Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Saving/Spending See-Saw

We've saved more but we've craved more. We tried to create the perfect spend free (or spend no more than the £10 weekend budget) month, but we got the balance wrong. 

Yes there is a ton of free stuff, but free stuff isn't necessarily free. Well, it probably is when you really don't have any extra money or you're one of those frugal machines who stamps their foot and says "no, ice cream made from a frozen banana at home is as good as one from the ice cream van while you're out". Let me tell you, it's not as good. That doesn't mean it's not nice but it's not the same. So we spent more and we spent it on things we wouldn't normally spend money on. Yes, we saved money by walking to places but when it's hot I still want a drink if the bottle we've taken with us is empty. We might have gone to a free event but there might be a collection or a raffle or something. There is a sensible point between spending loads on a day out and staying in all the time because it's the cheapest way. And even though some frugal types will roll their eyes and think I'm pathetic, if an extra fiver will make things even better than I'm going to spend it sometimes. 

There's a balance between sacrifice and deprivation. Dan needs his holiday from work and when he's on holiday he doesn't want to think about scrimping. I need my little lifts throughout the week and don't mind saving a few quid here and there on holiday. It's understandable, I'm at home all the time, he's out all the time. Makes sense our idea of a treat would be different. We need to compromise about it a bit more.

On the plus side, the safety net savings are all fine and dandy. Unless there's some kind of emergency, that we should hit our initial savings goal about a year earlier, so in two years rather than three. It feels very much like it's needed too, the need to escape seems stronger with each passing week. And I guess even if escape is impossible then it won't be because we haven't made plans, just that it's not possible to do it. We might be banging our heads but at least it will be against a softer surface.

Speaking of frustration, another narrow defeat for Widnes last night. Hmmm, small leaks are sinking that big ship. Maybe the lesson is different than I thought...


  1. Hello everyone. I am also trying to balance saving and spending. Does anyone else find that the whole balancing act really does take up a lot of time? For me, that's how it got out of whack in the first place - I just didn't make the time to deal with things. Does that ring a bell with anyone else?
    A few weeks ago I started dealing with all receipts immediately after getting home. I'm writing everything down in a long list to see where the money really goes. I'm only taking the amount of money that I actually need in my purse. I'm rounding each item up to the next pound in case things have gone up. That seems to be happening more and more these days I'm afraid.
    Seems to be working so far. I'm also getting a weekly bank statement - my bank does these for a very small fee. It's well worth it in my view. I don't like the idea of online banking but I am happy to jot at the bottom of my weekly statement all the bills still to go out before I get paid again and anything that I have taken out of the bank. That way I can see exactly what is available to spend.
    Does anyone else have any simple budgeting tips? They have to be simple for me to keep going! This is a great blog and I will add a link on my own blog for you.

    1. Hi Sandy, thank you for your comment and adding a link to your blog.

      That does ring a bell, it doesn't take much for things to start to unravel then the next thing you know it's heading towards chaos.

      It sounds like you're off to a good start. You're doing a spending diary which can be a real eye opener. It works in two ways 1. you know what you're spending and 2. you keep an eye on yourself when you want to buy something because you know it will be written down!

      I think what to do depends to some extent on what your goals are. Something that is fairly simple, but a little time consuming to do is a budget. Making a list, either a spreadsheet or good old pen and paper of your income and expenditure. Fixed costs first then variable costs further down. Then you know what you're working with, if you then want to track spending then you can do that separately on a day to day basis.

      I think if you get through a month of tracking then take a look at what you've spent money on you'll learn a lot. Some places to cut back will leap out at you, as will some spending patterns - if you always buy something when you go to a particular place etc. They emerge quite quickly.

      If you want to make cuts to your budget I'd say be flexible, it tends to take a couple of months for everything to settle down into a routine, there will be things that work and things that don't just keep wiggling and you'll find a budget that works for you.

      Take a look at some of the blogs in my sidebar, there are some great tips and ways of working contained within them. They could give you ideas. Frugal Queen has been doing a mini series about budgeting and debt recently which is also interesting (as are the comments). You can find her at frugalincornwall.blogspot.co.uk