

    a. list your absolute must outgoings - rent, council tax, mobile phone bill, Sky/broadband bill, electric & gas and any debt you may need to pay for.

    Anything left over?

    £200 will be plenty for foods. You'll be able to get loads of great quality foods (think 'extra special', not 'basic value'). Doesn't seem right? Check how much you've spent in grocery stores in the last few months and average it out.

    Anything left over?

    Have fun.

    The envelope method works great if you like to play around with cash. If you don't - have two bank accounts. One for running costs, 2nd for funsies. Your wages go to the 'funsies' account, where a standing order immediately transfers all the necessary funds to the 'running costs' account. Main thing is? You don't have a debit card or a chequebook for the running costs account - this is not to be spent.

    Most importantly, become an absolute scrounge. Never pay full price at Dominos/Pizza Hut/Papa Johns - there's always voucher codes about. ALWAYS use one. This goes for absolutely everything. Most restaurants will have vouchers, they're in spreebooks, etc etc. Now, I'm keen on vouchers when you're going to buy something anyway. But don't buy something that you weren't going to just because you've got a voucher. That's false economy. So are BOGOF deals - yeah, the other jar of gherkins was only 5p, but are you really going to eat all that before it goes bad? That's 5p you wouldn't have spent...

    Pay all bills by direct debit - companies will give you discounts/money for paying that way.

    When shopping online, always use cashback sites - some will affiliate your debit card with them and you'll get cashback for using it everywhere. (this is when it's useful to get a credit card - some of them are actually quite good cashback-wise! But you gotta pay it in full every month.)

    Meal plan. By planning our week's meals in advance, and by eating the same meal every day for a week, I've managed to cut down our food budget from 80 to 50 quid a month. It's little things like that count.. Yes, I spend a few hours doing mealplans and doing the shopping (check out mysupermarket.co.uk to make sure you get the cheapest prices), but it's well worth it. Also note that some supermarkets will pay for you to shop at certain parts of the week. Every time I do my foodshop & get it delivered Thu-Sun, I get £5 back. So for each shop I get £5, which I then use towards my next shop.

    CAN YOU TELL I'M A TOTAL SCROOGE?! (a.k.a an accountant...)


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