Spending Update – March 2017 – Killer Lunch Trips

Exit EngineerSpending3 Comments

Spending Update
March 2017

Killer Lunch Trips

It’s late being mid-April but here is my March spending as promised.

I work on the budgeting philosophy of assigning every pound a task. Budgeting all my income down to zero so that I calculate what I can save at the beginning of the month rather than seeing what is left at the end. This is something I have learnt to do by using a piece of software called You Need A Budget (YNAB)*.

The trick is paying yourself first. Using automated standing orders (bank transfers) I pay my savings accounts, my bills account before anything else happens each month. Anything left in my account is fair game for my expenses.

A few notes on my spending categories:

Expenses – This includes items such as fuel, supermarket, cough*video games*cough, dining / drinking and general going out. Also any projects I wish to do, it was some new plants for the garden this month.

Home – This is all my home bills; mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc.

Personal Electronics – Shockingly large phone bill, Private Internet Access (PIA not an affiliate link, I’m just pleased user) and some iPad insurance which I need to cancel.

Car – My Yaris PCP finance payment and road tax payments.

Savings – The best category! This is currently split £350 wedding / £125 overpay mortgage / everything else to general savings.

It’s not a bad savings rate, 34%, but dwarfed by a fair number of FI bloggers out there, hats off to them. I will work on this, try to raise this as much as I can. I’m looking forward to not having a car loan, there’s an extra ~£150 a month I could contribute. As it stands the savings are not being invested but can be next year after my wedding.

What has taken its toll on my wallet this month was my daily walk on my lunch break, usually to the local high street. I had been lagging on tracking my spending and by mid-March I thought I should catch-up. Turns out my daily walk had been to the Sainsbury’s to buy a drink and snack…every work day (well pretty much). Check out my March log from my budget software (YNAB*).

Can you guess when I caught up with my budget tracking?

It turns out I sleepwalked into having a naughty, little spending habit – The Latte Factor! (more the Pepsi Max Cherry factor for me). Small, regular purchases build up over time and also encourage my impulse spending. Have a read about the Latte Factor and play with the calculator here: financialmentor.com/calculator/latte-factor-calculator, may it bring you some spending discipline also.

Pack-up lunch for me next month!

– Exit Engineer


*YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an amazing piece of budgeting software. I have YNAB 4 and haven’t updated to the latest subscription model, I like this old setup with the mobile companion app. Well worth a trial anyway – try it here: youneedabudget.com/ – this isn’t an affiliate link, I’m just a proud user. Perhaps I’ll do a post on how I use it to manage my finances in the future.

Fancy congratulating me on my saving rate or posting your own?

What’s your Latte Factor?

If people are interested I can break down my spending further into supermarket spending, fuel, going out,etc.

Let me know in the comments below.

3 Comments on “Spending Update – March 2017 – Killer Lunch Trips”

  1. 34% is a great savings rate, well done. You’re saving for a wedding, probably honeymoon too and unlike many young folk, not getting into debt to get there! One thing I’ve learnt is to not compare myself to others – it’s hard not to get envious of high savings rates or high net worths but everyone’s situation is different – best to just compare your own progression.

    The last time I kept to a proper budget was when I was paying down my credit card debts. I did not enjoy tracking all my expenses so made the decision not to do so whilst going for FI, even though it would be for something positive.

    I do however like reading about how people budget and have heard good things about YNAB.

    As regards to paying yourself first, my autosave/invest amount was 25% of my take home pay, so I was basically aiming for a minimum 25% savings rate each month. From the rest, I paid my bills, spent money and as I got towards the end of the month, I tried to make up another 25% from the rest to get to my goal of 50%. Of course, I failed most of the time as I’ve been averaging 40-45% but this way of saving/investing seemed to work for me.

    Maybe you can purchase your Pepsi Max Cherry in cheaper in bulk from the supermarket (8 cans from Tesco @ £2.50) – if it’s something that you enjoy, it’s tough to go completely cold turkey?

    I don’t have a Latte Factor as such but appear to have challenged myself not to buy any alcohol this year for home consumption. This should encourage me to do more home brews, plus I have lots of unopened bottles of wine and gin accumulated from Christmas, birthdays, etc. 4 months in and I’m still on target but am battling demons every time I go grocery shopping haha!

  2. 34% is an excellent savings rate, I think our savings rate varies from 15-20% but we have children which often brings a fair number of unexpected and unavoidable expenses! I’m old school so I use a spreadsheet to track my expenses which has been eye opening, you can’t lie to yourself when it is all there right in front of you! It has led to some changes which will hopefully bear fruit and increase that savings rate,

  3. 34% is great! Keep it up! YNAB sounds like it’s a good tool for you. I started tracking my expenses about 3 or 4 years ago and started on a spreadsheet so I’m quite fond of my little baby.

    As for your question about breaking things down further it all depends on you. If you want others to be able to perhaps give advice on areas you feel you could improve it may be a good idea?

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