Feeling The Pinch?

Feeling The Pinch?

Published at 7:04pm 19th June 2018.

Carl's been taking a look at his monthly spending and found a few nasty surprises....especially when it comes to food expenditure.

Money! There's never enough is there? Recently I've been taking a long look at how much I'm spending and what I'm spending it on. So, horror of horrors, I've been using some software that lets me import my bank statements and generates reports that break down my monthly expenditure. It has been a very useful exercise, if not a little alarming.

In May I spent £352.19 just on Groceries. That breaks down to around £11.36 per day! As if that isn't bad enough I spent a further £74.95 on takeaways! That's £427.14 in May just on Food/Groceries. Suddenly £11.36 per day becomes £13.77 per day.

I'm also an ex-smoker. I Vape these days and it is the one thing that has kept me off the Ciggies which I gave up several years ago but I couldn't believe it when I saw that I spent £113.50 on Vaping liquids and parts in May.

I've also noticed recently my Electricity has spiralled. My monthly Direct Debit has gone up by just over 50%. As a part of my total utilities which equated to £287.03 in May, it's easy to start to see those areas where I can start to make some better choices whether it's shopping around for better deals, changing my energy supplier or just cutting back on things that are nice but not essential.

I'm somebody who doesn't do Credit Cards. I don't have an overdraft and so what comes in every month is carefully balanced with what's going out but it only takes something relatively minor to tip the balance the wrong way and suddenly, I have a problem!

This exercise has however reinforced the need to do the following:

  1. Reduce my Grocery budget and look at using other supermarkets.
  2. Cut the take-aways.
  3. Cut back on the vaping with a view to knocking it on the head.
  4. Shop around for better energy rates.

These are now my focus to free up some cash!

You don't need software to do this. You can simply sit down with a bank statement and calculator and go through line by line and do your sums that way. The software does make it a little easier though. There are various websites and applications that facilitate this. A potential place for you to start is with the now retired Microsoft Money. You install it on your computer and import your statements in manually so there's no need to enter your banking account information. The programme is no longer supported so Microsoft have made it available for free in the form of Money Plus Sunset Deluxe. You can download it HERE (PC only).

It is just one of the options of course so please do some research of your own

Ask yourself though, when was the last time you took a long, careful look at what you are spending each month? It can be a huge help.

By making adjustments now to my monthly spending, I can free up cash so it's available elsewhere and in the process, save myself a few sleepless nights!