My #Sagaspendingdiary Challenge – Can I Budget and save money?

#Sagaspendingdiary challenge

As you will know from reading my blog posts I like to save money. I also like to spend money. I like to think that most things I buy, maybe 80%, I get a discount or I save some money somehow. I like to find a bargain but I also like to splurge.I have always been slightly uncomfortable with my lack of control with spending. I wouldn’t describe it as out of control but I won’t really know how much I’ve spent every day. It’s easy to spend the odd £20 here and there at lunch with the boys or a bottle of water on the way home from London. It all adds up. So it was a welcome challenge to receive from Saga who asked me to keep a #sagaspendingdiary. Saga are currently looking at equity release can help with debt management, take a look here for more information Equity Release branch.

#sagaspendingdiaryI was sent an exciting bundle of goodies, including a great book about money and some budget stationery (I am a sucker for stationery!). My task was to spend a few weeks keeping a spending diary and to think about how it felt and what difference it made to my spending habits.

My Spending Diary

I tracked my spending for 2 weeks before I went on holiday and then again for 2 weeks after holiday. I thought this would be an interesting comparison to try it when I was a bit more frivolous and then again when I had created a habit and was more conscious of my spending.

Pre-Holiday Spending

In a 14-day period my spending was quite high. In total I spent £1,144. Wowzers that a lot of money.

So let’s break it down a bit as there are some business expenses in there and some big holiday costs

  • Easy Jet bags and seat booking                 £138
  • Aldi & Waitrose Shopping                          £165
  • Petrol                                                               £72
  • Business Expenses                                        £80
  • Dinner out in evening                                  £75
  • Beauty/Well-being treatments                  £130
  • Lunches/coffee/snacks                                £90
  • Shopping for Holiday clothing family       £394

#sagaspendingdiarySo there is quite a bit in there that I had to pay for, namely Easy Jet holiday costs & petrol. There are some costs where I know I have worked hard to cut costs namely £165 for 2 weeks’ worth of food shopping. That’s much less than I used to spend at Tesco!

My problem areas could be beauty/well-being. This was gel nails for my holiday. A treatment to help with my gall bladder and 2 Pilates sessions. I am not giving up the Pilates and the gall bladder treatment was worth every penny (colonic treatment which made me feel amazing). The nails are a luxury. But they make me feel good.

Shopping for holiday, £394 sound excessive. But £230 of this was a huge shopping haul for hubby who got trainers, 6 t-shirts, 3 pairs of short and socks for holiday from the Nike discount outlet. £51 was trousers, skirt and sunglasses from French Connection outlet store. There is also spends at Primark & Poundland for the boys.

£90 on lunches and coffee is excessive in 2 weeks when I could be taking packed lunches and bottles of water out with me. And the dinner for £75 this was for a birthday and was for all 5 of us to eat.

So in summary I could cut back maybe £2-300 of this spending with a little thought, planning.

Post-Holiday Spending

So we have spent slightly less but not much less £1,100…the distribution of spend is different though.

  • Day in London with hubby and friends £270
  • Replacements for our dinner service     £138
  • Clothes Boys & Me                                     £120
  • Petrol                                                            £200
  • Food Aldi/Tesco/Co-op                            £155
  • Lunch/Snacks                                             £80
  • Business Expenses                                     £50
  • Cash for Night out                                      £50
  • Gifts                                                               £40

A very different spending pattern here. The day out in London cost a lot I know but it included a beautiful meal at splurge restaurant. Cut, 45 Park Lane. It is amazing and was a special treat for us whilst we had a child-free weekend.

I have a set of white square Denby dinner service. Quite a few bits over the years have been broken and the range was discontinued. It’s just been re-introduced at the Denby outlet store, so I bought 4 plates, side plates, cereal bowls and pasta bowls. Full price should have been £250ish and I got them for £138. They are classed as seconds, but I can’t see any imperfections.

I have big issues with clothes, as in none of my clothes fit me from losing weight. So I went to H&M and got myself a few new bits. I love H&M, really stylish and bang on trend for a bargain price. I got 7 things for £89.

The Aldi & Tesco bill was too high. We did too much convenience shopping in Co-op. I should have gone to Aldi and done a full shop but I hadn’t got around to it. I did a quick Aldi shop to get a tasting selection of wines for a friend as a gift.

Again £80 spent on lunch out and snacks…considering that its summer holidays this is not too bad. But it could have been avoided. And I have spent less on business expenses, mainly because August is a quiet month and I have only been into London once.

Petrol has cost loads as we have had several football games miles away, Manchester, Norwich, Colchester, Newmarket & Huntingdon. We are now thinking about getting a smaller, much more efficient car that we can use for these football journeys.

Am I going to carry on?

Absolutely. This is a brilliant exercise that I encourage everyone to do. No need to have a fancy budget planner, there are loads of printables available for free or write it on a bit of paper. But do it for a few weeks so you create the habit. Then reflect back on what you have spent like I have done. I can totally see now I’ve gone back through my spending where my issues lie and where I can save some money. I will update the story in a couple of months time to see if I can improve my spending habits and spend less!

This was a collaborative post with Saga, where I received stationery products, a book and a gift voucher.

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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