Helping Mums Embrace Gentle Living & Easy Journaling

Redundancy Tip No4: What expenses can you cut straight away? What do we really need?

I’m not a pessimistic person, but facts are facts, and it is possible that it will take a while to get a job after a redundancy.  So it’s important to quickly work out what expenses you can cut straight away, as it will reduce stress later on.

I’ve been wondering about society’s views on what we really ‘Need’ for a few months.  Frankly I think that as a society we are spoilt and we are bringing up spoilt kids, and I don’t exclude myself from that.  I’m probably a bit old fashioned, but is Sky really a necessity or is it a luxury?

So very quickly after the big northern hairy one was made redundant I started to look around at what we could cut out:

I split them into:

  1. Planned costs
  2. Costs to cut straight away
  3. Cost to avoid
  4. Costs to delay
  5. Costs to cut later




It’s useful to do this, because it shows you how much you would have spent, and therefore how much longer any redundancy money can last than it might last in a normal year.  E.g. holidays, DIY, new clothes and new gadgets.

Christmas: I’ve explained to Curly Headed Boy that some more expensive presents take longer to make and therefore Father Christmas couldn’t make them and have enough time to do everyone else’s presents.  I keep reminding myself: whats the worst thing that could happen?  So he might not get everything he might like, but that’s not so bad.


I suppose these are the luxuries that we really don’t need.  Luckily we don’t go out socially lots, don’t eat many take aways, don’t smoke, and only drink a little.  I’d already removed my fake nails.  The cleaner sacked herself.  The biggest cost for me was that my business wasn’t paying it’s way.  So my focus has been on sorting that out.  It’s easy for hubby, he’s already saving us a massive load of money without train tickets, Starbucks and lunch!  I can’t do without my Frizz Ease shampoo, but my main luxury is paraben free skin stuff and makeup, which I could do with downgrading.

A tip is to have a ‘Use up month’: Use up food at the back of the cupboards, check how many spare toiletries you have and make sure that you have used everything up before you buy something new.


I’m terrible in Boots, I don’t know what happens to me, so I’m banned from there!  Christmas decoration shops also bring out the worst in us.  I have definitely banned TV with adverts, and am sticking to Disney Junior, Cbeebies or stuff we have recorded; we don’t need to give him more ideas!


Of course the dentist hits this one, any excuse!  With Christmas coming up I’ve just delayed buying myself anything and it’s all gone on my christmas list.  I’d like to do a writing course at some point, but there’s really no problem with delaying it for a while.


As soon as you can it’s important to look through all your accounts for the past year and check out what you regularly spend money on.  There will be house, sky, telephones, car insurance/tax/mot etc.  If you don’t have clarity on your monthly/ quarterly/ yearly spends, then now is the time.  As you look at them, multiply weekly/monthly costs by 12 to see how much they cost you per year and whether they are worth it.  Make a list of priorities and what you realistically can do without.

Check out my decluttering tips, because you can actually make money on the old stuff you have hanging around as well.


If you feel panic about the idea of spending less money or cutting back, I do understand, because society has ingrained in you that you need this stuff.  So ask yourself ‘Whats the worst thing that could happen without it?’ and keep asking until you calm down.  Realistically if you can eat, and have somewhere to live, then you’ll be alright and you will have the time to turn this all around.

13 thoughts on “Redundancy Tip No4: What expenses can you cut straight away? What do we really need?

  1. Some great ideas here, its really hard to cut costs. Can I add a few which have helped us:

    Use patches like Clothes plasters on clothes to extend their wear and personalise them
    Try to make your diet more vegetarian than meat based
    Use the library
    As a blogger offer to try and review those paraben free products 🙂
    Cancel Sky immediately if you have it (free view has loads of channels)
    Get people to call you on the phone if possible
    Dont go shopping, do everything you can online- we save a fortune this way
    Seriously review all those monthly charity donations if you have them
    Try to avoid using the car
    Restrict kids party pressies to around five pounds
    Go to charity shops immediately after Christmas and snap up all the unopened toys etc to save for next year/ birthdays

    As you know i can be incredibly frugal with the food I also do things like dilute the fruit juice with water for the kids as this makes it last a lot longer and is probably better for them. I also check the size of organic veg against normal as often its actually bigger.

