Today I am going to post our new and improved family budget on the blog for the very first time. I started budgeting and keeping track of my spending in May 2013 when I was still in debt and had no savings to my name. My goal was to reduce my spending, save money and use it to eliminate my debt. Following a budget back then helped me save a ton of money, and this is the reason I have been budgeting ever since.
WE HAVE COMBINED FINANCES
When my partner and I combined our finances, I created a budget for the two of us and added an extra category to include baby expenses when our son was born. Truth be told, I had not been watching our spending as closely as I should have since November last year when we welcomed our son. This resulted in excess spending almost every month which I am not particularly proud of. However, I am not going to beat myself up as we were still able to save money, just not as much as I would have liked us to.
I mentioned last week that my maternity payments will end in June, and as a result our combined income will reduce. I want to keep hold of as much money as I can. This is the main reason I decided to publish our family budget, track our spending throughout the month and post the final figures the end of every month on the blog. I want to stay motivated, spend less and save more, and blogging about it is (for me) the best way to succeed.
HELLO, NEW BUDGET!
Our rent is relatively high for a one-bedroom apartment, but we live in a nice area very close to central London (walking to Big Ben does not take very long), so we are okay with this.
When we moved into our new flat last year, we paid all our utility bills in full until March 2016. Starting from April 2016, we decided to spread out the cost of our utility bills over the year and pay in equal monthly instalments. Our utility bills include gas & electricity, council tax, water, and internet.
Our mobile phone bills are pretty low as we both have simple rolling contracts and pay just £20/month each.
Family Support category is currently missing from our budget. Both my partner and I like to send some money back home. We will start again in the summer.
Let’s now look at our variable expenses.
My partner works in central London and typically uses underground to get to work. We do not own a car as we live very close to central London, and both of us refuse to drive here as the traffic is a nightmare. My partner does not buy a monthly travel card as occasionally he walks to work and other days he works from home. I stay at home with our son and do not use public transport. We walk to parks and shops nearby. If I have to go somewhere, and it is too far to walk, I normally order a taxi and take my son with me. This happens about once a month. What we spend on transportation varies from month to month, but it is usually in the region of £140-£150/month.
Our baby expenses are currently pretty high. I want to reduce our spending in this category as our baby does not really need all those toys and clothes that I keep on buying. It is very easy to get carried away and buy everything within your reach as baby items are so cute! However, babies do not need much. In fact, they need very little. Our baby is currently formula fed; therefore, we buy ready-to-feed baby milk which is costing us in the region of £100/month. We also buy natural cotton diapers at around £40/month. The rest I want to allocate to clothing, toys, and other baby products (for instance, we need to buy a high chair soon) that our baby may need.
One of our biggest expenses at the moment is food. We spend well over £300/month on grocery shopping and personal care products. A lot of the things we eat these days are organic and, therefore, quite expensive. My plan is to reduce our grocery shopping bill and keep it at around £250/month,; the rest will be allocated to personal care and cleaning supplies. This is going to be a challenge, but I am sure nothing that cannot be accomplished!
Each of us now has a personal allowance of £80/month. We can do whatever we want with this cash: spend it on bits and bobs or save it. I used to spend this cash but now I want to try and save. Even if it is just £25/month, it will quickly add up!
I want our entertainment budget not to exceed £100/month. These days we do not go out much so, in theory, it should not be very hard. We also stopped ordering take out food as I want us to eat healthily. I cook a lot and prepare packed lunch for my partner to take to work. Ideally, I would like to reduce this category to £50/month but not just yet.
The rest of our earnings will be allocated to our different saving accounts. Our emergency fund is currently full. We also have a “Christmas Presents” saving account which we want to see at £1,000 in December. I do not think we will spend this much money on Christmas presents, but this is still our savings goal.
We also top up our personal retirement accounts every month, so a good chunk of money is going there.
Additionally, we have a travel fund which has not seen much action lately. I am also planning to open a Junior ISA and start saving for our son’s future.
As you can see, I have a lot of saving goals to accomplish, and I plan to start now! I will write about our saving goals in more detail.
In blog related news, Girl Counting Pennies is now on Facebook and Pinterest. So if you like my blog and use these social media platforms, I would really appreciate it if you could like my page on Facebook and follow me on Pinterest. Thank you 🙂