As part of my general New Year, new me overhaul that you can read about here I've been spending some time looking at my finances.
As an accountant I am shocking at keeping track of my own money. Ask me to find a missing 20p on a bank reconciliation or find the mistake on a balance sheet and I'm on it like a bloodhound. Ask me how much money I have in my own account and I wouldn't have a clue, although it would be safe to say that I would always over estimate my spare cash rather than under estimate.
I am getting better at planning for the future though. I am paying into a work based pension scheme, I have a life insurance policy and I have a savings account which we have used to pay for most of our incredible holidays and restaurant trips.
The fact remains however, that despite my outgoings only needing 60-70% of my monthly take home pay, each and every month without fail I spend the last 10 days stretching every last penny to stop going overdrawn.
I am completely aware that we are both in so much more of a fortunate position than many other families all over the UK, but I can't help feeling that I should have more to show than photos of holidays and a half decent car.
To better understand where my money is going I decided to properly look at my bank statements for the last two months and this is what I found;
Despite having a separate "food fund" I spent an average of £200 per month in supermarkets and food shops, generally on alcohol, meal deals and impulse buys.
I spent an average of £150 per month eating out and drinking coffees.
I paid £125 each month for gym membership, beauty treatments & clothes
I withdrew £100 each month - I have no idea what I used this money on...mostly the sandwich van if I'm honest.
I know November & December are not the most realistic months to choose, but I wanted to see the worst "devil-may-care" spending habits and I must admit I'm shocked. Mostly by the extra food (wine) and eating out. Perhaps this explains why I am the lightest in my pocket and the heaviest on the scales right now?
So fresh year, fresh start.
Each week I will allow £50 for car fuel and "pocket money". If at the end of the week I have spare money that will go in my baby fund money pot.
Instead of driving to the shopping centre at lunchtimes I will go for a walk instead, saving £s, losing lbs.
My gym membership will be changed from the most expensive level to the level I actually need.
Eating out will be seen as a treat, rather than the weekend norm.
I'm not expecting to stop spending money. I don't want to mark down every penny that I spend. What I do want to do is spend more consciously, more sensibly, wisely.
If you challenged yourself to review your spending what would you like to save on?