July Spending Review | Getting discretionary spending in hand. Woo!

Work has been busy or my time management has been very poor over the last couple of weeks. I think it’s more the latter. This is the first morning that I’ve woken up feeling rested and the first time I’ve had a bit of time to relax and do important stuff this week. I won’t lie, I’m very excited about some of July’s numbers so let’s get into those.

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The good

Dating and socialising: Wow! This is my headline act for the month. From January to June, I struggled to rein in this category – spending a whopping 9% of my salary on two things that have no business headlining my expenditure (negatively). When I looked at my July spend and saw that I’d spent around £50 on them, I was just thrilled. I split up with my person of interest and I also spent 9/10 days away so some socialising costs were absorbed by that budget. Still, I’m proud of this achievement.

Transport: This was another win for me. I cycled for a significant portion of the time I was in London including days where I spent over 2 hours cycling to work, football and back in one day. If I don’t cycle at all, I spend around £140 on transport. With being away and cycling loads, I spent only £34 on this category.

Food: You don’t need to read many of my posts to realise how much I like food and how the struggle is real with trying to avoid dining out and takeaway. The last couple of months, I realised that trying to take lunches that I wasn’t excited about or have meals at home that I didn’t care for proved more harmful that useful. It’s a lot easier to turn down an invitation to lunch out with my colleagues when I don’t have a boring grocery store soup as my alternative. I’ve shelled out £90-100 at the start of the month on a caterer making a stew that I love but neither have the time nor patience to make well. I then eat it with pasta or rice through the month – works out at around 25-35 meals. In this way, I managed to keep food spend in July down to a wonderful £116.88.

Travel: I went to two countries over 9 days and spent less money on this trip than I’ve spent on 3 day trips to one city in the past. I also bought tickets for my trip to Berlin yet my total spend came in at £375.93. Uh-mazing!

The bad

Other: I lumped in professional expenses (‘mandatory’ work events, tools for the job etc), short-term ‘loans’ to friends and miscellaneous spending together. One day at badminton, there weren’t enough parking spaces so I had to leave my bike locked to a rack with 2 other bicycles.On leaving, it turned out I had a flat tyre. I assumed I’d got a puncture and took it to the cycle shop to get a new inner tube. The mechanic said he didn’t find evidence of a puncture in my (puncture resistant) tyres so I’m pretty sure some petty idiot let out the air from my tyres costing me an unnecessary £10.99. I also forgot to cancel a subscription for a tool I’d only needed for a month and this cost me £24.30.

Personal care: I got Sennheiser headphones (which sound lush and were on sale) for £55 as well as lots of clothing – 3 t-shirts (€15) and lush Vans black hightops that I’ve been lusting after since Boxing day. They happened to be 30% off and in Euros so I got them for €69.95. Sure, they were all on sale and excellent value but they were out of budget and I had to dip into savings for them which is why I’ve put them in this column. I didn’t really make a sensible clothing budget for the year so really need to think about how I handle these in the future.

The ugly!

Debt repayment continues to be pitiful. I budgeted for an average of £1066.67 a month to be paid out on debt and have stayed well below that amount at £343.40. Even worse, I still owe friends substantial amounts of money and I felt really bad about frolicking on a trip when I have these amounts outstanding. Sure, I side-hustled my way to having the budget for the trip but I really need to prioritise paying off debt for the next year or so.

July Goals review

  1. Spend less! Dating, socialising and transport need to come down by at least 3 percentage points. PASS
  2. Keep Budapest and Vienna frugal. I’m travelling for a week and I’m ambitiously trying to keep spending between £200 and £250 including airport transfers and my train to Vienna but excluding flights and hotels which have already been paid for. PASS. Spent £244.26
  3. Save more. My dad’s been a bit ill. I might need to make an emergency visit to the US. I’ve been keeping an eye on flights. A trip like this will mean that I lose out on the chance to side-hustle while I’m gone. PASS-ISH Had to help someone but met other savings goals
  4. Sell stuff. My road bike and a few other bits and bobs such as my Android phone need to be sold. I reckon I could raise £100 – £200 which would be a major boost especially if I can’t do my theatre job because I’m away. FAIL
  5. Get a couple of other freelance clients: My major client appears to have put the brakes on the project that I’d expected to generate another couple thousand quid for me this summer. This was by far my most lucrative side-hustle so it would be good to find a replacement for it as soon as possible. FAIL

Goals for August

I already know that August will be a financial disaster (because I’ve already spent money this week and it’s not been pretty). I haven’t spent intentionally or used my time wisely lately. I’m inefficient at work, spreading myself very thinly, and doing too much in my spare time. I can’t seem to stay the course with spending cheaply or eating better or losing weight so August’s goals are simple.

  1. Pay off debt first. At the very least I need to pay the people I owe and then I can take my time with the corporate debt. Even better would be to tackle both and ensure I hit my goals in this area.
  2. Sell stuff. The point of doing this is to grow the gap and either sock away some more money or pay off debt quicker. Plus I have way too much stuff that no longer needs to be in my life. To be specific, I need to list at least 10 items for sale and sell at least 3 of them.
  3. Figure out how to encourage retaining good habits. I yoyo all the time. Super cheap July followed by a disastrous first week in August. Cycling and/or walking for 85-90% of July to taking the tube every single day this week. This needs to change. I’ve got an idea and executing it will be essential this month
  4. Spend my time intentionally. Just like I need to de-clutter my physical space, I also need to de-clutter my calendar. This week I’ve been home around midnight almost everyday – 2 of those days because I was working at the theatre – and have had to be up early most days. For the rest of August, I’ll audit how I’m spending time and report back at the end of the month.

One thought on “July Spending Review | Getting discretionary spending in hand. Woo!

  1. Pingback: November spending review | A concession that I need to budget better | Diary of a reforming spendthrift

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