January 2020 spending review

It’s that time of month – time to review how well I did against my budget in January. Spoiler alert, I wasn’t great. I spent more money than I made and I pretty much spent too much in almost every category. Here are the gory details for you to revel in.

Excel spreadsheet showing categories of spending, descriptions, actual spending and the percentage they made up.


I didn’t make over 8 thousand pounds last month. I didn’t even come close. But I had to borrow money from my business account in order for me to pay off a bunch of credit card debt from last year. It’s a shame but I’ve already started to make up for this by picking up a new freelance client. I started working with them during the middle of the month and will be sending my first invoice after this.

Status: Exceeded budget

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Bae’s an Aquarius so I got to treat her to an awesome long birthday weekend. We started off with Wahaca with a close pal (£54 for my share of the 2-way split) on the Friday. Sunday we went to Swingers, a hipster mini golf place where a double whisky and a watermelon soda gin & tonic took the reasonable entry price up to a pricy £50 total for an hour and a half’s activity. We then rocked up to the Regent street cinema where I got us tickets to see Babyface, a cute 30s movie that made me laugh. That was £26. I also got her cute Swedish clogs (£170) and we had dinner at one of the romantic restaurants in London – Clos Maggiore – and one that’s been on my list since 2014. It was absolutely delightful but I was quite unprepared for the £171 price tag. Other spending took me significantly over budget in this category.

Status: Exceeded budget by £216


I spent £552 on food this month! I knew I’d be over budget since I’d only budgeted £150. I’d hoped to take all my lunches into work but starting the carbohydrate addict’s diet, I found it difficult to prep meals for lunch. On the diet we only eat protein, fats and vegetables during the day and can eat a balanced meal (including carbs) at night. This means I can’t take leftovers as lunch. So I often have to make lunch in the mornings. We ate out a lot. And, carbs are the cheapest food group yet they’re the ones that we’ve had to limit.

Status: Exceeded budget by £402


I budget £144 for a month of travel and expected to come in quite a bit under budget for this category because I wasn’t in London for the first week in January. However, I took one taxi (£6) and ended up taking the train to work – most expensive option – so I didn’t come in quite as low as expected. Still, this category was under budget.

Status: UnderExceeded budget by £18


I don’t know if I made a mistake with this line item when I entered it at the start of the month but considering I was on a different continent, it seems quite stupid to have budgeted £24 for 5 days. I managed to spend over 15 times that amount. It appears that I spent a lot on taxis (£130.87) and food (£170.18).

Status: Exceeded budget by £329

Black caramelised banana croissant with 3 blobs of cream on it sitting on a round metallic plate on a wooden table.

Heavenly banana toffee croissant. It doesn’t look like much but I sure hope I can have it again.

What next?

Bae’s retainer client ended their retainer at the end of December so February is going to be the first month that we’re largely a single income household. This is fairly terrifying since I wanted to get an apartment that I’d be able to afford on my own and at £2, 167 for rent, this is not the case. Not especially since my pension + match means that I’m bizarrely getting over £500 less than I used to when we moved in here.

I’ll track this month’s spending and hopefully rein in some of the stuff that went wrong so that I don’t add more debt to the situation. If we don’t manage to stay within the budget then I’m going to need to cut back on pension savings until bae’s earning enough again. Wish me luck!

How about you? How did January go for you?

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