Hubby read this post this morning and knew I would immediately want to follow it up.
We are always looking for ways to save money, and the first port of call is to see where your money actually goes.
Keeping a diary, or a notebook in this case, is an excellent way of keeping track of your spending. I grant you there are some people who will find it amusing, some a useless exercise, some obsessive, and occasionally someone who thinks, yeah, I can do that and have nothing to lose.
When it comes to money, I don’t really care what people think of my methods, as for me they get results.
I’ve been keeping a food spreadsheet for years, and one for the household expenses too, mainly because we are on a limited income which is more than likely about to reduce.
The day to day spending, mad money, or treats if you like, do tend to get away from us though and rejoining SW in May meant that money was otherwise allocated, even though I paid ‘upfront’ for a twelve week package.
The first thing we stopped was our weekly (sometimes twice) visit to the coffee shop for that delicious cheesecake and gluten free carrot cake. That set us back £7 a time, so over a year we’re looking at £364 for a weekly treat.
Then there were the heavenly sticky buns, they of the 2 for £1 variety, which we would also have at least twice a week when we shopped so that’s another £104.
Is it no wonder the other pounds piled on I hear you say! Add to that a roll or sandwich out occasionally, plus three cookies for £1 and that’s another £345 or thereabouts.
So we are up to over £800 on just three food items.
We also stopped buying certain things, like biscuits, crisps, chocolate bars and sweets, concentrating more on fruit and fresh veg, which actually cost more but was better for us.
These past couple of months have seen us walking more to the High Street to do a little bit of basic shopping rather than use the car and buy more than we intended. Last month we only had to fill the tank once compared to topping it up three times in previous months.
Last year we did 8500 miles, so 708 miles per month on average. Our mileage is 50 mpg which equates to 14 gallons per month, or 60 litres @ £1.27 per litre is £76 pm.
There are ways of amending your spending habits once you know what they are, but for us, our three questions (and revision when we were on the boat) still hold true:
Do I want it?
Do I need it?
Will my life end if I don’t have it?
Revised in 2014 to
Can I eat it?
Can I wear it?
Where am I going to put it?
Today? I’ve gone back to my priced shopping list, and
If it’s not on it, we don’t have it.
If it’s more expensive than my price, we have less.
If it’s too pricey, we go without.
I hasten to add we eat and live very well despite our circumstances, and we still have the occasional treat out which acts as one of our 3 meals for the day.
So, if you are looking to save money, make a note of what you spend on a normal month just as Simple Living Over 50 did, and see where you can tweak it.
It will pay off in the end. Trust me.