The Truth About My Finances

I need to get real about my finances. For the last 6 months I’ve been pretending that things are going to plan but they’re not. I’m living pay check to pay check again which I hate. This isn’t as dire as it sounds. I do have savings and am paying off everything I need to but I can’t work out why I feel I need so many things. I’ve been actively working at minimising yet I go out and buy new things I don’t need. I buy clothes when I’m doing Project 333 and have donated half my wardrobe. I get caught up in things I do need – yesterday I bought a new planner for next year. It cost me $89. Did I need to spend that much? No because a $10 planner would be sufficient.

Why do I do this to myself?

Mindset.

My mindset is not right for what I want to be achieving. For one, I’m influenced by social media. I’m 100% aware that social media is not real life. But I follow a lot of coaches and health/well-being people on Instagram and they’re just so damn productive with their planners, mugs, notebooks and pens and I think “damn, if I have those things I’ll be productive too!” I know it’s a lie. And I know that it won’t help but for some reason I don’t stop myself.

Another reason is that I don’t have a lot of spending money once I’ve taken care of bills, savings and other essentials. Once I go over I think “well fuck it, I may as well blow it.” A solution could be more breathing room. I’m going to spend a bit of time working out what I’m spending again following my money method that I outlined here.

We’ve gone through some big changes this year and financially we’ve spent a lot. We’re still in the process of renovating, I had expensive surgery and booked holidays that we’ve paid for up-front. Whilst we haven’t been frivolous with our money, we haven’t exactly been careful either.

I think there’s a fine line when it comes to spending and saving. I want to be careful with my spending but still feel free to make choices without having that anxiety-inducing moment.

Back to the planner I bought yesterday. Whilst it’s certainly a lot of money, I worked out it ends up being approximately $1.70 per week. But I anguished over this choice for weeks and I don’t want that. I want to feel confident in the choices I’m making. I want to intrinsically know that it’s ok to spend money on things that are useful and important, especially when I can afford to and it’s not impacting anything else. But that is where the problem lies. It is impacting other things so until I get that sorted I’ll feel either anxious or ambivalent about every purchase I make.

So, my aim for the rest of this year is to get my finances sorted so I can start 2018 fresh.

Intentional Spending – August

August should, in theory be a quiet month. My jaw surgery is tomorrow (eek!) and I will be staying at my parents for a couple of weeks. I think most of my expenses this month will be train tickets to get to the surgeon for check ups.

August Spending

  • Train ticket for surgeon appointment number 1 – $6.00
  • Train ticket for surgeon appointment number 2 – $6.00
  • Rates Payment – $1432.00
  • Body Corporate bill – $350.00 (I’m not sure if this is actually coming but I haven’t paid one in a while so I’m anticipating it’s arrival)
  • Father’s Day gift – $50.00
  • Nephew’s birthday present – $50.00
  • Beautiful You course repayment – $396.00
  • Dinner out as a last hurrah – $150.00

This is my list of additional purchases.

  • Black loafers/shoes for work – up to $150
  • A new water bottle that tallies how many bottles have been drunk, is BPA free and made of glass – $50
  • Single serve bowls that can be microwaved x 4 – up to $50
  • iPod – $219 (new item)
  • Doorbell – purchased last month by fiance

I haven’t added anything new to the additional purchases list. I think I will probably get the iPod this month but I’ll see how I feel in terms of getting out of the house and driving. Although I don’t have it as part of my intentional spending list, I think my grocery bill will decrease significantly as I’ll be buying mostly fruit and veggies to blend into smoothies.

Budget Spend – $2440.00
Additional Spend – $469.00

Intentional Spending – July Wrap Up

Wow, I did really bad at calculating all my expenses this month. I’m so over and I knew it around the 20th July which was 6 days after pay day.

Here’s how I fared in July’s Intentional Spending.

  • Lunch at the Sofitel for a friend’s birthday – $110.00
    Lunch ended up being $116.00. And delicious.
  • Xrays etc for surgery – $850.00
    Xrays and moulds were taken – $850.00
  • Dinner with friends – $100.00
    My fiance paid for this dinner.
  • Train/Uber for Barossa Dirt – $30.00
    We used the train both ways – $6.00
  • Drinks for when my best friend is back in town from overseas – $50.00
    Drinks turned into lunch first so I paid for that – $62.10
  • Train/Uber for fiance’s mid year social for work – $50.00
    Got the train to and from the event – $6.00

Here’s how I overspent

  • Dinner after Barossa Dirt – $82.00
  • Forgot about my water bill – $232.00
  • Going away drinks for a colleague. Not once, but twice. And I paid for the first rounds. I have to stop doing that because I’m always driving so never get shouted drinks – $42.00
  • Forgot about the coaching course I signed up for. Whilst I had the deposit money saved, I forgot about the monthly payments – $396.00
  • Impromptu dinner out with girlfriends. One decided on a last minute visit from Perth so of course that meant dinner and drinks – $25.00
  • New headlights as both my mine blew within a couple weeks of each other – $19.00
  • New Pj’s – $24.00
  • Internet Extender (so the wifi actually reaches my old bedroom whilst I’m staying at my parents place – $49.95
  • New jacket – $39.00
  • Online Diploma (I like studying for fun) – $49.00

I spent an extra $957.95.  Whilst it is a lot, I’ve included the water bill in there. Part of my savings strategy is to put away money for these types of bills but if I can, I like to just pay them out of my everyday account because then the money I’ve put in the savings can be moved to an actual savings account. The course is something I’m going to have to be really mindful of because it is almost $400.00 extra a month that I knew about but didn’t really realise it if you get me. I know I can do it – it may mean tweaking how much I’m putting away for stuff for a few months.

