Being a number cruncher it will come as no surprise that I also wear the hat of Money Manager, and as such, prepare a budget for us every year.
As things work out, I am usually a year in advance, so 2020 is more or less covered apart from the every day or week to week basics which can fluctuate. However in switching over to the new spreadsheet for the coming year, it is always interesting, well for me anyway, to see how we fared on the previous one.
Hubby and I take money matters very seriously. We have to, especially as our income took a hit last year and so adjustments had to be made accordingly. We live very well considering our circumstances, but then we think along similar lines and think twice about spending anything on a whim. Our three questions still hold us in good stead and practicality:
Do we want this?
Do we need this?
Will our lives end if we don’t have it?
Anyway, I have already mentioned that our food outlay was £2.26 more than 2018, working out at just under £34 a week for the two and a half of us. Not bad seeing as I’d allowed £35 following price increases and then extras when I rejoined Slimming World.
I am therefore working on the same for 2020.
Our phone budget is £30 per month, but this does not include anything we put on our mobiles which can be flexible depending on our usage. In 2019, we used £59 less than the budget, so that too can remain at the same amount for this year.
Our water rates were also £48 less than budget, so another plus in the household coffers.
Our heating and electricity is set at £46 a month, and we had a new tariff in October as our current one expired. It meant having smart meters too, and we are expecting our first full bill under the new charges later this month. Last year, we had a refund of £81 so this was sufficient for our needs, and I was told it should also be enough on the new tariff. Our half and half bill left us in credit but with a little note that over the year we might end up owing them money, so although we are keeping our payments at £46, I’ve made allowances for an extra £4 a month if necessary.
Our local (council) tax is likely to be 5% more than 2019, so I’ve allowed a 10% increase until we know for sure in March.
Buildings and contents insurance was much less than I’d allowed, and our car insurance was also less than budget, but not by much!
Car expenses last year ran well over though. It didn’t help that we needed four new tyres, a new battery and new brakes, but clawed a little back by £26 less in fuel, even though we had extra trips to Cheltenham to sort Dick out. The road tax is constant at just £20 for the year, and our Green Flag roadside cover just over £50.