After taking a bit of a break over the holidays, I’m back with a roundup on my Year of Money Diaries.
I went in to 2018 feeling like I was in a bit of a rut financially. In the past, I have been relatively good with saving..but only when I had an end goal, something tangible I was saving for.
Since buying my first home and moving in, everything seemed so expensive, I was basically hemorrhaging money and it was basically impossible to save anything more than the bare minimum.
Even after I had furnished, decorated and fixed ip a few bits (very slowly!) I had fallen into my old habits of wasting money on “stuff.”
In an effort to put a stop to this, I decided I needed to figure out what this “stuff” was by tracking my spending. Every penny. That’s where this blog came in. I needed to give myself some level of accountability or I would quickly lose motivation!
I’ve written previously about how tracking my spending has helped me control my finances. Nine months on, every statement still stands. I have definitely become more aware of what I’m buying and have learned to be a more mindful consumer.
I’m not saying I’ve cut out all discretionary or impulse purchasing, not by a long way! However, with now one full year worth of money habits to review, I can make an informed decision of where I am willing to spend the big bucks and where I need to cut back.
A couple of things to note…
Before we get down to the dirty details:
- This is my spending, not my household spending. Myself & OH don’t have joint accounts as such, but he transfers me half of our regular bills each month and all payments come from my accounts. Therefore I have only included what I personally pay towards the household bills/groceries etc.
Having looked at both of our spending for the year, we actually worked out to have spent almost exactly the same amount on joint expenses!
So essentially, when looking at joint costs such as household bills, if you double my figure that will tell you our total.
- The percentages are based on my take home pay, so after tax, national insurance, workplace pension and student loan repayment have been deducted from my salary.
So without rambling on, let’s see the numbers!
Given that this has been my first real year of actually focusing on saving again, I am pretty pleased to see my savings rate come in at just under 29% (it was 19.86 and I’m so annoyed I didn’t calculate this earlier and make up the difference!)
I’m also pretty impressed with making over £600 in interest and cashback over the year! This is basically free money for having done a small amount of research and ground work when opening new savings accounts.
I shop online through Quidco to earn cashback on purchases, I find it is great for insurances/financial products, I’ve got up to 40% back on home insurance and set amounts on up to £50 for having clicked through their link to open a new credit card. Literally free money as I would have been doing these things anyway!
You can sign up to Quidco using my referral link here and we’ll both get a £5 reward when you make your first purchase via the site.
My pensions and investment contributions for the year are rather dismal, but this was to be expected.
I opened my first stocks ISA in the middle of the year and have been paying a very small amount into this. I’m not seriously concentrating on this yet though as I’m still working on building more of a cash reserve.
Added to that, my workplace pension is pretty rubbish, with my employer contribution only being 2%, having risen from 1% in April. I am also only able to pay in the legal minimum of 2.4% direct through my paycheque. I do however, have another small direct debit paid into it each month.
At the beginning of 2018, I had £1200 of credit card debt which I’d racked up a year earlier while unemployed for a month. I’d transferred it over to a 0% card and chipped away at it. I finally made the last payment in December, leaving me basically debt free coming in to 2019.
I also could have done without spending almost £1000 on dental work! I’ve now signed up for an insurance plan which will cost under £200 for the year.
This is now around £2000 extra I can divert straight into savings this year, bonus!
I’ll have a post coming later this month looking over my financial goals for last year and the year ahead.
Here’s a sneak preview:
“save more money…”
The end has come for my (almost) weekly money diaries. I feel it’s unfair to subject people to any more of the ins and outs of my very average life, and the series has served its purpose.
I am going to carry on tracking my spending though, as it’s been surprisingly hassle-free since I set up a decent spreadsheet.
You’ve certainly not heard the last of me yet though, my financial journey has only just begun!
I’d love to hear how you got on with your 2018 targets. Has it spurred you on even more for the year ahead? Did you, like me, end up changing your goals through the year? Let me know in the comments!
If you are a fellow blogger, feel free to share a link to your own yearly roundup post.