Sunday, 1 July 2012

End of the month financial round up

I missed doing one of these at the end of May because we were on holiday, so I did a very thorough investigation today, and looked at totals, and percentages, and spending habits...

The end of June marks the half way point through the year, so it is a good place to take stock and review the spending for the year so far.

  • Having established that there is a student rail subsidy, I was able to reduce the EFG's travel fund from £2K to £1K, £900 of which is in the pot.  Only £100 still to save before September, so good going there.
  • The first water bill of the year has just arrived, and it has meant that I could reduce that budget by £40, as it gives me a better indication of how much we are using: the last bill was an estimated one but this one has been done from a reading.
  • We had a delivery of heating oil this month, so we have spent some of that budget, but not as much as I had thought.  I have left £300 in the budget for another top up in the winter, but having the wood burner has really made a difference to the heating costs.
  • I have had to increase the Internet budget by a little to cope with paying an extra £5 a month for unlimited broadband instead of a metered allowance as we had exceeded the limit twice this year.  The girls appreciate being able to watch programmes on the i-player, etc as well as being able to use the internet more flexibly.  We had considered BTVision, but as a family, chose unlimited internet instead.
  • The car insurance budget was topped up a little to cope with the £22.60 we had to pay out for the changeover of the Fh's car from the Volvo to the Fiesta - we had thought that the Fiesta, being a smaller car, would be cheaper to insure, but it turns out that it is slightly more because it is "statistically" more likely to be involved in an accident - but we saved on road tax on it, so it is swings and roundabouts with that one!
  • And so there is an extra £84 clawed back from the Road tax budget!
  • I have taken £150 out of the Holiday budget, as we had had more in there than we need.  There is still about £150 in there for the summer for the odd day out, but I also have lots of Tesco vouchers which can go towards days out/cinema trips too.  Having had our main holiday of the year, we will not be going away again as a family this year, although I know that the YFG has been invited on a camping trip with a friend's family and will need to make some contribution to that.
  • I have added what spare money I can to the Grocery budget.  The cupboards and freezers are bursting at the seams, but we have stocked them up whilst we have had the chance with offers galore in the supermarkets, and being given produce from friends' and relatives' gardens.  But there is a challenge brewing - more on that in a minute.
  • The Book/Gift/DVD budget is still looking very healthy but I have resisted reducing it at all yet, as the main gift giving season here is yet to come - the girls' birthdays are in August and the FH in November, and then there is Christmas of course.  The EFG has had to get some new books for the holiday work she has been set in preparation for the A level courses she is planning to start in September, so Amazon have had an order this afternoon, and CGP will get one tonight too.  If I can manage it, that budget will be reduced later in the year, as I would hope not to spend it all!  I have certainly massively cut back on the number of books I buy for myself and go to the library every couple of weeks now.  I have been looking at the books that several Great British Bake off ladies have produced - I like the look of the biscuit one in particular - but I have resisted - I will be asking for it in the library soon!
  • All in all, we are doing OK.  We are not spending beyond our means at all, although we are not yet saving as much this year as I would have liked.  Having said that, we have bought two new cars this year at a cost of £2995, which has come from mostly from income, so I can't have it all ways. 
So, July is a challenge month.  The cupboards are fit to burst - we don't need toiletries, loo paper, cleaning items, stationery, etc, and we are not buying books, clothes and shoes, DVDs, gifts, or trivialities.  We have a strict £20 a week for fresh food and top ups, and the rest of the food is coming from the freezers, the cupboards and the stores.

To that end, I have sorted through the meat freezer this afternoon and made a chart of everything in there, so that as I remove something, I can cross it off the list.  Having a list on the pantry cupboard in the kitchen means that I can look and meal plan the days each week and know more easily what we are having.  We also need to eat broccoli from the freezer, asparagus, green beans, pears, apples and strawberries.  I know that the girls will still want fresh apples, grapes, etc for lunchboxes, but that is what the £20 is for, along with cheese, bacon etc.

I enjoy these challenges, and I love the accountability which the blog gives me, so I hope the budget will thank me when I look at the figures at the end of the month!


saving for travel said...

Sounds like things are going really well and you have them under control.

Have you ever thought of using your tesco vouchers for nights away? We love hostelling and often see nice families there.

Sft x

Anonymous said...

I love your monthly round ups. I'm trying to not to buy anything this month either. We have everything we need, so I'm hoping I can do it.

Good luck :)

Morgan said...

Sft: I will look into that - there are several in Norfolk which I could use with the girls for a night or two. Thanks for the recommendation - I have been a little hesitant about hostels as I do like en-suite bathrooms but I am pleased to see that they do have some!

Laura: Thanks for the encouragement. Doing this helps to keep us on track, and to have a review each month of the overall budget is useful as it is difficult to predict all the spending when I set the budget at the beginning of the year. Love your blog too!

Lesley said...

We sometimes have "austerity months" where we try to spend as little as possible, but we would still spend a lot more than £20 a week on food! I love the idea of inventorising (is that a word?) the freezers. I might have a delve through mine!

Morgan said...

Lesley - thanks for stopping by! We do these months now and again, and I know we can get by on around £20 a week for the fresh fruit and veg, cheese, cooked meat for sandwiches, etc. The store cupboards are full so it is fun to make things, and to vary the routine rather than buying the same things again. Perhaps I should take some photos of the stores so that people can see just how much we have to start with?

Lesley said...

Yes, photos would be a good idea! When I worked in retail, we did all our ordering on a "just in time" principle, so you didn't carry a big stock. I think I've kept the same mindset as I don't keep much in the cupboards.

Morgan said...

I have a friend who shops only for exactly what he has on his meal plans for the week, but then he got stumped when he had a busy weekend planned and couldn't see when he would be able to get to the shops! His family still needed to be fed, so I am sure he squeezed in a quick trip in there somewhere, but living in a rural village, I hate to HAVE to go shopping!

Knowing that this week I can nip into Lidl, grab some fresh stuff and head for the tills, and hopefully be out within 15 minutes is such a pleasure; walking round with a trolley each week can get tedious! Having a stash can save time as well as money...

Angela said...

I am glad that I am not the only one who does this sort of thing. So satisfying to realise that [barring outbreaks of d&v] we have enough loo rolls to last till Xmas stashed away!