Money chat

Let’s talk money! Right now I am a little nervous, although in some ways we are in a good position with me doing some part time work and my husband working away the last few months have been a challenge. I have to add we are in a fortunate situation and doing ok with money but we could do better, and if we don’t reign it in could be a lot worse. Through roster changes, sickness and other likes we have ended up earning less than standard. This has resulted in a bit of a credit card bill.

$4500 to be exact.

Now $1500 was a deposit for the new built in robes which we will use my tax return for.

$500 was for payment for car mechanics as a result of an accident which is being claimed back. Note done!

There are also a few medical claims I need to lodge. Must do this.

But the rest is just spending. We have budgeted this year for our tax returns and mid year bonus and money from selling a car to go towards certain items- namely renovating the house, the birth of the next baby ( we are private) and having a savings buffer of at least $10k.

It’s not that we waste a lot of money, honestly we don’t eat out much, we don’t shop heaps but things do slip through the net. So I am challenging myself to a $150 shopping budget per week ( sounds a lot but this includes cleaning products, nappies, toiletries etc) or $100 if possible. I plan to do this using meal plans and using up items in freezer and cupboard. I may even start posting a meal plan here. I plan to start keeping track of this by using a cash in envelope method.

I have been treating myself a bit, mainly to beauty products, and whilst I don’t regret these purchases they need to stop. Each week the husband and I get pocket money to spend as we see fit. I am going to try and save at least half of mine ($50per week) and put it in savings for a new wardrobe in a year or so once i have reached my ultimate post baby goal. Again I plan to use a cash in envelope method for the money I can spend and not touch the rest. Into my savings account I will also put money I make from selling any items I am not truly going to use on eBay. Any beauty products I have got and never used I may also sell.

Honestly we are pretty well set up our supers are in order, we have insurances and we pay a little extra on our mortgage every time but now my husband works away our goal is to
save routinely from his paychecks ( however little). In not getting accustomed to the money we are not tied to a fifo life.

Whilst I know we only are on less for a period of time until I am back to working full time in a couple of years. However, that doesn’t mean we are in stalemate right now- no siree we can still creep forward at the pace which suits us at the moment!

Are you budgeting? Have you got savings goals?

BUDGET

  Finance. It is a big word. It is something we all have to deal with on a day to day basis for the whole of our lives. In my personal opinion I pride myself on money not being overly important to my happiness. At the same token in order for it not to affect my happiness too much It is something I have had to work at. Some people love shopping, drinking, fine dinners and spending for others happiness is financial freedom and I feel I fall into this category.


Let me explain. I have always had a history as a pretty good saver. After university I had few savings. In fact I still have few savings but I do have investments. I prefer to have less money available for me to spend so it works for me to have around 90% of my pay designated to other bank accounts. A few years ago my other half and I decided that we needed to get smart about all of this. We got some help from a finance man and we now have all our Super (pension) in one moderate risk location, we have a house and we have lots of insurances for ourselves and our items. If you are going to spend on a big ticket item (such as a house or car it really does make sense to insure it). Take all these and your regular bills and this is the start of a budget. These are your non negotiable and included in this is the mortgage.

You then have the next level of spending; this is your life spends. Things which are pretty essential to your living how you want to. For me this is food (which is an essential but I include it here as I spend more than just basics on a weekly shop to get better quality food), foxtel, some pocket money and anything else you may need. I prioritise fresh food over eating out so we spend, what I would consider, a fair bit on the weekly shop. After talking to others it is not outrageous and it seems that we don’t buy heaps of junk or anything I just don’t limit fresh food. I do shop at cheaper, locally sourced shops where possible. My car is a very small car which  costs $45 to fill. I don’t watch the fuel prices as I fill this car once every 2 weeks at the most. We also use my car over the ute for long journeys as it is cheaper to run. We have foxtel at home which is a luxury because he loves the sports channels and I love UK TV, we also have a linked in deal for internet and cheap calls to the UK. Plus our mobiles. All of these items are non essential but fairly reasonable to our lifestyle. All the above comes out of our joint account which we each pay a set amount into. I also consider trips back to the UK essential items, not a holiday. Obviously this is a luxury but for me it is more important than other luxury items so it falls in this category.

Once all of this has gone out of our accounts we have spending money. Each month we both have a set amount to spend. This is in our private accounts and it is enough that you can have a few treats ( meals out etc, clothes) or save for something bigger. I like wishing for items and having a limit on our money means that this still happens.I love this way of doing things as it means I have no idea or care what he spends his money on and he isn`t bothered about mine. I know couples who monitor each others spending and this is a great way not to.

What is left is savings. For us this goes on the mortgage or in an offset account against the mortgage. Until a few months ago this money went on paying off the car and student loans etc.

I have found this works for us. You have to be honest about the kind of life you  lead so your personal budget is workable for you. I found paying off one item at a time worked. This year we would like to get to a point where we have a couple of months wages saved to help out in any untoward situations. 

Obviously we can make a decision to spend some money on a holiday or something like that and we can take that money from the offset account. We have also done our house very slowly and done a lot of work ourselves which has saved lots.

I think our budget is pretty reasonable and I feel that I am ok at sticking with it which must mean it is comfortable. At the same time my spare money is not so big I can afford everything; I use wish lists and I turn down social occasions if I have already been out a lot that month.

As another note I use a credit card. Ours gives us frequent flyer points and also free travel insurance for all flights booked with it. If you can be disciplined enough to pay it off regularly I would recommend this.

I always have a note on my iphone for each month of where the money needs to go and as soon as payday comes around I transfer it. I then have a second budget for my spends for the month. Example… I am paid in 2 days and I know that of my pay I need to spend the following; mobile bill, hair cut, eyelash extensions for the wedding, hens night and this will leave me with a little free money for other activities.

I think not having too much spare money means you look after what you have. I also sell clothes on ebay which frees up money for new items. I am also an avid sale shopper. I think this is all good practise as we may have times in our lives without 2 incomes and this way of life would be sustainable there would just be less saving.

Budget and finance seems to be something people don`t often talk about. I recognise freely that we have a lot and are in a fortunate situation. I am always interested in  how other people organise their money.

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How do you fix your budget???