I have mentioned that my partner and I met in 2014 through our mutual friends. We began dating, and eventually he moved in to live with me. This was a temporary measure while we were looking for a house or a flat of our own to rent. We found a bright and spacious flat in Battersea in London which we fell in love with and moved into just under a year ago.
We combined our finances in January 2015 right after I became debt free. Since then I have been managing our finances and doing a fairly good job. I do think though that I could have done so much better!
Although we had a budget in place, I was not tracking our spending properly throughout the whole of 2015. I mean, I was pregnant, and I was into baking cakes… We were definitely overspending which affected the rate we were saving at. Had I been watching our spending more closely in 2015, we could have saved so much more!
MY MISSION TO SAVE
With that in mind, we were still able to save £10K which today forms our emergency fund. We also invested some cash into renovating one of the two properties that I own and that I rent out. This passive income that I receive from property rental in Euros gets saved in a European bank. I also have a workplace pension fund that I opened in 2014. I make monthly contributions to the fund, and my employer matches them. My partner has a personal pension fund of his own. He works for himself and makes voluntary contributions on a monthly basis. Other than that we do not have any other savings.
My plan is to change that. I want to see our savings increase… and pronto! 🙂 This is going to be challenging because I am currently on maternity leave and, what is even worse, the last maternity payment that I receive from my employer will reach my account in June.
That said, I am still due a very impressive lump sum from my employer which consists of holiday & Bank holiday pay that I have accumulated while on maternity leave. As soon as I get this money, it will go straight into our savings account. Also, my partner works for himself and is due a tax refund which will reach him in May or June. Our plan is to save this money as well.
The bad news is that when my maternity payments come to an end, it will be pretty difficult to save much money as what my partner makes will be our only source of income. You see, I am not sure I will return to work full time. We can manage on my partner’s salary, but this means our savings accounts will not see as much action as I would have liked.
I plan on reducing our everyday spending so that we can save as much as possible. I have done a great job at tracking every single penny we spent in the months of January, February, and March this year, and I know for a fact that our spending needs to be cut back, and there is big potential.
Our grocery shopping is currently a bit out of control. This is because I try to buy healthy organic food for my family, and I can tell you one thing – it ain’t cheap! I still want to try and buy as much quality food as I can without exceeding our new grocery budget. When I say new I mean tight. I really want to try and decrease our spending in the food category as much as I can.
Another category which needs to be cut back is baby items. I feel that I am spending more than I should in this category. I will only be buying things that my son needs and will stop buying too much stuff which I am currently guilty of doing.
I also spend quite a bit on natural chemical-free skincare, body care and makeup products (although I use makeup much less than I used to). Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I switched to natural and organic cosmetics which is costing me a pretty penny. I want to continue using these products, but I will need to shop around a bit more to see if I can get better deals.
I will review each category and post our family budget for the first time on the blog next week. At the end of every month, I want to add up the numbers and share them too. I used to do that on the blog in the past, and I want to start doing this again, because I find it an excellent way to track expenses.
Do you have a budget in place? Do you track your spending?