October 2017 Spending and New Habits

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!

Graph of Cumulative 2017 Daily Spending Rate.

Our Budget

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.

Top-level YNAB Categories - Budgeted and Spent.
We had to shuffle money between categories to cover overspend this month.

Socialising

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.

Food $1685.76

YNAB Food Categories - 3 out of 4 are overspent.
Overspend seems too mild a word…

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.

Groceries

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.

Alcohol

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 😉

Eating Out

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.

Graph of Eating Out Spending based on who spent what.

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.

General

Petrol

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.

Our petrol YNAB category was overspent.

Blog

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.

Reddit link to my Australian Credit Reporting Bodies post

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.

This website is now the first returned result in Google for "enough time to".
I made it to the first result on google.com.au!

Personal Goals

Exercise

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.

Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout
Thanks to Poopsie for pointing me to this.

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.

Thyme and Oregano still alive.
My thyme is growing little flowers. I don’t know if that’s good or bad!

Maintain Friendships

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.

Affiliate plug!

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?

6 thoughts on “October 2017 Spending and New Habits

  1. Many females find push-ups a very tough challenge. However, taking them step by step and with practice, you can improve. My own motivation to do them is to avoid getting ‘bingo wings’ under my arms – I don’t know what the Aussie equivalent is…?

    You blew your food budget but sounds like you enjoyed a great month of socialising – it’s all very well saving towards FI but you still have to live a life on the way!

    • Ha! I think we call them chicken wings. I’m going to persevere – my goal is to be able to do one full push-up by Christmas. I don’t know if that’s achievable or not, but if not then I’ll call it a stretch goal. I’m nowhere near as sore after I finish the workout as I was the first couple of times, so something is improving already.

      We really did have a great month. I got so much value from going to Kiama. It was only one day off work but it has made a difference. Now we’re in the run-up to Christmas which will just fly by.

  2. I don’t know, I only see that $137 daily spend rate , everything else is blurry to me. Haha! That still tells me you did well last month! I love what you said about cutting down on regular and boring expenses so you can spend on things that you like. We’re doing exactly the same thing. We try to find ways on how to save on bills and shopping so we can have more money for travel and, uh, wine.

    I’ve tried the 7 minute workout before and man, it’s difficult. This was also when I worked out regularly. It’s so intense. Have you tried looking at Instagram for short workouts? I follow this lady who does short but intense workouts and she has sets for complete beginners and people with bad knees. Her workouts are what I’m doing at the moment. Maybe that can be an option for you?

  3. Well done on getting to the top of google! Consistent work pays off 🙂

    For those trips I would put everything spent during that time; petrol, food including eating out, accommodation etc under a separate ‘travel’ it may stop you feeling like you had an all out splurge month when it wasn’t really horrendous. You have to enjoy yourself sometimes.

    I’m so very jealous of your herbs! Though I do have some rosemary my grandparents gifted to me on my last trip as cuts from their garden and it hasn’t died yet! I may have found a hardy plant after all. Though the recent rain in Sydney has probably helped.

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