The most tedious element of adult life…
Budgeting is something most of us do without actually thinking or realising, some people manage it mentally, others prefer to have something written down – whether that be on paper, spreadsheet, etc.
How I budget…
Personally I don’t think I’m too obsessive with my monthly budget plan, however others have commented I am a bit too anal with planning.
Basically I have a list of all bills that come out of both mine and my partners banks, with the dates they come out. For example every month on the 15th our rent is paid straightaway as it’s my partners payday, but some bills come later in the month so I like to plan in for them.
As well as monthly bills, I write a list of all things I need to buy that month, so clearly grocery shopping, anything we need for the house, or Emily, anything that needs doing with the cars, etc. (I’ve noticed I use ‘etc.’ a lot…I really have no idea why.) Then I also make a list of things we might want, or recreational costs such as ‘date night,’ a day out.
Another useful thing I found to do was save all receipts & if there wasn’t a receipt I would favourite the email containing the purchase details, then roughly add up all ‘luxury’ purchases…to see exactly how much I had spent un-necessarily.
So, a lot of money for most families tends to be spent on food, which I know will only increase as Emily grows. Now for such a necessity, I genuinely have an issue with how expensive food shopping has become. However, I don’t think my small blog is going to encourage Morrison’s, Tesco’s and other supermarkets to suddenly lower their prices. So, instead I look online at different prices, everything I can buy from Aldi I tend to, especially fruit and veg as it works out significantly cheaper.
Another of my favourite places to food shop is Iceland, obviously they sell mostly frozen food, so it isn’t the healthiest choices I could make but it is convenient for those nights Emily is super colicky and I have no chance at making anything fresh.
Iceland’s food seems cheaper than the big Supermarket’s & they also appear to have upped their game. They have brought out new products, a luxury range, they did some amazing food over the festive period and then they have branded product’s such as Bird’s Eye, Pizza Express & Millie’s Cookies, just to name a few.
With shopping when we first moved in, we tended to do a ‘big shop’ which was good for some stuff but we were wasting so much fresh food. Now I tend to get all ambient foods, cleaning products & toiletries at the start of the month to last the month, then I do a weekly meal plan so I can buy accordingly.
How I fail at budgeting 😦
Even though I would say I am ‘good’ at budgeting, I wouldn’t go as far as saying I am ‘great,’ haha.
I tend to buy more than I need, especially when I go shopping for cleaning and toiletry products. I have tried to overcome this by writing a strict list of what I need but somehow looking at a new set of bedding in Tesco’s I seem to be able to justify it as a need not a want.
This year, we had a lot of things to buy for the arrival of Emily, so even though we were earning more because I was working, we also had a lot more to buy but if I’m being 100% honest if we had been more disciplined we could have easily saved double what we managed…oh well.
The savings we did have we didn’t touch, still haven’t but we did forget to save for Christmas. Even though Emily was 2 months old so really didn’t need anything or know what was going on, we had a lot of other family to buy for. We managed it, but seemed to be left with little money at the end of each month and seemed to have to plan so much more closely. This year I intend to save an amount of money each month in diffefent savings, so I will have savings for Christmas 2017, a holiday, new car and then general savings that are long-term.
I think budgeting is like being on a diet. You eat 1 biscuit, then a few more because ‘it won’t hurt,’ just like you spend a tenner every week or so on something completely unecessary because ‘it won’t matter.’ Yet if you managed to spend £10 pointlessly a week (easier than you think – coffee, cake, 2 new tops a month) you could save over £500 more a year. It works better for me if I think long-term.
Basically budgeting is boring, boring & boring. It has to be done though, so although I sound like I should be an editor for Money Saving Expert or on the next episode of superscrimpers, it is rare I find myself in urgent need of next payday but I also treat myself and my family to be happy.