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Today our attention has been drawn to an article on the BBC website. Recent arguments about how much should be paid to benefits claimants has led the BBC to seek expert views on just how much money an individual truly needs to live reasonably. Much of the information provided is useful for anyone that is trying to control their spending and keep to a budget. However, the information is especially relevant for those living on the type of restricted budget associated with debt solutions such as a Scottish trust deed.
In this blog we focus on the trust deed expenditure category of “housekeeping”. This includes food, non-alcoholic drink, household cleaning materials and toiletries.
According to a professor of nutrition at London University an adult could eat a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet costing just £12 per week. This would equate to £52 per calendar month. How could this possibly be true?
According to the BBC article the key is to focus on low-cost fruit and vegetables together with lots of starchy foods such as potatoes and pasta. To stick to the budget most people would need to restrict their intake of meat or fish to a couple of occasions each week. Examples of fruit and vegetables that are suggested include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tinned tomatoes, bananas and frozen fruits. Suggested sources of proteins include borlotti beans, peanut butter, eggs, cheese and milk.
The professor does however point out that most people will not be able to eat for £12 per week in reality. Much planning would be required, as would good cooking skills and the availability of the requisite kitchen utensils. He believes that £24 per week would therefore be more realistic for most people. This would equate to £104 per calendar month to cover food costs.
Household cleaning products are not specifically mentioned in the BBC article, though a minimum figure of 80p per week is mentioned for toilet paper. If we were to propose a total figure of £3 per week in this area the calendar month total for cleaning materials might be around £13 per individual.
Toiletries are covered. According to a Family Spending Survey the average individual adult spends £2.30 per week on toiletries and soap and a further £3.70 on hair products. Over a calendar month this would total £26 per month for an average adult in the UK.
Food: £104 + Household Cleaning Products: £13 + Toiletries: £26 =
£143: Potential Individual Adult Total Housekeeping Monthly Budget.
How does this compare to the housekeeping budget that you might be allowed if you’re an adult individual starting a trust deed in Scotland? Will you have enough money for food, cleaning materials and toiletries?
The organisations that produce the expenditure guidelines (often used for debt management plans, debt arrangement schemes, protected trust deeds and sequestrations) ask that the precise details aren’t released by debt advisers. We can however confirm the following:
- The guideline figure for an adult individual’s housekeeping budget is higher than £143.
- The minimum guideline figure for this budget is considerably lower than £143.
- The maximum guideline figure is considerably higher than £143.
The conclusions that can therefore be drawn are:
- Signing a trust deed should not mean that your housekeeping costs become unmanageable.
- You should be very cautious not to commit to an unrealistically low housekeeping budget that cannot work.
- With thoughtful budgeting you should be able to eat healthily, look after yourself and keep your home clean during a trust deed.
To read our guide about Scottish trust deeds expenditure guidelines click here. You can also click here to read the full BBC article mentioned in this blog. To ask a question about expenditure guidelines you may wish to click here to visit and join our forum.Tags: cleaning materials, food, housekeeping, toiletries, trust deeds