After our expensive year in 2016, we set ourselves a goal to reduce our spending by 10% in 2017. We want to do this because it has a double effect. Firstly, it frees up more money to invest for our future. Secondly, if we can live on less, then it brings that future much closer. In 2016, we spent $80,000. To generate that using passive income and the 4% rule, we would need $2,000,000 invested!
Yet another huge surprise this month because we stayed below our target. “Big deal, Mrs. ETT,” I hear you say. “Why wouldn’t you?” Because our food spending was “YUUUUUGE”. It was beyond yuge, it was stratospheric. October was a month spent living the good life, and I’m still trying to reconcile how we came in under our goal.
Daily Spending Rate
I know the numbers don’t lie, but I feel like the numbers are lying. I’ve been over them and over them, and they tell me we had our second-best month of the year. On the last day of October, I did some major reshuffling of money between categories to cover the shortfalls, which actually meant “stealing” from our future selves. We are saving to go to the UK in 2018, and I had to take money from that pot to cover our spending for this month. Neither of us was happy about it but conversely, we spent it on our values and we knew we were spending it as we went along. More detail below, and only 2 months to go!
As I reflected after one year of blogging, I want to be more transparent in reporting our numbers. This is the first step — everything we budgeted and everything we spent via our top-level YNAB categories.
Like All About Balance’s October, we went on two weekend trips. Mr. ETT attended a motorbike ride/gathering, similar to the one we attended in Mudgee, only this time he rode down to Lakes Entrance in Victoria. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go along, as I don’t have spare annual leave. I did have a Friday off later in the month, so he and I went to Kiama for three days. We also took family out to dinner, and went to the movies with a friend to see Bladerunner 2049. All this added up to big $, but it is doing what we want to do. This is what makes agonising about overspending on bills and trying to cut down regular, boring expenses worthwhile — so we can spend the money on what matters to us.
I didn’t institute the weekly food budget meeting. For this month, I don’t know that it would have made any difference because we were aware of our spending as we went along.
We spent less than budgeted for Groceries Need, but we overspent on Groceries Want — the junk food. This is the same sentence I started the last month with! We will work hard to stay under budget for November.
Yep, way, way over but at least this month all except $2.70 was spent drinking with company in new places. The $2.70 was a bottle of Aldi red for me to drink at home 😉
So. Much. Food. The bulk of this came from a dinner out with family. We paid for six of us to visit a brand new restaurant in the local area. Good food and good company in a buzzing location — what more could we ask? Mr. ETT also bought 5 days of food out while he was travelling in Victoria, and we ate out at every meal when we visited Kiama. I’d be lying if I said we don’t in some way regret the amount. However, we had a great month, and I believe that our future-selves will look back fondly on the experiences we had, rather than mournfully shaking their heads at the amount we past-selves spent.
Gifts and Giving $186.25/$0
We spent the money on gifts, but not on giving. Mr. ETT is away now on a charity bike ride, and he is participating in Movember, so we’ve kept last month’s giving category to put towards November’s.
Our petrol category was overspent this month. That’s due to a lack of forward planning. I shouldn’t have been surprised that a trip down to Victoria and back, along with driving to Kiama, would have increased our spending. I almost take petrol for granted, but it is a significant expense these days. Petrol really needs to be considered in the cost of any holiday or short break.
I discovered a sudden spike in blog traffic over two days. It turns out that someone had posted a link to my Credit Reporting Bodies post over on Reddit. What had me laughing out loud is that the title of the post included “(kind of interesting)”! It still makes me laugh! Imagine if it were truly interesting? Either way, I am glad that my writing has reached a larger audience. Thank you dennis9f, this made my month.
On a second happy note, and possibly because of traffic from the Reddit exposure, I finally made it to the top of Google! After lamenting in my blogoversary post that I would probably never manage to surpass a dictionary-related explanation for “enough time to”, I did it! Actually, I didn’t do anything other than post regularly, but it is exciting to me all the same.
I finally started the 7 Minute Workout. I was frustrated with myself that I wasn’t committing, so I used a trick. I prepared for my weekly walk the night before, then when I got up, I did the workout instead. The workout was fine, but I’ve discovered I have zero upper body strength. I’m doing the “First Timer” workout, which includes three types of beginner push-up, including a kneeling push-up and a chair assisted push-up. I cannot reach the floor/chair on either of these. I can only get half-way down. Also, I am then in great pain for two days afterwards!
While I planned to resume my walk the next day, it was raining, so my exercise regime is still not what it should be. I’ve decided to reduce the goal I set. I will continue to walk once a week, and perform the workout only once a week, until they are both embedded habits. Once that’s happening, I’ll increase the amount of times I do the workout. I am having serious commitment issues to exercise and eating well at the moment, so I need to take it easy to get back on track. Durn brain.
Grow Fresh Herbs
Not only are my herb still alive, they’re growing like weeds. I had to trim the oregano, and I’ve hung some up to dry because I have way too much to use. I’m not sure what will happen to the poor plants as we get into full summer. With the nice, cool rain we’ve got at the moment I shouldn’t have to worry about that for a month or so.
I love this goal! I telephoned one of my school friends who now lives on the North Coast. We haven’t spoken for at least 12 months. Her life is “interesting” at the moment, so it was great to reconnect and reinforce that I’m still here to provide support. Mr. ETT and I also had a friend call us after 3 or 4 years. We will be catching up with him and his new girlfriend in November. Friendships are awesome and it’s way too easy for me to prioritise other activities in my life.
I use, and totally love, YNAB to track my spends and budget. Mr. ETT doesn’t exactly love it, but he does use it — super important when more than one person spends money. YNAB offers a 34-day free trial period. If you try YNAB and love it as much as I do, then by signing up through this link, both of us will get a free month in our subscriptions!
What did you get up to on the Long Weekend?