My luxuriously thrifty 2020 budget

Happy New Year readers! I hope you’ve had as good a first day of 2020 as I did. I went off on a little adventure with bae – we had lunch then went up a mountain and played pool. It was excellent. I’ve spent the last hour trying to figure out what my spending is most likely to look like during this year.

Screenshot 2020-01-01 at 22.06.57

The 2020 budget – hopefully my 20/20 hindsight will match this plan

Yep! That’s the budget. So let me break that down for you a little bit.


I’ve got an 8% pension contribution and an 8% employer match. That leaves me with only £3824.31 coming in as my every month after tax. I hope there’s been a miscalculation. Before my pension contribution went up to 8%, my take home pay was £4428.04. That seems like a mighty penalty to pay to save money for the future. I’ve got a (guaranteed) side-hustle income of £600 per month. I’ll need to make another £300 a month to meet this target.


I’ve got quite a bit of debt. It cost a lot of money to close up two flats and set up home with bae in an unfurnished London flat. I got a  credit card with a £12,000 limit and 0% interest for 20 months. I’ve also got Paypal credit and various other debts leftover from before 2016. This means that I have £22,385 to pay off as soon as possible. This budget means I’ll pay off around £10,000 but I hope I can earn enough money to pay off at least £15,000 by the end of the year.


I like to do stuff with bae and together we have kind of expensive taste. In the last 18 months, I’ve spent a lot more than £150 a month on dates/dating. I expect this to be the toughest bit of my budget to stick to.

Image of a grey plate with sea bass on a bed of sweet potatoes, spinach and tomatoes garnished with water cress and half a charred lemon.

Bae and I enjoy discovering new restaurant meals


This is another category I’ve struggled with in the last 18 months too. This has been because I’ve struggled to rein in dining out and takeout. I hope that doing the carbohydrate addict’s diet from the 8th of this month will help us cook 80% of our meals at home.


Oh boy! I only realised that my home costs will be over 40% of my planned income. That’s way more than I usually like to spend but we chose to pay a bit more because of the cats. The thing to note is that this budget assumes that I’ll pay 78% of the cost of running our home. Bae has her own business and isn’t confident about her earnings in the first half of the year. If she earns more money than anticipated then I’ll spend a lot less in this category.

A brown devon rex cat with black ears, face and paws crouching in front of her grey brother. The cats are both on a cardboard box and there are two other boxes behind and to the right.

I buy fancy toys for the cats but their favourite thing to do is play with cardboard boxes


I’ve got now two adorable devon rex cats. One of them has gastro issues and is allergic to most meats so we feed them raw pure rabbit (£100 a month). The CBD oil (£45 for 3 months) is to reduce his anxiety. We buy them lovely organic, biodegradable litter (£12.50 per month). Although I haven’t got insurance yet, I looked into it and have budgeted £12.50 per month for my share.

Personal care

In my list of resolutions I mentioned that I want to create a stylish capsule wardrobe. That isn’t included in my personal care budget. The £50 monthly will pay for medicine, toiletries, a hair cut, and replacing the 8 cheap black t-shirts I wore out last year.


I have business expenses that I budget for from my sidehustle/business income. This category covers leaving gifts, work drinks, and networking events for my day job.


This is one category that I’m currently disappointed with. I know with debt payoff this means a 38% savings rate. That doesn’t seem enough. I want to earn more money to get it closer to 50% by the end of the year .


I want to cycle most of the time but I know this isn’t going to happen. My current bike is too big and heavy for me to get through the house and down our narrow staircase. So I can’t commute on it. I’ll take the Santander city bikes when I can and get the bus most days to work. If I did those things then I’d spend around £110 a month but I’ve budgeted £140 to cover taxis and going out of zone 2.

Image of a large sprawling building on the banks of a lake. There are plants climbing up the left building and trees on either side.

A wonderful view from one of my many European city breaks. I want to say Berlin but it might be Vienna.


I want to:
  • Take bae to Thailand for her birthday
  • Go home (an intercontinental trip)
  • Visit my best mate in Scotland for a long weekend
  • Go on a couple of European city breaks this year.

The £113.59 I’ve got in the budget will only pay for Thailand so I’ll need to cut down on planned travel or earn a bit more money.

So, there we have it! I’m going to track my spending and will see if I need to change the budget later in the year.

What about you? Have you got a budget for the year? Is it wildly different from mine? What are your biggest expenses going to be?



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