Although I started tracking my spending nearly 3 months ago, I’ve only just got data through that was entered in a consistent enough format, as well as provides a more holistic view of my income and expenditure, for me to base future goals and budgets on.
Income (£3 671.09)
- Main job: £2941.42
- Primary side hustle: £305.19
- Loan repayments: £296.78
- Other side hustles: £76.00
- Refunds, presents & other: £51.70
This was a good month. I was exhausted from all the shifts I had to work at the theatre to make that much money but they were totally worth it. I’m also pleased that all the people I loaned money to paid back and I continue to strive for a world in which I don’t borrow or lend. I’d like to earn more through higher paying side hustles but my attempts at using Task Rabbit so far have not been fruitful. It’s encouraging though that there is so much more potential for my earnings going forward
So where did the money go?
Bills & debt (£2 227.19)
Debt: £1 208.80
At 34%, I spent the largest chunk of money on my debts. It’s a bit less than my 40% target but with all the gifts and socialising I did, it really could have been worse. I paid off 4 of my personal creditors taking my total to 11 (of 20) and kicked off my first payment on a payday loan I took out in May that thankfully hasn’t generated interest over the last few months.
Bills £1 018.39
These include my Spotify and Netflix payments and are relatively high because I pay a lot of rent (£833.33) for my room. I live in a decent house in a peaceful neighbourhood. I have a park (with a pond) 2 minutes away and my football team’s ‘home pitch’ is a 15-minute walk away. I’m grateful I earn enough to pay this much on the ‘necessities’ without feeling the bite.
This was my big win! £300 from my side hustle went to pad my travel fund. The £40 I earn from cleaning always goes to my life fund and I had one or two unexpected gifts/refunds that I sent to the emergency fund. At the end of the month I had over £800 of savings. Not bad for someone who didn’t have a penny saved a couple of months ago.
Transport & travel (£219.32)
Trips to Milton Keynes, St Albans and meeting my friend in Croydon resulted in a slightly higher than average spend in this category. It was mostly planned though so all good.
Sport & personal care (£38.60)
I played a couple of irregular football matches and went to group badminton. I also rolled my ankle early in the month and spent a relative fortune on strapping (pre-wrap & zinc oxide tape as well as freeze spray & painkillers) to get me through my football matches.
Food, dating, giving & socialising (£457.63)
I suppose this is the trouble spending as all of it, except food, is optional. The positive is that my grocery shopping & the odd solo take away purchase came in so low (£54.95). In previous budgets I allocated £120 a month to food and was consistently over. Dating (£80.08) was reasonable and my only guilty spend is the £206.86 I dropped on socialising. With room for improvement, it will certainly be my target to reduce this spending over the next month or two though the run up to Christmas is hardly an appropriate time to aim for that. I’ve always liked a challenge so hey ho.
How do I feel about it?
What did I do well? I did a lot more meal planning than previously and this is reflected in my low grocery spending. I shopped sales, went to a large grocery store with more options and was a bit creative with some of my meals to help me reach my target. I also love that I saved a healthy amount of money. Whilst a lot of it is allocated to my upcoming trip, it’s so encouraging to realise that for the first time in at least 5 years I’ll be going away with money that I deliberately put away.
What could I do better? Two days before I bought my £30.12 tickets to Edinburgh I was engaged in a conversation with my mates over local travel and how I refuse to fly within the UK. With prohibitive train ticket prices and a previous cancellation, I had no incentive to avoid Ryan air’s fantastic offer. Boo to dropping ethical living in favour of pleasure and convenience. I’ll bank this on a list somewhere for wrongs I need to right when I’m financially stable.
As far as spending updates for a self-confessed spendthrift go, I’ll blame the bad stuff on my birthday, the arrival of mulled drinks in the pubs and general Autumnal delight. There’s certainly work to do but I’ve come a long way from where I used to be.