Do you know how much you spend in a week?
Shamefully, stomach I literally have no clue. Budgeting has never been something that comes naturally to me and – though I track my business incomings and outgoings like a boss – when it comes to my personal bank account I’m not as hot.
Last week I told you about Aviva’s new Shape my Future tool, dosage an online engine that is able to tell you your approximate pension amount once you input your financials. My figure was £188, and I was interested to see if I’d be able to spend a week living off this money.
So how did I fare? Cards on the table, this is what a normal week looks like for me, budget-wise:
£28 Waitrose – food
£45 ASOS – dress for a Christening
£30 Amazon – outfit for Oktoberfest
£18 Deliveroo – too tired to cook
£19 M&S – had a craving for their posh pesto
£10 Amazon – replacement doorbell after mine went the way of the 4 year old (he lobbed the receiver box)
£48 Tank of petrol
£6 John Lewis – tights for Elfie
£22 Boots essentials (nail varnish is an essential…)
Total = £226
Bearing in mind, this figure doesn’t incorporate our living costs – bills, rent, council tax etc – coming in at about is about £1300 a month, which when included would leave our weekly outgoings at around £551. SLIGHTLTY more than the £188 I’d like to budget for here…
I’d have to look at making savings of nearly £40 to meet my weekly target. OK, so looking down my list there are ways I can tighten my belt. I probably didn’t NEED that new dress (as much as I liked to think I did), and though I fancied the posh M&S pesto I didn’t also need to buy the accompanying posh pasta, posh wine and posh tiramisu. I could have saved a little by shopping online for my Boots essentials and the tights for Elfie didn’t HAVE to be from John Lewis, it was just the easiest place to buy from. And instead of an £18 Wagamamas Deliveroo I could just stock up on more of that £3 pesto and pasta.
The struggle for me is that I like to treat myself. I work hard, I don’t sleep that much, and when I want to treat myself to something it generally is a new dress online or a monster burger from Byron – I basically rue the day Deliveroo came to my town because the temptation of all that lovely food when I’m too snoozy to cook in the evening is often a bit too much to resist.
I think the key is to start setting myself limits. Restrict myself to buying the kid’s school clothes from shops that give better value, plan ahead to do a more economical food shop online from Tesco rather than an expensive Waitrose trolley dash. Limit myself to just two take-aways a month, rather than four (sob!) and take a good look at my wardrobe before buying in any new items.
It’ll be hard, I’ll miss my treats, but I think it’s doable.
How would you save £40 a week?