Budgets – they always start with the best intentions, then slowly those intentions are forgotten as we wander through shops filled with shiny things, or head out for a dinner and decide to have just one more bottle of that REALLY nice wine.
I have always thought that I am good at saving – having been on several big trips over extended periods of time, therefore I must have saved up a fair bit to get started.
In keeping with my new year’s goal I have created a rather ambitious savings plan for myself where I will live off only $350 a fortnight – that’s $125 a week – after rent and bills. When I first came up with that number I was like, shme whatever, that is so easy – I could totally do that! To prove that I could do it I spent this last fortnight recording all of my spending’s – while also consciously ensuring that I lived as frugally as possible.
I spent a whopping $733.10
I was gob smacked – how on earth did I spend so much when I thought I was being good? Luckily I kept a full break down of what I spent my money on. Looking back over my expenses for the last fortnight I clearly wasn’t as frugal as I thought when there are things like “Sneaky Cupcake” and “Australia V England Cricket Tickets”
I decided to divide up the list so I could get a better idea of my frivolity.
Essential for living
The bare essentials such as groceries, suncream (I live in Australia after all), doctors and a bus tickets only came to $249.10. If I am honest I wasn’t stingy when I was grocery shopping, if I thought things through a bit better and planned things ahead I could probably shave off another $50.
The cheapest things to buy are vegetables so I may just have to get in touch with my inner vegetarian (I tried to be a vegetarian when I was eight after watching a David Attenborough marathon… it only lasted two days) – no more fresh salmon and prawns!
Because I wanna or should
This category hit a massive $310.80! At the time all of these items felt like they were essential but in retrospect… eh… maybe not so much. I could definitely walked on the days I lazily took the train to the gym. Basketball registration is essential if I’m going to fulfill my New Years Goal of winning some games… but it’s not something I would die without. Farewell gifts for a workmate and team lunches are important for the workplace bonding – so they are almost essential – but maybe I will have the cheap soup next time.
Seriously you don’t need this
$173.20 of stuff I clearly didn’t need – or even want that badly. A sneaky donut forced me to do an extra Zumba class, the cheese and crackers evening was tasty – but maybe a triple cream brie could be exchanged for my famous avocado dip (a 3rd of the cost), I definitely didn’t want that sack of goon on Australia day, and although I loved going to the cricket (watching Australia obliterate England, again), having friends round and watching it on the TV would be just as fun and cheaper. The thing I regret the most was the takeaway Chinese – it left me feeling blah for days – so blah I didn’t even want the left over’s.
The trick when saving for a trip is not to forget to live in the place that you are. If it becomes all about the saving you run the risk of wasting time, and traveling is all about appreciating time – don’t wait until you are on a plane to start. Although I am cutting back on things like goon sacks, I am doing more bushwalking (swimming in a waterfall beats a goon hangover any day), less cupcakes and more strawberries (healthy and yummy), passing on the cricket matches but having friends round for dinner – or better yet going to theirs.