August 2019 has seen the start of my exciting new blog series ‘The Mummypenny Spending Diaries’ and today is my third guest post from Emma of Bee Money Savvy.
A reminder of Mrs Mummypenny Spending diaries. It is a chance to read other peoples spending diaries, a mixture of all sorts of guests, parents, single folk, men and women, older and younger, from all parts of the country. Not only is it interesting to read, it is also something you can learn from. Other people do great things to save money. Or maybe empathise with, emotional spending, mum guilt (talking from experience here).
Most of all, keeping a detailed spending diary is a powerful experience, making you mindful about what you spend, when and how. And this can be a tool to help to get spending under control.
Over to Emma!
Hi, I’m Emma, the one-woman team that created beemoneysavvy.com (@beemoneysavvy). I’m a 20-something, recent graduate, in the process of buying my first home. Growing up I saw my parents barely getting by with their finances and falling into debt following some bad financial advice from the bank. Watching my parents trying to provide for their family while living from pay cheque to pay cheque, and paying off debt has made me very money-conscious.
I’m incredibly nervous about taking the first steps to homeownership as I’ve always had money left over each month to stash in my savings account, but with mortgage payments, bills and maintenance costs looming over me I worry about how much money I will have to spare once I move in. I’m expecting to move into my new home next month so I’m hoping to demonstrate some frugal behaviour in this spending diary as I aim to build up an emergency fund.
To give some context, this month I moved back in with my parents after renting for 18 months, to allow me to save while I wait for all the paperwork to be completed before I can move into my first home. My parents don’t ask for much but I like to pay my way and give them a small contribution for food and bills while I stay with them.
In terms of incomings, my most stable source of income is my part-time employment as a campaigns organiser which earns me around £900 a month (paid on the 15th). I also do contract work, the contract that I’m working at the moment earns me £145 a week (paid monthly on the 9th). I also have bit of blog income from sponsored collaborations and affiliate networking (usually earning between £150-£300 a month).
Week 1 (1st-7th July)
Total Spend: £98 – including 1 grocery shop (£16), 4x work lunches (£12), phone contract (£35), socialising (£15), gift buying (£20).
While it wasn’t a majorly expensive week there are still some areas that I would like to improve. Work lunches for example, I bought out on my lunch break 4 times this week, I know this isn’t a massive spend but I could have saved money and had healthier meals if I’d prepared my lunches in advance.
Another area of spending that I really want to re-evaluate is my phone contract, I do need a smartphone (to keep up with blogging enquiries) but I know that I could be paying a lot less than I’m paying right now. My contract is due to end next month and I’ll be aiming to reduce this cost to £25 a month. The £20 gift was for someone who had kindly gifted me their old settee (for my new home), which will no doubt have saved me a lot of money!
Week 2 (8th-14th July)
Total Spend: £452 – including credit card bill (£270), clothes shopping (£60), 3x train fares (£20) 4x work lunches (£12), meals out (£40) socialising (£50).
So my credit card bill (paid in full) was of course my biggest expense this week, but I’m mostly well behaved with my credit card; I only ever use it on grocery shopping, bills and the odd treat and I get cashback rewards when I spend on it. I’m not going to punish myself for spending £60 on clothes as I very rarely buy new clothes for myself and when I do I make sure to use discounts and cashback where possible.
My socialising/meals out costs were much higher than usual this week, but that was down to me going to Leeds for the weekend; booking a hotel (£30), having several meals out (£40) and also going out for drinks (£20).
Week 3 (15th-21st July)
Total Spend: £278 – including work lunches x3 (£5), 2x train fares (£13), socialising (£60), Help to Buy ISA (£200).
I was better with work lunches this week, and even when I did eat my lunch out I made smarter choices, opting for soup and warming it up in the staff kitchen! Again, train fares and £60 on socialising isn’t a regular spend for me but I’ve just started dating (exciting!) so it’s an expense that makes me happy (we all need these from time-to-time!). I know that moving money into my Help to Buy ISA isn’t ‘spending’ as such, but I wanted to demonstrate a bit of financial planning I do following payday (15th).
Week 4 (22nd-28th July)
Total Spend: £40.40 – including work lunches x2 (£4), x1 train fare (£6.50) meals out (£15), socialising (£15).
Work lunches was a major win this week, I only bought lunch on Monday and Tuesday and managed to pick relatively cheap and healthy meals. On Wednesday my mum made a big pasta bake which covered the whole family’s lunches for Thursday and Friday. I expected to spend a lot more this week on socialising and meals out but I managed to keep the cost down by using rewards cards (and using money that I’d earned from selling some old furniture on Facebook Marketplace). It was Sheffield Pride this weekend, which I go to every year and usually donate/spend a fair bit of money, but I used the event to catch up with friends more so than spending money on food and drink so that was a win-win!
Money Diary Conclusion
Overall this month was a spending win as I managed to spend far less than I earned. My total spend for this month was £868, with my income totalling around £1600, allowing me over £900 for solicitor fees and to start building my emergency fund back up. I’m aiming to save £2,500 in my emergency fund before spending on any major home renovations.
Taking part in Mrs Mummypenny’s spending diaries has been eye opening and while I consider myself to be money savvy, I’ve still spotted a few areas that I could be more frugal with (work lunches and my phone contract for example).
Summary from Mrs Mummypenny
This is a very different diary to those I have shared before (Thrifty Londoner and Dove Cottage here). Emma has the benefit of living with her parents for some time, whilst she saves for her own place. I loved seeing that she was able to save £900 for solicitor fees. Buying a house for the first time can be a really expensive time, but Emma is putting lots of money aside. And also great to see that Emma is putting money aside into a Help to Buy ISA, to get her free bonus from the government to help with the house purchase.
Emma does the same as me with her regular spending and pays for it on her credit card and then pays in full each month. I do this with my American Express card. All food petrol, clothing, days out spend goes on this card and it is paid in full each month, although my monthly payment is a lot more than Emma’s :-(. I receive a cash back bonus once a year of around £300. You can do the same and get a £25 bonus for signing up using this link.
Emma mentioned cash back and this is something I have been using for many years now. I am up to nearly £3k in cash back claimed since I opened my account 7 years ago! I get cash back on all sorts, holiday bookings, flights, insurance purchases, holiday parking, flower delivery, online clothing! Its great to save a little bit extra. I use topcashback and if you sign up using this link you get a £5 voucher. It is an affiliate link so I will get a bonus payment as well.
Thank you for reading this post from Emma, dont forget to go follow her on Twitter here!