I also bought an item that wasn’t on my list nor was it on my clothing list but an item I realised I wanted whilst reading Natalie’s Intentional Spending post and that is a leather jacket.  Initially I wanted a real leather jacket and was happy to spend up to $300.00 but wasn’t happy with anything I’d found. I was in Target one day wandering and found a faux leather jacket that I quite liked. It had silver hardware which was good as I don’t like the gold and whilst it had zip details it didn’t go overboard. Plus it was on sale for $39.00 so I decided to buy it. I’m really happy with the purchase because it was pretty much exactly how I envisioned what I wanted except it’s not actual leather.

I didn’t purchase anything under the Additional Purchases however my fiance did end up buying a doorbell. I’m fairly sure it’s haunted as it makes a weird barking/electronic noise in the middle of the night but it’s a doorbell that I did not have to pay for so it’s now crossed off the list.

Budget Spend- $1130.00
Actual Spend- $1040.10
Extra Spend – $957.95

My Proudest Financial Moment

One of my proudest moments of my financial history was the day that my partner and I, at 26, bought a house.

At times it was incredibly tough – we both worked casually so our incomes varied each week and we were both studying at university. But there were things that made it easier- living at home and not paying board as neither set of parents would accept any money from us.

Some would attribute our ability to save $30,000 in 10 months only to the fact that we lived at home and truthfully a large part of our savings plan was that.  So whilst that made it financially easier, it didn’t mean it was socially and emotionally easy.

Saving itself wasn’t difficult but making that choice to not do something so you could save extra money was. I can’t tell you how many after work drinks, birthdays, dinners out and just general catch ups I missed out on because I made the choice to save that money instead of spending it. My partner and I rarely went out during this time, opting instead to cook and do a movie night. I felt socially isolated as none of my friends had similar financial goals but looking back I’m so glad I made those choices – I don’t remember what I did last week so I imagine what happened on those nights out would be long gone from my memory.

I won’t say living at home didn’t have its perks – my grandmother lived with my family for the year before I moved out so there was always food cooking, the house work was split pretty evenly between myself and my parents yet I still had a place to call my own when I needed it. But I did miss out on experiences relating to living on your own or even learning to navigate housemates.

There are also a number of connotations that come with living at home that you need to put up with – that you’re lazy, you sponge off your parents, you have no independence etc and hey, I’m sure for some people it’s true. For me, I didn’t feel this way. I knew I pulled my weight around the house, I contributed to expenses where I could without my mama yelling at me and I was able to do as I pleased, quite frankly I was probably a lot more independent than some people who lived on their own but it was difficult reconciling what I felt about myself and what I felt others felt about me.

I hated that friends would go on about how lucky we both were to still be living at home because we had no responsibilities. I hated that they would guilt trip me when the majority had the opportunity to live at home too. But they chose to move out early and rent. It would frustrate me to no end when these same people would bemoan that they’d never be able to afford a house deposit but chose to rent in a very expensive suburb in a house much too large for what they require. If they really wanted to, they could have moved and easily saved themselves at least $600 a month so all I can think is that at that point in their lives, a deposit was a “future me” goal and something to complain about and not a priority.

But each to their own. I used to feel a slight twinge of shame about how I didn’t struggle to come up with a deposit and truthfully sometimes I still do feel a bit guilty about it but now I mostly own it. My partner and I made the choice that was right for us in order to reach a long term goal. In the end we were able to achieve it quickly and relatively easily by being ok not having the same things as those around us.

How I Save Money By Spending A Little Bit More

I used to do a weekly shop and found that I was throwing out most of the food I’d purchased. Why? Well, between the two family meals my partner and I have at our respective parents places, plus those leftovers and random brunches and dinners out, we don’t actually need that much between us. But occasionally we have those weeks where we barely leave the house, eat everything, run out and then have to bulk up and waste that.

So my strategy to combat waste has been to only pick up what I need for that night and occasionally adding in items for a meal the next night. This means only buying 2 bananas instead of a bunch, buying 1 bunch of asparagus or broccoli instead of a few to last the week. It also means re-evaluating whether I really need the 4 avocados for $10 if they are already on their way to ripening because I’ll just end up throwing it out anyway. So whilst that seems like a good deal, if I’m not going to eat 3 of them then I’m paying $10 for 1 avocado.

I admit, this can be hard. I personally hate having to go shopping every afternoon after work. Some days I just want to go straight home, sit on the couch and eat cereal for dinner. But I’m lucky that I can go at lunch times and keep my food in the fridge throughout the day (Side Tip – if you’re forgetful, keep your car keys in the bag in the fridge so you can’t leave without your groceries). This serves me well as where I work, there is a culture to eat at your desk and work through lunch so this gives me an opportunity to leave the office.

I’ve realized that this method has actually saved me money despite not buying up big. I’ve found that sometimes it’s better to spend a tiny bit more knowing you will actually eat everything you’ve purchased rather than buying a lot, saving and then throwing most of it away.

Do you do a weekly shop or a little every couple of days?