We reviewed our finances recently and set ourselves a monthly budget; my aim is to be debt free (student loan, credit cards) in 12 – 19 months and we’ve talked about starting to save for a house deposit afterwards.
I’ve previously spoken about some of the things I do to help budget (see my food shopping on a budget, clothes shopping on a budget and budgeting posts), which I still use, but after recording our finances we found we were spending a lot of our budget on food shopping or meals out and thought about ways to cut back.
We have a budget for food shopping which also includes meals out or take away meals, helping us to use what we have in rather than spending more. We are going take away free in October to see how much of a different it makes to our finances.
I am keeping track of our finances in an Excel spreadsheet, under the following categories:
- Housing, e.g. mortgage / rent, council tax, home insurance etc
- Entertainment, e.g. Cinema trips, hobbies cost (for me that’s baking supplies), DVD / Blu Ray purchases etc
- Transportation, e.g. car insurance, fuel, any taxi / bus fees etc
- Health, e.g. prescriptions etc
- Investments, e.g. Money added to savings accounts, pensions etc
- Food, e.g. grocery shopping, take away meals, dining out etc
- Pets, e.g. food – we have a small aquarium
- Personal Care, e.g. hair cuts, clothing etc
- Loans, e.g. Credit cards etc
- Gifts or donations, e.g. Charitable donations etc
We’ve also started planning our meals and I have a list of what is in our store cupboards (see photo).
With this list we are able to go shopping fortnightly and don’t need to eat out – unless we want to or it’s a special occasion, of course. 😉
I’ve also been trying to organise our house more around our busy schedules and thought have a cleaning rota or cleaning check list would help (see photo). The parts relating to our fish can be substituted for other pets.
Any other tips for either financing or organising?