I set a few goals at the start of the year and felt like I’ve not been on track for most of them. I’m a lot chubbier than is healthy or optimum, since I like to take part in a lot of sport where heft is cumbersome. I’m not eating as well as I’d like. I neither bring my own lunches in everyday nor make choices that include a high percentage of fruits, vegetables and proteins like I think I should. I’m not reading very much. I’m not spending enough time on the things that I think that I should – creating a professional brand and presence on the interwebs, learning new skills or improving the ones I want to and networking are my top goals in this aspect of my life.
A few weeks ago I was also not spending enough time with people I care about and allowed my life to be totally dominated by work and my side hustles. It was supposed to be temporary and even meant that I stopped tracking my spending in April because I didn’t have enough time to keep up. I didn’t do as much sport as I wanted. And I was so exhausted that even when I spent time with people, I couldn’t concentrate or I was cranky. Most of these things got resolved with the end of the execution phase of my side hustle project and I went on holiday for a few days at the start of the month. I also finally picked up my bike and have started cycling to work.
This post idea arose because I felt like I was ridiculously behind on my financial goals. I spent 364% more money than I intended to last week – a significant proportion of which was on dating, socialising and food. It also felt like it’s been absolutely ages since my aspirational weekly budget was anywhere close to what I actually spend.
However, I’ve just reviewed my spending since the start of the year* and this is what I’ve discovered.
It turns out that perception is actually miles away from reality
Any one who’s read this blog since I started knows that:
My whys are centered around fostering relationships (romantic, familial and at work), making some sort of difference to people, as well as seeing as much of the world as I possibly can. Since the very essence of frugality is to live a life that’s aligned with my values, it’s fair to say that I haven’t done as badly as I imagined. Looking at these in a bit more detail:
- Income: I haven’t put the figure in there but I grew my income by 19.4% through side hustling
- Household and bills: These are well within the recommended 30% of income
- Debt: This is the one area in which I’ve done extremely poorly but I always knew that I was front loading my support budget earlier in the year and so I should come close enough to hitting my debt target by the end of the year.
- Dating & socialising: Considering this is one of my whys, the only complaint here is that I spent more on this aspect than I did on debt
- Travel: I was shocked that I’ve only spent 4% of my income on this. I suppose because I’ve been to bits of the UK, Milan, Munich, Tokyo and Albufeira, I felt like this would be a huge amount of my spending so far. Most of those were for work, however and it appears that I’ve been quite frugal e.g. using airmiles to decrease the cost of my plane ticket to Budapest, in this area.
I think it’s great that I haven’t spent as badly as I thought I had but this doesn’t mean that I’m not going to make some improvements. At the end of June, I’ll review the first half of the year and decide what I need to do to make me feel better day-to-day. With a tendency to be motivated more by a carrot than a stick, there’s a strong argument against adjusting the weekly aspirational budget upwards so that even when I go over that, I can stay within my overall budget anyway.