So in my last post i started talking about getting ready for my safari of life and the need to sort out my budget… so here i go.
OK to make a budget we (and by we i mean me) have to take a good hard look at that dirty paper (and metal) stuff that seems to make the world go round….
Now i know money isn’t everything, but it sure does help!
So the sensible place to start is with my salary and fixed outgoings. Being the admin savvy person that i am i started logging all this in my pretty little filo-fax (And yes i know i could do it all via a app in my IPhone) and a spreadsheet. – There are hundreds of templates you can use to record the same information but i’m a bit anal about layouts and colour schemes. (Personally I blame growing up in the 90’s when everything was neon and we just had to have our own way on everything)
Starting by listing all the in’s and outs that are regular for my finances like salary, pension, insurance, phone contracts etc (Not the things I think will being coming in or going out like mothers day or birthday money from gran- I’ll look at that later)
It’s looking something like this (minus the $ signs) – Well i wasn’t going to bloody well show you the real one was i?? lol. Forget the budget and actual columns for the moment.
I’m told the key to a really good budget is
Know EXACTLY whats going IN and OUT at ALL TIMES.
For me this is stuff like Car insurance, phone bill, gym membership, travel card, council tax, house keep (a.k.a Mum fund) cat food and card payments. You probably think this is pretty tame… well you would be right. But there is always room for improvement!
Now you have to look at habitual spending (1) so that’s things like trips to the high st clothes stores, hair salon, nail bar, eating out, lunches at work, cinema etc. You i would wager this is where most of our (OK MY) hard earned cash seems to seep out the back pocket…. but when you actually sit down and look at it you realise just how ridiculous it is – Cue the memory of your gran telling off about how much STUFF you have and how in her day people we happier with less. – But she is right! All that want is draining your cash. Trust me.
From writing up my spending habits i realised i was spending (at one point) up to £31.50 a month on going to the cinema (and that’s not even including the popcorn, hot dog or PARKING!!! and don’t even get me started on 3D) So before you know you could be (like i was) spending up to £150+ a month on spending just to pass the weekend. Those visits to Westfield’s and Oxford ST are rarely cheap ones aren’t they?
That said, the days where the cat ate better than i did and ‘oh lets just go and watch Die Hard’ (for the 2nd time) are waayy behind me! Changing your perspective makes a huge difference. So i decided to cut down on trips to the cinema to only the films i was desperate to see and limited them even further to only one a month (unless the extra one was Star Trek or the BoyF’s one free pass on a martial arts film- you have to comprimise sometimes) and limited eating out to a monthly date night/ night out with friends with a strict £25 personal budget. When its gone its gone. So if i only spent a tenner, then i had the green light for drinks with work chums with 15 quid to spend. (Very civilised i know!)
Just to be an extra goodie two-shoes, i started making my lunch and doing the ‘will i wear it’ test in clothes shops. (You know, you try it on and look in the mirror and ask yourself- When will i wear it?- you’d be surprised how often you say no even though it looks great)
Morral of the story….
Buy what you need and scrap what you don’t.
Now i aim to resemble that person you see in Tesco with all the coupons and wearing the same jeans from last season- i mean come on… who really needs 6 pairs of light blue jeans anyway??
- Habitual spending- the spending of money on things you don’t actually need but buy because of boredom/ routine or impulse like the new Kurt Geiger shoes because they were on sale event though you have 10 pairs or the Pinkberry Fro-Yo because it looked pretty.