I love seeing how other people budget, getting down to the nitty-gritty of their categories and numbers, but I don’t feel it is fair to gain value out of what others are contributing without contributing something ourselves. As promised, here is the seventh Budget Breakdown for the Enough Time Machine. This represents how much we budget per month, not necessarily how much we spend. This week we are looking at Quality of Life and Fun!
Now we are getting to the more rewarding part of our budget. As I said in my previous post, your budget is not out to make you miserable. If you have the capacity and all of your obligations/needs covered, it is important to have some discretionary spending. This is so you don’t feel as if you are required to live in a cave, subsisting off moss and drinking your own urine (sorry for that visual).
I think I will get some disagreement here, because I haven’t mentioned saving and investing before budgeting for some fun money. I am not advocating spending everything you have left over. Instead I would recommend saving and investing at the same time as having some fun money. Do what you can to maximise the savings and minimise the discretionary spending, but I don’t think it is realistic to beat yourself up if you occasionally want to see a show, visit a paid attraction, or purchase the next Humble Bundle comics bundle (the money goes to charity and they are digital so I’m not bringing in any more physical books and cluttering our house, really!)
$200/month; Capped at $200. We don’t actually dip into this a lot. We’ve gone away for the weekend a few times, attended some local theatre, the movies, a collectibles fair, and Vivid Sydney. It appears that much of our socialising is with friends and family. We go around to their place (free!), they come to ours (covered by the groceries category), or we eat out (covered by that category).
$110/month; This amount correlates to the actual monthly cost. If I didn’t go there, I would get no exercise as I am no outdoors person and can’t stand the heat (or the flies). It’s not the cheapest gym but it has a pool and all the equipment is used with a sort of USB type key thingy that records what you do so you can keep track of your training and calories etc. It’s also a short trip from home so there’s no traffic to wade through getting there. My brother goes there and my sis-in law works there so it’s good to catch up now and again. I should go more often to get better value from it though, this is one of my goals.
Goal 15: Attend the gym more often (Mr. ETT)
$100/month; Open-ended. The bulk of what we have saved in this category will be going to pay off the HECS debt I accidentally accumulated. I’m walking the fine line between keeping it in our savings account so we can earn interest on it instead of the Government, and forgetting to pay by the due date so my hubris will be rightly punished by the tax man.
A lot of education is found online these days for free, or a minimal fee (I have signed up for a few courses through Boing Boing), however Australia still requires formal qualifications for the purpose of proving you have requirements for a job. Formal education is expensive, especially since the State Government mucked with TAFE and completely rooted an excellent, practically based education system by handing fistfuls of dollars over to corrupt bastards, all the while celebrating their successes with handshakes, awards and shiny white smiles. That is still an ongoing problem which will take years to fix, if it ever is. Rant over, but I think I’ll slip on n the oxygen mask until my infuriated breathing settles!
$30/month; Open-ended. Mr. ETT’s family runs a lotto syndicate which we are a part of. The wins from the syndicate go towards our Christmas dinner, while still giving us a (teenier than minuscule) chance to win the big one. A few years ago the family changed the system so we only put $5 towards the lotto, with the remaining $5 saved to pay for Christmas. We usually end up getting a refund of some kind at the end of the year. Yes, we could ask to just contribute to the lotto throughout the year, keep the extra money ourselves to earn interest and pay for the Christmas portion at Christmas, but this method ensures it is fair for all members of the family, so we all contribute equally.
$800/month $400 each; This amount correlates to the actual monthly cost. The budget does not track these allowances. We can both spend this money as we please with no input from the other. This has alleviated the tensions that came from having different approaches to money. I felt this was too much for personal spends, but when I convinced Mr. ETT that it was time to begin budgeting again, this was one of the carrots. He initially saw it as rather a dried out, withered carrot, but has since saved more than I have! Considering we include all clothes other than underwear in this category, I begin to feel this is more reasonable.
Spends Mrs. ETT
Just because the budget doesn’t track our spends, of course I have set up my own anyway! All I want to do is show you lots of links to the cool stuff I’ve bought, but that isn’t really FI thinking. Oh, indulge me and check out these dice anyway, perfect for our Titansgrave Valkana campaign.
Phew, now that’s out of my system, I can calmly tell you that I have set up direct debit charity donations, and make a regular weekly contribution to an Acorns account. I’ll post about this in the future, but I saw it as an easy way to begin investing with small amounts so I can get a feel of how I would react in the big world market. Also included in my personal spending are Blog costs.
Spends Mr. ETT
My spends have become a quest for me to see just how much I can save, to see if I can change a long-standing habit of “comfort spending” (like comfort eating but more expensive). By being more judicious about pulling the trigger on purchases, I am learning to better appreciate what I do have and think harder on what I really want. I’ve also been trying to find things that are not expensive but still fun. For example, some premium time on World of Tanks, or waiting for some games to drop in price as opposed to having to have them when first released.
All up, Quality of Life represents 5.5%, and Just for Fun 11% of our total budget. Watch and see this graph completed in our final breakdown next week.