Throughout 2018, I will be tracking every last penny I spend, and sharing it here weekly. I’m a (late) twenty-something lady, living in the North of England with my Other Half, commonly referred to as OH. I travel regularly for work, and often spend more time on the motorway than in my own home, which can often account for my fluctuating Car Expenses and entirely random Grocery costs! By the end of the year, I’m hoping to have a better overview of where my money goes to each month, and have a realistic retirement savings plan in place (as well as the many other savings plans I have in my head, but you can read more about that here). You can also read the full series of my money diaries here. I’ve built myself a personal money tracker spreadsheet, I am armed with my bank statements and a monthly budget spreadsheet and I am ready to rock!*
I am late again! I’d hoped to get this finished and posted yesterday, but as I was working on an event from 8am – 2am, I think that was probably a bit optimistic of me.
I’ve had a great week as I had a couple of days off work to spend with a friend who was visiting from home. It was great to see her and catch up, she has a lot going on at the minute, having recently had an offer accepted on her first house, so most of her time here was spent discussing very adult topics like mortgage interest rates and life insurance. We felt very grown up, so offset this by doing it over cocktails and ice cream in the rain.
Over the rest of the week, I managed to cross a lot off my to-do list. Feeling productive, overall! I sometimes think I work better when I have a shorter week, as I feel more under pressure to wrap things up before taking time off, even if it is just a couple of days.
Weekly Spending Review – The Breakdown:
Bills: £210 – So the dreaded Council Tax payments restarted this month. I have spoken before about how much I detest paying this, I don’t know why I have such strong feelings towards this one bill out of all of them but it really annoys me having to make the payment! In the UK, if you pay monthly, you pay 10 months of the year, from April – January. My actual payment is around £150 per month, but last year I overpaid earlier in the year meaning I had an extra month of no payments. I’m hoping to do the same again this year so have gotten off to a good start in the first month.
Groceries: £14.65 – We didn’t bother doing a “Big Shop” last week, as we knew with having friends visiting we would likely eat out quite a bit. On her last evening here, we went to an Indian restaurant and came home with so much leftover, it did myself & OH for diner the next day too!
Aside from that, we have been trying to clear out the freezer and cupboards and are really making an attempt to use what we have currently got before buying more. OH has picked up a few fresh bits here and there to accompany this.
Expenses/Car Expenses: £4 – I still haven’t filled up my car! I am down to 1 bar on the gauge though, so this will be a must at some point this week. I kind of want to not fill up and see how long I can really go though. I don’t have any long journeys to make this week, so really am not in any big rush.
This £4 was just a toll bridge fee for travelling to a work meeting last Monday. The venue itself isn’t that far, about 25 miles, but it’s so frustrating as all the main roads in that direction charge a toll. With having had a couple of days off work and one day working from home, I’ve not had many work related expenses at all. I did have one event last week, where I should be expensing my lunch, but as usual, I forgot to save the receipt, so that one’s on me!
Lunch: £12.54 – As above, this should have been expensed really…But also, this covers 2 days of lunch! My meeting on Monday was in a university building and I always forget how cheap those canteens are…I had soup with bread, a cup of tea and a Kit Kat for £1.85! Seriously, £1.85! I didn’t get a receipt for this either, but it also should have technically been expensed. I often let small expenses like that slip though, I probably should be more careful as it all adds up!
Entertainment: £78.50 – This is where I had expected to be a spectacular failure this week, but I’m very pleasantly surprised! I had a feeling it may be a fairly cheap few days with my friend visiting, due to her current position with the new house she is understandably trying to keep her outgoings as low as possible. We made cocktails at home (Spiced Daiquiris and Brambles) from my extensive liquor stash, went for a walk, and generally spent our time talking about how to save money so being less inclined to spend it!
I treated both of us to lunch and a couple of drinks each day she was here, and she picked up our dinner tab on the last night as a thank you for having her. Not necessary, but she insisted! I sent her photos of our leftovers meal the following night so she was aware she had actually paid for our dinner for two nights!
Misc: £30 – It was my grannies birthday yesterday, so I ordered her some flowers to be delivered as I knew I would be working all day and would forget to call! My plan worked perfectly, as she obviously rang me as soon as they arrived so I didn’t need to remember. I do hate sometimes that I can’t spend birthdays etc. with my family, but the company I work for now are much more understanding when it comes to family-time, so I know when there is a big special event, I can get the time off. This wasn’t a special birthday and it turns out my granny actually spent the afternoon cutting her grass, so I didn’t miss out on much!
To be Returned on Expenses: £4
I’m quite happy with how last week panned out, especially considering this included a decent overpayment on my Council Tax. I’m pretty pleased with myself when I see how much I have cut back my spending on clothes and makeup and general “bits and pieces” as I know this is where I have just been pilfering away most of my spare cash.
I have spent most of the weekend sorting out my savings as my new account is finally up and running properly with my online banking set up. I’m feeling much happier now that I can clearly see where everything is, it’s all in order and I can get back to “zeroing” off my current accounts each month. Until I opened this account, all of my cash was spread out in an attempt to make the most of some high interest returns. It’s tidy again and this makes me very happy!
I’ve also found that I am so much more likely to save money when I am tracking it in this way. I have discovered that when putting together my Money Diaries XL posts, I love seeing a high percentage of my monthly salary going to my savings, and if I wasn’t tracking every penny, I really don’t think that would be happening.
How do you keep yourself motivated to save money? I’m also aware that I do have a savings goal in mind – I am saving specifically for a new car, so it’s always easier when I have something in mind! Tracking my spending may not be so helpful for saving when I don’t have an end goal in the back of my mind.