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Financial review: January

 |  Budgeting

I figured that if we’re going to be serious about this mortgage free in 5 years thing, I should be looking at where our money is going before we look at how much we can start moving over in overpayments. This is made slightly more time-consuming by the fact I have the joint account AND 2 current accounts (1 personal, 1 used for mostly business stuff).

Joint account expenditure

Non-negotiable outgoings
Mortgage: £412.97
Childcare: £309.88*
Council tax: £103.00
Energy: £99.00
Internet: £11.49

Total: £936.34

Extra planned expenses
House insurance: £134.83

Riverford: £91.42
Tesco: £134.85
Spar: £5.89

Frugi: £39.95
IKEA: £131.50
lovefilm: £4.07
Petrol: £75.92 (mostly Karl)
Pets: £44.05

Grand total: £1464.49 *faints*

* there was a mistake with this figure, our March bill will be much reduced apparently

I am really, really shocked by how much we spend on groceries especially as this is what I would consider a ‘good’ month; I always considered us fairly savvy shoppers. I’ve cancelled the lovefilm account (this was supposed to have stopped last year!) and obviously the IKEA shop doesn’t happen that often. I’ve taken the fruit bag off my Riverford order as Izz has stopped eating fruit again, and ditched the eggs in favour of my butchers who sell free rangers for about 50p less x6.

Current account #1 expenditure

Non-negotiable outgoings

Extra planned expenses
Birthdays: £22.79
Hosting: £420 (thank you, savings)

Co-op: £7.25

Cash: £30
Eating out: £88.08 (wtf?!!)
Petrol: £81.00 (must be something wrong here…)
Monsoon: £8.70
Mothercare: £32.00 (later refunded, didn’t fit)
Hobbycraft: £29.58

Grand total: £687.40

Not sure went wrong here… I never usually spend more than a fiver on food outside the home! Petrol too, must have let Karl use my debit card because I don’t see how my little car could have used £81 worth of fuel! Eeek.

Current account #2 expenditure

Non-negotiable outgoings
I transfer £400 p/m into the joint account but as this remains MY money (briefly) it’s not exactly an expense…
Credit card: £25

Extra planned expenses
Credit card: £75 (overpayment)


Business expenses: £70.76
Paypal: £76.77
Amazon: £11.98

Grand total: £259.51

What concerns me is a) the amount outgoing this month is more than the amount incoming, and b) I somehow had it in my head that apart from the IKEA spend (4×4 expedit) that we’d somehow had a good month for spends vs. income. I’ve been toying with the idea of leaving my debit cards at home when I go out, and I think that seeing the above in black and white, well there’s no two ways about it.

February WILL be a better month.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

14 comments so far

  1. Emsz said:

    What works for me is having my budget separated in little envelopes, and every time I spend some money, I have to take that money out of the envelope :)
    You can do this with cash, or if you have a smart phone, there’s an app for that :P

    I almost never go over any more. I need to update my spreadsheets more though. Thinking about planning a certain time a day every week to go over them.

    • Jem said:

      It’s basically what I’m doing for groceries this month. Aside from my Riverford stuff which comes out automatically, I assigned £100 cash to an envelope and that’s all I’m allowed to spend on food. I’ve also allocated myself a personal budget of £30 for petrol.

      So far so good, but it’s only the 7th!

  2. Chantelle said:

    Good luck!

    I’m not recommending this, but I just keep a running tally in my head. I think of how much money I want to have saved in my account during the month and I don’t dip below it. I’ve tried writing down how much I spend before, but it’s always been a waste of time. But despite that, I use my debit card as much as possible as it keeps a hard record of all my expenses and I’m a lot freer and lazier about cash (it gets wasted in coins and things like $1 bills). I don’t own a credit card.

  3. Amanda said:

    So I’m totally not the person to be asking about this given how shit I’ve been with my money lately, but I found that using BudgetPulse (that online tracking tool) worked really well for me. Because I updated it every few days with transactions, I had a clear idea of every transaction in near-realtime so could adjust as I went. Have you considered using something like that?

  4. Mat said:

    Hosting: £420 <– is this monthly or some upcoming annual figure?

    If its the former then that's more than I was paying for having 2 RU servers in in the states :|

  5. Amy said:

    I did a similar financial over haul as we were always finding money tight but my hubby is quite well paid and with both our incomes, we should have had spare money. As the saying goes “the more we earn, the more we spend”

    I gave myself a target budget of £40 per week for grocery shopping and this included nappies, household cleaning items etc. I managed to stay under budget every week so have reduced to £30 per week. This is for x2 adults and x1 20 month old oh and a cat! We did the same with fuel, set an amount each week and stuck to it. We’re only 5/6weeks into it but we seem to be getting the hang of it. Still got plenty to do as I need to start budgeting for buying Alfie new clothes and other none essential items that we still want to buy!

  6. Kelly said:

    I think I need to start keeping a closer eye on our finances… I keep putting it off as I’m sure I’ll be astonished with the amount of some things.

    One thing I noticed, though – have you included for your water bill and TV license somewhere on there?

  7. Lee said:

    Hopefully February has seen you keep a better control of your finances, one bit of advice I would give it that you should start by looking at what your normal expenditure is per month. The money that you need to spend (you listed it as non-negotiable outgoings) not sure if you had missed anything out on that as telephone was not listed.

    You then look at what you spend each month (just one month) so your normal things like food and fuel. Input the income you have coming in and you should be able to see how much you should have spare each month – hard work starts then by looking at where your money is disappearing, it is amazing when you beginning looking as to where money is going.

    • Jem said:

      Telephone is paid quarterly (this month, in fact!)

      I think we’ve done better this month – I’ll know the full details when I sit down and plot it all out – but it’s been quite hard to cut back on the frivolous spends which are just a fiver or so here and there. I think it’s these that are adding up to quite significant overspending of money we don’t really have!

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