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Six Month Review

Amazingly, we have been tracking our spending for six months now. 

I've learned that we spend far more on groceries than I thought, but I haven't put much effort into reducing the amount we spend. We may not be spending less but we are eating better. I am far more likely to eat both breakfast and lunch than ever before, we buy a few more luxury items like pesto, and we're making a larger variety of food - Dan makes virtually all of our bread, I make more of our snacks, we have ditched teabags and buy the loose leaf tea and coffee beans we really like, and generally we are just enjoying mealtimes more. We still enjoy going out for a coffee/ brunch, but that spend has shown a general downward trend and we're being far more choosy about when we do and don't enjoy a treat and are aware of the potential to spend when we're tired/ stressed/ disorganised.

The lowest spend category so far is laundry, since the last week of September we have spent £1.75 on detergent. Last summer I bought a lot of soapnuts and used them all summer, but I found that if I couldn't dry laundry outside then certain items didn't always smell quite fresh so I bought a bottle of regular liquid to see us through the winter. Which leads me to ask, does anyone use soapnuts? I still have plenty left but I'm not fully convinced, although towels are amazingly soft when washed with them. 

The biggest surprise has been how often we buy gifts and cards, we spend quite a lot on both, which is a very nice thing, but something I hadn't noticed before.

Not directly related to tracking but I've found the more we're doing the easier it is to keep the house clean and tidy. I am naturally messy but things in the main look not too bad - if you ignore the hay, we've been decluttering and not bringing as much stuff into the house so it makes sense that order would follow eventually.

We've not spent much on home improvement, which I suppose makes sense as it's been wintertime. Furniture has cost £334.99, for that we bought a chair, mirror and the Ladderax. Fingers crossed this will change later in the year with the work on the bathroom.  We haven't spent much on the garden yet, other than the new fence panels and some bird food. I kept hold of £50 gift money for the garden. I think that's going to go on trellis as the fence at the back of the garden is totally rotten, but it's not in our garden so not for us to deal with. We have plenty of seeds and I hope to sow most of them over the next couple of months.  

Spending on books, magazines and clothes has virtually disappeared, we bought a few things with our birthday money but other than that there has been no spending in those areas at all. I still have a ton of books to read so that's not a problem at all, Dan is making very good use of the library. Craft spending should reduce to nothing too as I have plenty of everything, and the manager gave me the hot glue gun she had bought for the shop (with her own money, not petty cash), she won't need it in her new office job. 

Nothing earth shattering there, but it's interesting to observe the difference between our perception of spending and the reality. My goals for the next few months are to keep a months worth of grocery budget in the household account, finish saving for the bathroom and have enough cash for the work needed on the car.  

Also, massive congratulations to Burnley's Michael Keane who made his England debut this month. 

Comments

  1. A really interesting read it is good to see where the money goes to.

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    1. Thanks, it's a really useful exercise.

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  2. Not that we keep a written log of our spends, might not be a bad idea to - but our largest expense after the mortgage is probably the combination of food and fuel. I think I will start at the beginning of next month and log our outgoings - see where it goes!

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    1. Hope it works for you. It's a bit of a pain to note everything down sometimes but it has been worth it so far.

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  3. That's great to have a good track of your spending over half a year. It's something I would really like to do but can't quite get myself together - I have no idea what we spend on anything.
    We use soapnuts & they're fab. I wash the nappies with them everyday and find that they work better and remove stains better than washing powder. I mostly do our household laundry with soapnuts too, but every now and then add a little Bio D powder as a 'treat'! Wild!!

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    1. It has been really useful.

      Thanks for your views on the soapnuts. I can imagine how much of a treat adding that dash of Bio D must be! I bought a kit with my soapnuts including an in-wash stain removal powder and a stain remover stick, they are both fantastic.

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  4. Eating better will be less expensive and add to your quality of life in the long run.

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  5. It's always good to keep track of spending. The results can be quite surprising. It can be a useful way of cutting back on the things that you're not bothered about in order to spend a little bit more on the things that are important to you. X

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    1. You're right, a bit of creative deprivation is a very good thing, we get so used to buying or spending money on something we don't even think about it, but we don't necessarily fully appreciate it either.

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  6. Sounds like you're doing really well with your budget. I'm just starting out with a new one, so I'll let you know if I met my goals six months from now. Like you I seem to spend a lot on cards and gifts, which is nice but I am trying to rein myself in a little as I think I do go overboard on occasions.

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    1. The increase in gifts for us is just because we have more people to buy for these days. I know that's obvious but I don't think we'd taken it into account before. I'd love to hear how you get on with your budget.

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  7. We recorded everything we spent for 3 months last year, it was an interesting task, which has left us with a change in out spending habits.

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    1. It's an eye opener isn't it, I'm enjoying it far too much!

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  8. Eating well is very important, it will also help keep medical expenses down. I have found I use less coffee when I grind beans.

    God bless.

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    1. I agree about the coffee, the beans may seem expensive at first but compared to a jar of instant coffee, or ready ground they last longer and we seem to get better value for money.

      Thankfully we (currently) only have to pay for medication, not to visit the doctor so our medical bills aren't bad at all, but staying healthy is always a good investment.

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  9. New look blog looks fab! Could you add a button to link to next or previous blog? Xx

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    1. Thank you. I have absolutely no clue how to do that but I will try!

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  10. I have a spreadsheet for a spreadsheet. I hold so tight to the budget for everything - EXCEPT date night and if I have messed up on menu planning. As you said, when I am a bit disorganised it all goes to pot. I am trying to help us bulk out our pensions. Very hard.

    I used soap nuts a long time ago but gave up. I cant recall why?

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    1. I'm back on with the soapnuts now and no complaints so far.

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