Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Revisiting the budget...

This post is actually long overdue because I haven't really looked at the budget or my spreadsheet or meal planned for months. In fact the last time I looked at any of that was shortly after our road trip with my parents.

And yet somehow we've managed to save some money. There are a few factors involved and they all contributed to the little surplus sitting in our bank account. This surplus is enough to cover an unexpected medical expense, it is enough to make us feel secure, but not enough to cover the costs involved in our move to the USA. We are still adding to it, little by little. Here's how we have managed (and are managing) to create a little, teeny, tiny nest egg:
  1. We started only doing one food shop a week. This mostly came about over the summer because it was just too hot to take Jimmy out most days, so on weekends we just did a big shop with Michael carrying the heavy items. By shopping this way, our impulse food purchases could only happen once a week. (Some weeks still require two trips to the shops, but I have become pretty good at buying what is on the shopping list, with the addition of a banana for Jimmy, and not much else.);
  2. There were a few months where Michael received three pay cheques instead of two. We had no control over this, but it helped. The extra money mostly stayed in the account - some of it was probably spent on coffee;
  3. I stopped meal planning. I know, I know, most people on a budget say that meal planning is a great way to save money, but it just wasn't working for us. Meal planning went out the window after a particularly hot weekend in late June when we bought what we wanted and just went with it. And to be honest, this sort of reverse meal planning (buying and then cooking accordingly) works better for us because it means we can buy what looks good on the day, or what we feel like eating that week;
  4. We have kept clothing purchases to a minimum, making use of the second hand shops and online sales where possible. Michael and I might only have three or so pairs of really thick socks, but with a mess-making toddler I do several loads of washing a week, so we always manage to have clean, dry, warm socks;
  5. Michael stopped putting credit on his phone. Annoying yes, but for the last 6 months we have managed to work with it. It was only a small saving, and it was probably all spent on coffee, so it evened out. Maybe...
Yes, not having a lovely coffee shop or two to go to may have resulted in a little more money saved, but life just would not be the same without Arrow Coffee Co or Sparrow Specialty Coffee

There are many ways to save money, but this is currently working for us. I'm sure there are other things contributing to the (very slow) growth of our savings, things like not owning a car, buying secondhand clothes where possible, and using free entertainment where possible. Our strategies for saving money will change as our situation changes, but that will happen when it happens.

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