Surprising Facts about my Finances
You might have noticed that over the last few weeks I’ve been budgeting and been concerned about my finances. Well… I’m not broke, but I am sick of not being able to save – or rather not saving – and also ending up in my overdraft at the end of every month.
I’m sick of feeling poor when I don’t feel like I’m spending money.
It was time for a change
The first thing I did was do a reverse budget. I went through my statements and categorised where I was spending my money and discovered a few big changes I could make.
Without going into details I was spending an additional £300 a month on top of my salary. So each month I was going further and further into my overdraft, simply by over-spending. And all the savings that I was making were going to paying off that overdraft.
Other interesting facts:
- I spent nearly £200 on books one month. Partially to blame was YALC, but also my lack of self-restraint.
- I spent £250-300 on food every month – and ate out every lunchtime at work
- My travel expenses actually total up to £200 per month… London is not cheap.
- With the extra spending I should still be in the green but due to a few months over-spending – all the way back to Christmas, plus moving expenses – I’m now in the red at the end of every month
None of these revelations frightened me. I’ve still got a fairly healthy bank balance, I don’t owe money to anyone except my overdraft and, excluding Christmas, I don’t have anything big coming up.
With that in mind, I still needed to make some changes, some of which you’ve already seen.
- I’ve cut my food allowance to £20 a week – a maximum of £80 per month and I’m no longer allowed to eat out at lunch (unless for a special occasion- two a month max)
- I have to save a minimum of £100 a month and I’m not allowed to use it to pay off my overdraft until it doubles the amount of my overdraft expenditure. i.e. if I’m £300 in the red I need to have £600 in savings before I pay back my overdraft
- I did a massive declutter of my flat and found things to sell: electronics I don’t use, unopened household goods, DVDs, books etc
- Instead of going shopping on Saturdays and splurging on what I fancy I have a wishlist in my bullet journal with a budget next to each item: New jeans, max of £10. New coat, max of £25. New shoes, max of £15. And I have to really need them.
- For the month of September AND October, I am on a book-buying ban. If I want a book I have to look in the Library, on library apps (like BorrowBox and Libby) check on NetGalley. I have over 200 unread books on my kindle, plus about 15 on my bookshelves. It’s time I got to them first.
Can I still afford to go out?
With these changes, I can still afford to do the things that I would usually do. I can visit my family and friends in other counties, go to museums and visit places in London, blog and write in cafes, go to the theatre etc.
All the money I’m saving is mostly my money to spend anyway. But by cutting back on some things it’s helping me to keep that £300-400 month of my own money and not use £300 of my overdraft money.
And actually, I’ve not noticed that much of a difference. Because I’m doing the same things – I’m still eating, still going food shopping, still reading among other things. I simply feel less guilty about my finances.