We were challenged by Wilson Field to keep a spending Diary for a month along with a few other bloggers. Here’s our results:
Like most of you, I have a budget that I *try* and stick to but it’s not always easy – what with unexpected expenses, lapses of control and other unpredictables!
But I do try, and when I go wrong it’s usually for a good reason but the last few months have been particularly trying and for the life of me I couldn’t think what I’d bought when I saw our bank balance the day before payday last month and I had to have a really good think back over the previous weeks to reconcile things.
So this month I’ve been keeping a bit of a spending diary – not a super strict one although I’d highly recommend doing that if you always have some month left at the end of your money! I’ve been keeping track of extras that I’ve bought that I’ve had to take cash out of the bank for and they’ve certainly added up this month!
Since I was last paid on 23rd June, this is what I’ve got written down as paying cash for outside of my usual things that are budgeted for on a monthly basis:
£10 – school pencil case with required stationery. Don’t ask!
£10 – school trip money for Mast F.
£30 – spending money for Miss F residential.
£10 – bits and bobs for Miss F’s school trip.
£20 – party bus for Miss F’s leaving party at school
£10 – celebration meal for me and Miss F to celebrate SATS
£30 – school blazer and PE Kit
£10 – Nerf gun darts as we had a street Nerf battle but couldn’t find more than 7 darts beforehand.
£40 – new hoover as mine spontaneously combusted for some reason.
£20 – family takeaway as a treat after a planned weekend away ended early following a collapsed roof and emergency evacuation situation (more on that to come )
£40 – I bought something I saw in the sale for Miss F which I know is going to be on her Christmas wish list. It was half price so I couldn’t really not get it, could I? It’s packed away now for the next six months!
£20 – treats for great reports / SATS
£20 – A pair of Vans reduced from £50 to £20 for Miss F
That’s a lot of unplanned extras to our budget isn’t it?
Some were more essential than others and some could have been avoided but either way, it’s good to see them all written down. I try to allow space in our monthly budget to pay for unplanned things because no matter how hard you try and budget for everything – life gets in the way.
One thing I would say is that just because some things are unplanned and could have been avoided, it doesn’t make them bad purchases. If you overspend or buy something as a treat then don’t worry about them too much as long as you have spare money for them. It’s when you buy things and then can’t afford to pay for the essentials that it’s a problem!
The things I didn’t write down specifically were my shopping budget which I know is currently a bit higher than it needs to be and can definitely be reduced with some more considered meal planning. I find it harder to meal plan at this time of year as we’re out and about all over and the kids are often our playing with their friends on a night so I’m really flexible with meal times. I think this makes it harder to meal plan, that and the fact that we’re less likely to want to eat slow cooker meals which we kind of associate with winter meals – wrongly I know.
This month I’m challenging myself to try and use my slow cooker more for meals that are ‘Summer Friendly’ so I’ll be researching some new things to cook in it. I’m also going to go back to posting our meals daily (ish) on my meal planning blog as that’s been sadly neglected in the last month!
I’m also planning to try and make some extra money by having a car boot sale because the Summer Holidays are always hard on our budget. We do limit days out and treats but even one day out to a theme park can cost upwards of £60 these days!
We were sent a spending diary kit in exchange for writing this post and sharing all of my overspending from the last month with you