*This post is in association with the Money Advice Service
We’ve been living in our current home for the past ten years this Summer and if you had said to me back then that we would still be living here plus a toddler and a dog, I wouldn’t have believed you. We bought our little two bedroomed terrace as a stepping stone. We had grand plans once we were on the property ladder, which was still tough to get onto all those years ago as it is today, with plans to save up and move on to a bigger home fit for a family with a big garden, a drive and maybe even a garage. Little did we know at the time that the recession was about to hit and our dreams of a moving on were completely shattered.
The cost of running a home has increased year on year and without divulging all our personal details, ten years on we are finally finding our feet financially. As well as our university debt to pay off, we had to live. We had bills to pay and needed to eat. We only had one car all those years ago with hubby taking the car as priority to get to work. We have had to make cuts, scrimp here and there and cut out the luxuries to make ends meet.
The cost of running a home – An infographic by the team at Money Advice Service
To organise our monthly finances to cope with the cost of running a home, we had to create and stick to a realistic budget. We had to take advice because let’s face it, it’s not stuff you learn in school, college or university. We look at our expenditure and see what bills there are to pay and those are dealt with first. These include the house bills; gas, electricity, council tax, water, house insurance, TV licence and any service contracts that we pay into. Next we pay all the other commitments; any debt, our car hire purchase payments and the line rental for our mobile phones. We then take out a sum of money each month for our food and petrol budget. We use this sum of money over the month and it restricts us from going too mad during a supermarket trip. Finally, whatever money is left we save or spend. We save a small amount each month so we have something to fall back on and we spend the rest on things like new paint for the kitchen, a family birthday or replacing a fence panel that blew out of shape in the wind.
If you’re struggling with your financial situation (or even if you’re not) and you’d like some free, unbiased, independent advice on how to manage your money, the Money Advice Service can help. Their dedicated website has a wealth of information to read with details of who contact to get advice and support. The Money Advice Service also helps families during milestones such as having a baby with details on maternity and paternity pay, how to make a will and what happens to the finances when someone dies. There is a wealth of practical and invaluable advice on their website and it is good to know that the Money Advice Service are there to help and will help you plan for your future or support you through a crisis.