Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Keeping track of our spending and trying to save a little too. Our 2020 savings challenge

Keeping track of our spending and trying to save a little too. Our 2020 savings challenge.

You know that moment when you write down your income and outgoings and on paper you can see that you should have money left over but by the end of each month you can’t wait for the next payday to arrive. Maybe you don’t but I know there are plenty of people that can relate.

We are those people! There, I’ve admitted it. The bills get paid on the same day as payday then we have food and travel costs to cover. There is surplus but it always seems to go.

The one takeaway a month rule turns into two, three, four and then more. The great idea of a monthly food shop with 4 small weekly top up shops, which would save so much money, turns into so many trips to the shops and no meal planning whatsoever. The unexpected home repair or car repair that you were hoping to avoid. 

I recently opened a Monzo account which allows me to have a savings pot set up. Whenever I spend anything it rounds it up to the next £1 and the extra gets put into my savings pot. It’s small amounts but it’s certainly a start. Myself and the bestie did the same last year and just before Christmas we used our savings pot to go into London for the day, go to the theatre and have dinner too.

Taking Thing 2 and 3 to the theatre in London with my savings from my Monzo penny savings pot. 

Another thing we need to look at is the weekly shop. I need to meal plan more and make sure we don’t buy unnecessary items just because we think they are a good deal! A little while ago I did a monthly shop and this worked really well. I bought everything needed for a month and then just did weekly shops for fresh produce which I gave myself a budget for.

I also gave the children their share of snacks for each week. Rather than leave it in a cupboard where they can help themselves, and they do, I gave them each their weekly quota and if they chose to eat it all in a day then they had 6 days to wait before they get more. This also worked really well. We go through so many crisps and biscuits because the children just help themselves and I don’t keep an eye on them.

That’s not to say I was denying them the right to eat. This was just on things that they shouldn’t eat a lot of yet they were and I felt like I was constantly buying it and it disappeared so quickly.

That one time I did a monthly shop I spent £250 on the big shop then another approx. £100 on fresh produce shops throughout the month. That’s £350 in total compared to the nearly £600+ we spend at the moment, so why didn’t I learn from it and carry on this way?!

I do spend too much too, I’m not going to deny it! Clothes, shoes, stuff for the home. Home stuff I don’t mind so much, there is so much that needs doing in our house and so it’s all practical things. Stuff to decorate with, new flooring, windows. There is always something that needs doing to the house. However, clothes and shoes aren’t always needed at the times I buy them!

The children are constantly growing and so at times they do need clothes and shoes but not at the rate I buy them! Thing 5 has quite a trainer collection which he doesn’t need, he only has one pair of feet!

Everyone got new trainers for Christmas but did we really need new trainers?!

We had a lovely Christmas with lots of presents all round. However, we didn’t need all of those presents. Dadof5 told me off when he opened one of his presents. It was something he had wanted for a while and so he knew how much it was. I wanted to buy it for him but he also didn’t need such a costly item of clothing. We bought it because we could but a cheaper alternative would have done the same job just without the logo (and the price tag!)
There is a great weekly savings challenge that I have seen on social media at the moment. Start by saving £1 in week 1, £2 in week 2 and so on until its £52 in week 52. Giving you a grand total of £1378 by the end of the year. Some people do it in reverse and do £52 in week 1 going backwards to £1 in week 52. Or set your own weekly challenge, £2 a week or £5 a week, whatever suits you. 

So this year we are saving. I’m going to try and stick to my monthly food shop with a meal plan in place.

After the bills are paid I’m going to separate money into food and fuel budgets and then stash the leftover before it can be used leaving only a minimal amount for any extras. I may have to get my parents to stash the savings for us so I can’t get to it!! I need to be strong, give myself a good talking to and save this year.

I'm not going to give myself a goal or an amount to save. As stated in yesterday's New Year's resolution blog post, should we give ourselves a goal or does this mean we fail if we don't reach our target? For example, if I gave myself the challenge of saving £2000 but only save £1000 does it mean I have failed myself or actually £1000 is more than I would usually save so that in itself is a goal reached.

This will then allow us to save and enjoy more things as a family. Days out, weekends away and finally a family holiday.

Saving money will allow us to do more home improvement projects around the house like our decking project from last year and days out like Thing 5's treat to a George Ezra concert at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Do you save? Or do you spend too much like me! Do you have any budgeting tips that may help?

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