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.