Would you just look at this gorgeous chart (screenshot from Money Dashboard).
My wife and I have been trying to address our spending for the last month. Every single self-help book on Financial Freedom covers this as being a major element to work on so we (well….I) took the plunge into dissecting it. I ran a full assessment of all expenditure for every single purchase on both our current accounts and joint account, and was frankly shocked at how much we were spending on completely unnecessary items. In particular, top up shops from supermarkets, but also takeaways because we couldn’t be bothered to cook, or we just hadn’t been organised enough to have any food in the fridge.
Since this discovery, we are planning our meals well in advance of the “big shop” at Morrisons every Sunday morning. We are noting down all items that are running low so we don’t forget. We plan meals around what we have in the cupboards, but also how easy recipes are to cook and with as little cooking utensils as possible. This may sound over the top, but remember, we are horrifically lazy and busy with a 1-year-old, so this works for us. Hot tip: One pot and slow cooking recipes are now king in our household!
Groceries is covered under the “Home” umbrella and you can see the difference this has made already from July to August. Bearing in mind we haven’t even attempted Lidl/Aldi as per David Sawyers advice from his RESET book, so we think we can do even better.
You’ll see a bigger change in Enjoyment, and the cynics among you will probably say that August wasn’t as much fun. I honestly didn’t notice if it was. The change here came about because my wife and I trialed giving ourselves an individual “fun” allowance of 300 quid (broadly 10% of our combined income) and piled all excess cash (after regular outgoings) into savings (rainy day fund/items for our new house), and investments in my Shares and Stocks ISA with Hargreaves Lansdown.
In fairness, I probably did go out less, but just having this in your mind when spending your allowance makes you assess what you really want vs what you need. I was sceptical my wife could do this since she is not a natural with money. Her coffee/fruit shakes spend was obscene, but even she was amazed at the difference it made. She even told me she was proud of me for making so much effort on all this, which I don’t think has ever been said in the last 10 years.
Have any of you undertaken this challenge? How much have you saved? I’m intrigued…
PS. the eagle-eyed amongst you are probably thinking what on earth did you do with your family in August. Answer: sod all, we moved our nursery direct debit forward on request from the nursery so it double counted, so there!