    I’m quite mean aren’t i? lol x

    1. Fab tips for people Claire – I reckon I’m going to have to make a special post for things like this so that they don’t get lost in the comment feed. Love your plaster ideas – and yes, we don’t go for red meat much cos it’s better for you not to.
      Sky – thats the one I’m baulking at because we don’t go out much and my favourite channels are not on free view :o(
      It’s amazing what a difference it can make reducing limits from £10 to £5 can make – imagine 25 kids in a class – thats £125 to spend on coats and boots.
      I don’t think you’re mean, I think you’re wise. xxx

  2. I was in an odd position, I had gone on mat leave unexpectedly at 27 weeks, and was fairly sure that I wouldn’t go back to work, I was made redundant whilst on Additional Mat Leave.

    It was great because mat leave gave me a chance to get used to living on limited means. The first thing I did was stop shopping at Boots. I can go in there to buy shampoo and easily spend £50 without really noticing. So I don’t even use my card now, I do use my tesco card, but Boots is just lethal for me!

    It’s amazing when you look at your money where it all goes, and where you can cut back. Some stuff for us is essential to keep, we tried to do without Sky but because we don’t go out and don’t socialise a lot, it came back! But we got a great deal and consolidated our phone and internet, so really the Sky wasn’t costing much more than what we paid already.

  3. My biggest tip would be to make a ss of all your outgoings and make sure that you only carry cash, that way you avoid those impulse spends. I have started a new blog called

    1. oooh thanks for the tip for your new blog – I have a diagram I use in my book to help people organise their finances, I must do a blog post about it.

  4. Great tips – I’m a big fan of meal planning and cooking in bulk to keep costs down. Plus when you meal plan you can have good ideas for how to use leftovers

    And turn the heating down 2 degrees – you can put on an extra jumper and you get used to it quite quickly but it will save a fair bit over the course of the winter (we are heated by oil – you get very aware of the price of oil and how fast it is being used when you can see the guage dropping every day)

  5. I’m such a rubbish cook though!! I get as far as cooking enough for there to be spare for lunch.
    And I’m freezing at the moment – such a wimp!

  6. I have already cut back our expenses as much as possible. We generate our own electric, grow most of our own food, barter for things we don’t raise. I am not a vegetarian and eat a low carb diet for health reasons and meat is a big part of it. So I buy meat on sale and can it, since at this time we do not have any refrigeration. I highly recommend using a pantry and root cellar for storing your harvest. I also forage for wild plants in the forest around us, for food and medicinal purposes. I think I am about as frugal as you can get. I make most items needed myself.

    1. Wow that sounds like a fascinating lifestyle – we don’t tend to have root cellars in the UK or pantry’s apart from old houses. I reckon you could make extra money by doing holidays for people to come and see how you live, or to learn from you!

  7. Hi Lisa
    Fantastic ideas here, love your frank, down to earth but cheerful attitude to it all. I agree with you on so many fronts, alot of it is about changing habits (lifestyle) and thinking about what our securities/happiness are based on. In this society its v hard not to have been drawn into the material wealth equals happiness philosophy, but we can start to free ourselves of it, as you say.
    Being forced to cut costs can be a fantastic opp to review what’s imp. in life, and to be creative – necessity really is the mother of invention.
    My husband was recently made redundant, so your tips are v helpful.
    I’d like to add one small thing: instead of ditching going out all together for our fortnightly ‘date nights’ we’re going to eat out at lunchtime when you can get fantastic deals, plus you don’t tend to drink so much alcohol in middle of day!
    I’d like to add that another person’s comment re cutting back on charitable giving isn’t necessarily always the right thing to do as we need to continue to be generous and think outwards, and we find as a family that when we stop giving we’re poorer in a different way. However, if its simply impossible not to cut charitable giving for mere practical reasons, another option is to be inventive and decide to give time instead of money.

  8. Thanks Siobhan! Do keep in touch and let me know if there is anything I can do to help with your hubby and his redundancy.
    Brilliant idea about lunch – infact I like going out for coffee (skip food, go straight for cake!).
    Yep, totally see what you mean about charitable stuff – I suppose we are all a bit more careful about who we give to now a days.
    Thanks for such a comprehensive reply xxx

I love hearing what people think about my posts!