5th September 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

I’ve decided to cut my weekly spends from £60 to £55 going forward, or at least try to. This will allow for one £20 – £25 birthday present a month (there was £5 unassigned also).

It worries me a bit because I keep cutting and cutting my weekly spends but usually it’s just to separate out stuff that’s been going through my weekly spends but really shouldn’t have. I don’t birthday presents should come off my groceries where possible; at worst they’re a social spend. Most of my family and friends birthday’s are fairly spread out so it should work.

I read a thing in one YNAB blog article that I cant find now (or I’d quote it directly), but it basically said “Figure out what is important to you, and assign money to it. As long as you have enough money to go around, it’s up to you what is important.” I always feel guilty about spending what seems to be a lot on food but I think I have to be realistic that food is important. Even being a single person, even cutting massively back on takeout, even bulk cooking, I just like to buy food. I like to buy fresh veg. I like be able to occasionally nip in and grab something different, or to “splash out” on store-brand tagliatelle rather than smartprice/value spaghetti. If I can’t do that, I tend to get upset to the point where I make really bad spending choices. If I feel like I give myself little treats, a small loaf cake once a week, the extra special seeded bread rather than the 30p cardboard bread, I just do better overall. The only reason I’m currently trimming the groceries category is because I had too much non-groceries in the groceries category.

I’m struggling with the No Spend Days a little, but I’m hoping that’ll improve. Sometimes the one thing that ruins my NSD is my 02 Cafe Nero, the coffee itself is free but they charge me 40p for coconut milk. Last week because of the dog being ill my spends were all over the place – I was taking longer lunches to go home and check on him but that meant I didn’t have to eat a real meal so I was grabbing snacks, and then when I took him to the vets we were out late because they had an emergency and overran so I was too tired to cook, and then I had to buy extra tummy friendly food for the dog… so whilst I didn’t spend a lot in money terms, I basically had no NSD.

Still, so far in September I’ve had 1 NSD and overall I’m up to 2700 points on my points chart, which I’ve been doing since mid July. That’s two “levels”. I’ve been doing the same for exercise for the same amount of time and I’m up to like level 5 there, partly because I can’t lose points, and partly I was just more generous with the points there. I might need to rebalance the exercise one. The thing is you can overspend financially but there’s not really an equivalent for exercise (other than order a takeout but I don’t want to bring food/calories into it). With finances if I don’t spend on groceries then I’ll spend more on takeout as a result, but with exercise if I don’t exercise then nothing else happens.

I’m starting to find myself wishing I did have YNAB, but not enough that I’ll pay a yearly fee for it (…yet). If there was a one-off price then I might be more inclined to. The idea of it counting down how much is left in each category without juggling 20 different bank accounts is tempting.

I wish I could find room for an “Amazon” category on my budget where I let myself buy one Amazon thing a month, but I can’t find the spare pennies for that right now. If I want something that bad I’m just going to have to find the spare cash on a weekly basis and set it aside. Spend less on social. Something.

The Barclays card I was going to get when my card deal runs out was discontinued, which bothers me. I’ve got between 3 and 6 months left on my current deal (will check precisely in the new year) but I was looking at Barclays because I already bank with them. I legally changed my name in June and whilst they SAY it won’t affect your credit score I’ve heard too many horror stories and I would rather go with someone who knew me under my old name. But I need a card with a good length on purchase (for the laptop) as well as balance transfers. I think I’ll have to balance transfer twice before I pay it all off once you factor in the laptop. We’ll have to see in the new year I guess.

For Friday/Saturday/Sunday I have £25 left of my weekly spends, which is really good considering I have enough food in for those days

For the month I have £47 left in my social spends account, that’s for until the 22nd-ish and a random £20 note that I withdrew but didnt use

I’m off work until Tuesday. I’m going to Derby Pride on Saturday… usually Pride is really expensive but I’m hoping not this time. Partly because I’m going with family, including my teenage cousin, so I wont be DRINKING-drinking, and partly because I’ve already been to Nottingham Pride this year so I have all the generic pride merch I need. It’ll only be food (which will probably be extortionate) and maybe if I see something truly unique but I do want to try resist

I’ve made up a recipe for caramelized onions and roast cherry tomatoes soup, which I look forward to trying tomorrow. I’ve no idea if I genuinely made it up, or am half remembering it from somewhere. Or both. We’ll see how it goes!

I’ve read to the end of Speky Square Head’s “It’s not much but it’s enough” thread, so I’m all up to date on that now. Been at it since mid August!

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