Re: Help me save money
Sorry to hear your hubby was laid off and that you still have a mortgage.
I offer advice as someone who retired at 48 and with the mortgage paid off. So first things first . . .
Don't listen to your advisor suggesting equity release. That's just a way for the bank to get its grubby hands on your house.
If you want rid of this debt then get an OFFSET mortgage.
This is a flexible mortgage where you put as much as you can afford in each month, ideally more than they are asking for. You also put any savings you have in there. The beauty is that you can pull the money back out at any time if you need it which is a good backup.
Meanwhile the interest that they charge you each time is based on how much of the mortgage remains and so if you have every last penny you can pull together in there, then the interest payments come way down. In the long run this shaves many £1000s off the total repayment and reduces the overall payment period by a number of years. This is how I personally saved £1000s and paid the mortgage off about 5 to 10 years early.
Now to money
You need to sensibly look at your life habits and make changes. You want to be able to generate as much cash as you can to cover your basic life needs whilst putting as much into that offset mortgage as possible.
Do you use Credit Cards? If so do you pay the balance dutifully each month and never get charged interestm or do you have outstanding balances accruing more interest?
If the latter, cut up the card, and pay off the balance asap.
Do you have Sky TV and or subscriptions to Netflix or other similar services?
If so get rid. Sky is ridiculously expensive imo and a real drain on available cash. That monthly subscription could be going into the offset mortgage to significantly reduce interest payments.
Do you have one or more Smart Phones on contract?
If so get rid of them.
Monthly mobile phone contracts are a money pit. Some people pay many £100s a year for phone contracts for their families.
Replace with simple PAYG phones using 1pMobile
This will limit your expenditure (phonewise) to just £30 a year plus :
1p per text
1p per min calls
1p per MB data
The money you save from monthly contract fees should then go into the offset mortgage each month. It will drastically reduce interest payments and thus the total mortgage period.
Get rid of any other monthly subscriptions if you have them. Papers, magazines, clubs etc.
How many cars do you run? If it's more than one, ask yourselves if you could live with just one.
Others here have rightly suggested ways to save money on food.
Cook "tumbledown" meals in bulk to save money.
Large pots of chilli or bollagnaise which you free in portions. They can be used for Spag Bol, or on jacket spuds or to make a Lasagna and so on.
Grab cheap veg wherever you see it and turn it into large pots of soup. Again freeze individual portions.
DO NOT buy stuff from supermarkets unless you can't avoid it.
Buy everything in bulk and put it in the garage or somewhere else. Get hold of a Macro or CostCo card yourself or from a friend or go there with a friend who has a card. Be discerning as not all items are cheap. Buy tea/coffee in bulk. I buy bags of 1200 Yorkshire tea bags at a time. Get any herbs and spices here too as they are large quantity and massively cheaper than supermarkets.
ALDI and LIDL are your friends.
You can buy a whole tray of 12 cartons of chopped tomatoes for pennies. Essential for those chillies and bolognaise. Toilet paper is cheap there and good strong quality.
Buy whole chickens to eat rather than individual breasts or thighs. Whole chickens are cheap and you can pick tons of meat off them. Eat 1/2 as a roast dinner and the rest for sandwiches next day or put the rest into a homemade chicken pie etc etc.
CostCo sell bags of frozen fish fillets of varying types at great value. Cod, Tuna, Sea Bass and Salmon. Stock up your freezer. Don't buy crap expensive fish from supermarkets.
Finally, determine what cash you need each month for food, the odd coffee out and so on. Draw that cash out at the start of every month and use it rather than bank cards. Stick to it. Manage it as a budget or cash kitty. It will help stop you reaching for the debit card and over spending.
By such frugal methods and with that Offset Mortgage, you will soon be the owner of your house and have security.
There is nothing more worrying in older age (apart from bad health) than the prospect of losing your home. Get it paid for and be the owner, then it can't be taken off you. All you then have to worry about is basic food to live and the mandatory taxes.