I’ve been absent for some time. This was due to our holiday, due to working on the website, and due to something else, which I’ll tell you about in a moment. For now, though, it’s time for me to share with you our May 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.
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Our May 2018 Budget Report
As mentioned last month, April marked the time where our income from a certain source ended (somebody had been repaying us for a while, for helping with his debts a long time ago). However, I’ve managed not only to replace the loss but surpass it by taking on some freelance writing work!
As regular readers will know, due to my multiple health issues, for the past four years I haven’t been able to work outside the home. Therefore, I’m in receipt of a small government benefit.
Despite the benefit I receive, claimants may do a small amount of work, providing they don’t go over so many hours per week or earn more than a set amount each week. I can’t bring in a lot of money, but for a family like us whose income is low, it helps.
Though I doubt my physical capabilities of being able to exceed the maximum hours I’m allowed to work, my dream is to no longer need any government support and support myself. We’ll see. Right now, I’m happy.
For now, though, the money I receive from any writing clients is being set aside and not spent. I don’t yet know how much self-employment tax I must pay and need to re-invest money into programmes and software that enable me to work from home. Due to this, my freelance writing pay isn’t included in my spending percentage calculations.
We got a boost to our income from finding three pounds in a piece of furniture we decluttered (I never thought I could mislay money!) and finding some ‘free’ coins in the arcade machine coin-slot trays whilst on holiday!
I also received an ‘extra’ government payment. May was one of the two months of the year when, due to receiving my payments every fortnight, I receive three instead of two payments per month.
(Shown in percentages of May’s total income, rounded up or down to keep things simple).
Council Tax: 7.0%
Gas and Electricity: 7.0%
Gas and electricity was double the usual cost. This is because we’re changing energy provider, which we did to get a better price. This month an overlap occurred, and we had to pay both providers. It should end up balancing out and we may even receive a refund from the old supplier if our account is in credit. Fingers crossed!
We use Money Saving Expert Energy Club to look for the best deals.
Groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs.): 9.4%
There was money left over from April’s grocery budget. With being away on holiday for a week, we ended up coming under budget again! Whenever we don’t spend everything from our grocery budget, we roll the surplus onto the following month, because our grocery budget is tight. Should we be trying to pay off debts, we’d instead add any surplus to debt payments.
Internet and Landline: 1.0%
Life Assurance: 1.4%
Mobile Phone Bills: 0.5%
My Dental Insurance: 0.6%
Mortgage Overpayment: 0%
Pensions (besides to the small automatic deduction from Mr B’s wage): 0%
Sinking Funds: 13% put into our short-term savings.
May’s Sinking Fund Spending
From our sinking funds, in May, we spent money on the following:
- a secondhand washing machine – I mentioned last month that our existing machine (also secondhand, yet worked great for seven years!) was on its last legs. Well, it died. The urgent hunt for another machine began, and we found a great secondhand machine, by using Facebook ‘buy & sell’ groups. It’s a fab machine!
- a new car tyre – ordered online and being fitted tomorrow.
- two infusion flasks – to take on holiday but didn’t come out of holiday spends, as we each needed new water bottles.
- lavender plants – bought at a MASSIVE discount thanks to Mr B’s keen eye on HotUKDeals. We can only have container plants and want to help our bees. We love the smell of lavender too and can use it for deterring moths from the wardrobe and for putting under our pillows at night.
- plumb parts – for leaking radiators.
- brackets to raise my desk – the current height is painful for my shafted spine.
- two new doormats – we’ve owned the current ones SO long and they’re falling apart and leaving bits of white rubber on everything when washed!
Holiday Savings: (‘vacation’ to U.S. readers) 20%
May’s Holiday Savings and Spending
From our holiday savings, in May, we spent money on the following:
- postage for passports – for next year’s holiday abroad – first since 2009!
- discount shop – stocking up on food for the train journey.
- coffees at the train station – feeling shattered after five and a half hours of travel/waiting at stations for connecting trains and still with a steep walk to get to our accommodation, we treated ourselves.
- donations to artistic buskers
- postcards & stamps – we bought one each for my dad, Mr B’s parents, and my 98-year-old grandmother.
- three drinks, & tips – we ate in our accommodation the rest of the time, to save money.
- ice cream – only twice and once was Thai frozen ice-cream from a street vendor. Amazing!
- supermarket grocery shopping – for the holiday accommodation.
- three bus trips – between where we stayed and the main attractions.
- coffee – one afternoon.
- museum entry
- RNLI donation
- two taxis – after the horrendous, yet hilarious steep walk to our accommodation on our arrival, having learnt our lesson, we decided a taxi to the main town (so we could enjoy the hours after having to vacate our accommodation and before getting our train) and then to the train station was money well spent!
- left luggage cost – so we could enjoy our last few hours without lugging huge suitcases with us.
- vape shop – Mr B underestimated how much home-made vape juice we needed to take with us and we ran out on our last day. We paid for this out of holiday spends instead of from our usual personal allowances.
- amusements – our favourite game of air-hockey and Mario Kart.
- rums – with a few hours to kill before our train home and on a rainy day, we made the most of the amazing rum bar, which we visited a few years ago too. Rum is our tipple of choice. It was extra fun by playing ‘Guess Who’ while we drank!
- a small souvenir – for my mother-in-law, for watching our car and home while away.
- donation – to a homeless man outside a train station on our journey home. We gave him food from our luggage, too. Poor guy.
Miscellaneous Buffer: 0.8%
From our miscellaneous buffer, in May, we spent money on the following:
- one taxi to work for Mr.B –after a disturbed night with one of my conditions, it would’ve been dangerous for me to drive with how tired I was in the morning. With it raining, Mr B wouldn’t cycle – fair weather cyclist!
Our Personal Spending Money: (which has to cover clothing, haircuts, makeup, gifts for each other on special occasions, and socialising, etc): 8.3%
My Personal Spending in May
In May my personal money got spent and saved in the following areas:
- a haircut – I’ve mentioned that I cut my hair, but this time, donating 11 inches, I wanted it done by an expert. After two years since I got a professional haircut, Mr B encouraged me to treat myself, so I did!
- mobile phone overage
- coffees – treat for the two of us on a visit to our museum, whilst checking out an exhibition.
- donation to a busker
- book – a personal finance book I’ve wanted for AGES. I used Amazon gift vouchers earned from Swagbucks*!
- discount shop junk food – as a weekend treat.
- treat for us both – although my drink and cake were free via Greggs Rewards!
- a new hairdryer – my old one, which I’ve had for years, smelled of burning-not good! My new hairdryer had money off and great reviews.
- new clothes – I tend to buy clothes twice a year and buy four or five items each time (including shoes). I detest clothes shopping and only do it when necessary!
- vape juice
- a make-up item
- personal savings (that cover Mr B’s birthday and the *cost of running this blog)
And that’s it for May!
Remember, When looking at your spending each month, 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 you need them.
So, how was May for you? How do you divide up your money each month? Do you need to make a budget? Do you keep a budget report each month to track your spending?
If you think this article (or any of the posts on the blog) could help anybody, please share with them!
Until next month’s budget report.
*This post has an affiliate link to the company used to host my blog. If you 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 get free hosting for three months 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.
If you sign up to Swagbucks with my referral link, you’ll get a bonus of 500 SB (Swagbucks) this month and I’ll get a bonus, too!