May spending update | Pretty ‘spendy’ with a dash of frugal

I was super late for and had a pretty large suitcase that meant that walking in the 20 minutes it would take to wait for the bus was not an option. I thus decided to take an Uber. This will be the third Uber entry in my June spending tracker (since my months run from payslip to payslip). May was rather spendy – relative to my aspirational spending plan although it’s a lot better than it was a year ago. Therein lies the problem. I’m still being kind to myself because compared to the hot mess that I was a year ago, my spending looks good.

Where did the money go?


The good

Look at all of that green! 48% of my income went towards debt, supporting/giving to family and savings. That’s not quite at my target 70% but it’s a lot better than zero. Obviously, the aim is to grow my spending in this area and decrease spending in the other non-essential categories.

Household bills, food, transport and personal care came in at a tidy 24%. I made nearly twice as much money as my regular salary – through side-hustling and refunds on past expenses – so it would be good in the future to see if I can keep these expenses in line with this proportion of my income. Notable, non-recurring, spending in these categories include new clothes for my holidays. I also cycled a lot so my transport spending is closer to my 2016 average of £140 than any other month this year so far. There’s still a lot room for improvement though as it’s a long way from my planned £50 monthly target.

The bad

There was a whole lot of bad that isn’t obvious in that chart. As I walked to the office from the tube station this morning, it finally hit me that I still have lots of people who I owe money. Yes, I got a little bit sidetracked with giving to and supporting family over the last few months but that doesn’t make it OK to leave friends in the lurch while I justify some of my more frivolous spending. Trips to Munich, Albufeira, Cambridge and Birmingham cost me 9% of my (larger than normal) income.

So far, I’ve justified travel as long as the source of the money for it is from a side-hustle. I need to change that. Until I’ve paid off all personal debt, I won’t travel anywhere else unless it’s for work or to visit family.

The really ugly

Oh my days! Dating, socialising and other thrilling spending such as professional networking events cost me a massive £610.75. Had I not earnt over twice my normal amount, that would have been creeping up to 20% of my spending. Insane. I knew these would be my biggest problems to cut back on but I hadn’t realised how difficult it would be. For June, I’m definitely going to keep an eye on the rounds I buy (hopefully none), where and when I socialise (hopefully I can have more cheap evenings like my 3 hour walk on both sides of the Thames around Southbank last week) and how much I spend doing things that I can find free or cheap(er) alternatives to.

My top 3 spending goals for June

  • Keep spending on Paris trip this weekend to £150. I already paid for my share of an Airbnb apartment (£32), my return tickets (£118) and entry into the tournament (£22). If I can ensure we eat breakfast at home, make a packed lunch for the games and consume a small amount of alcohol, then I should be able to stay in budget.
  • Make time for grocery shopping. I have been caught out more often than necessary by an empty pantry. Go back to bulk cooking one day every week at least. Cut back takeaways to once a week and dining out to 4/5 times through the month.
  • Keep transport cheap. Cycle, cycle, cycle. Be more organised so that I don’t have to take Ubers.

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