Our February 2018 Budget Report

It’s time for me to share with you our February 2018 budget report. How can March be here already?!

Things may have been easier for you in February, compared to last month. What do you think? Have you recovered from Christmas? Maybe you organise your money so you’re saving for Christmas throughout the year? Perhaps you don’t go over a set Christmas budget either? Let me know. If you’re not doing these things, why not start now?

Here in the UK, it’s only got colder, so heating costs are up for many of us. Last month I submitted our meter readings and our projected energy bills are much higher than our current direct debit, but we’re hoping that once Winter is over, things will even out. I’m tempted to put extra by each month so that when I come to review energy providers again (which I do at least once a year), should we leave this current provider, we won’t get stung by a big bill.

Are you interested in switching to an energy provider who sources electricity from 100% renewable sources? If so, drop me a message or email with YOUR email. By referring you we both receive a £20 Love2Shop voucher!

We set our thermostat to fall no lower than 17 degrees centigrade during the day and no lower than 15 centigrade between 9 pm to 6 am. Sometimes we need to increase the temperature in the evenings (and weekends when we’re home) if we’re feeling cold. We make sure we’re wrapped up well at home and if we’re sat still, we’re almost always under a blanket or quilt. I often use a hot water bottle too but the heating still has to get turned up.

We try to time things so that the times we need to crank up the temperature is the same as when we’re drying laundry indoors. There are almost zero days through the Winter when it’s realistic to dry the laundry outdoors and we won’t use a tumble dryer, so we hang our laundry on the radiators and an airer. This works well for us.

Laundry on outdoor clotheslines - Our February 2018 Budget Report
Photo by Karen Maes on Unsplash

Anyway, onto our February 2018 budget report…

For new readers: I use percentages, instead of monetary amounts. This is both to respect my husband’s wish to keep our income private and in case you want to compare how much of your income goes to your own categories. As your income will be different to mine, percentages are more helpful.

Our February income got a 2.5% boost because we sold our old dishwasher at last!

Back in November, we bought a cheap, secondhand, slimline dishwasher (it was taking too long to fill up a full-sized one and we choose not to own a large amount of crockery) to replace our original one. The reason the dishwasher took so long to sell, is that Mr B now only lists things on eBay’s occasional £1 selling fee days, which saves money. We also got messed around by an earlier ‘buyer’ on eBay, but Mr B re-listed it on the next cheap listing day and it sold to somebody who wasn’t a time-waster. Yay!

Mismatched crockery - Our February 2018 Budget Report
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Our February 2018 Budget Report:

(Shown in percentages of February’s total income, rounded up or down to keep things simple).

  • mortgage: 22%
  • council tax: 0%

Our Council Tax gets paid via Direct Debit over 10 months. In February and March, we don’t have to pay a thing. Whoop, whoop!

  • gas and electricity: 3.3%
  • water: 2.3%
  • groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs.): 7.8%

We were a little under in our grocery budget in February. When this happens, we roll the surplus into next month’s grocery budget because our grocery budget is tight. Should we be trying to pay off debts, we’d instead add any surplus to debt payments.

Groceries bags on bicycle handlebars - Our February 2018 Budget Report
Photo by Guus Baggermans on Unsplash
  • internet and landline: 0.9%
  • life assurance: 1.3%
  • mobile phone bills: 0.5%
  • my dental insurance: 0.5%
  • mortgage overpayment: 0%
  • pensions (besides to the small automatic deduction from Mr B’s wage): 0%
  • savings: 29%

This should have gone into investments, which will either be our pensions, or a new investment vehicle (after researching them more). Instead, we left it in our current account to be a full month ahead of our monthly expenses.

We didn’t need to spend from our sinking funds in February!

  • holiday savings: (‘vacation’ to U.S. readers) 8.2%
  • petrol: 1.1%

Tesco had an offer whereby if you spent £60 on groceries in one shop, you received 10p off per litre of petrol. We did this and though we didn’t put in any more fuel into the car, what we bought cost less than it should’ve. Win!

Petrol pump - Our February 2018 Budget Report
Photo on Sara Farshchi Unsplash
  • miscellaneous buffer: 2.5%

It isn’t usual for us to put this much of our budget to our miscellaneous category, but this month we added extra to have money to treat ourselves for reaching our savings goal last month of having six months worth of expenses saved.

We spent 63% of our miscellaneous buffer on a takeaway pizza one night, a cheap, but delicious lunch out on Sunday (with a generous tip), and biscuits (cookies to US readers) discounted due to being short-dated!

  • personal spending money: (which has to cover clothing, haircuts, makeup, and gifts for each other on special occasions): 7.8%

I’ve not yet told you where our personal allowances go every month, but a reader was interested…

I asked Mr B, but he doesn’t track his personal spending unlike this nerd here, but he said his personal money goes on vaping, haircuts, (and occasional beard trims), and food treats (junk food) for us. He saves each month for my birthday and will save for himself if he has something specific he wants. He likes to buy tech products online and, while he pays for that by selling tech he no longer wants, he still has to pay Post Office costs.

Circuit board - Our February 2018 Budget Report
Photo by Nicolas Thomas

In February my personal money went:

  • to my savings pot for Mr B’s birthday.
  • to my savings for clothing.
  • in buying vape juice.
  • to my general, personal savings (that cover the *cost of running this blog)
  • paying for two makeup items.
  • paying for a taxi to work for Mr B one day in February.

(I felt exhausted and whilst we could’ve paid for it from our joint account, I’m hard on myself when it’s not an illness that prevents me from driving Mr B to work, so I wanted to cover the cost.)

Woman sat on jetty, looking out onto water - Our February 2018 Budget Report
Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

When looking at your spending each month, remember that your life and requirements will be very different to ours. I share our budget to give you insight into how we budget in the hope it may give you ideas for your own budget if needed.

So, how was February for you? Are your heating bills much higher right now? What other ways do you keep yourself warm? How do you divide up your money each month? Do you need to make a budget?

You may like to read:

A Peek into Our Monthly Budget, which is the template we use each month, Are You Within the Recommended Guidelines for Your Monthly Expenses? and Money – Where on Earth Should I Begin?

If you think this article (or any of the posts on the blog) could help anybody, please share. You can even pin to Pinterest! Just hover over the left-hand corner of the image below and click the red ‘P’ icon.

Pinterest pin for blog post - Our February 2018 budget report

I love hearing from you and want to grow a community of people interested in improving their finances and possibly simplifying their lives. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa aka ‘Bunchy’

*This post has an affiliate link to the company I use to host my blog. You may want to start a blog but aren’t sure which hosting service to choose, hence my link to Siteground. Their customer service has been outstanding as has their technical support. If you sign up via the link, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (you’ll get a great discount!). Don’t worry, I’d only ever recommend things from which I get true value.

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