So the xmas season has arrived and it is time to deal with the ritual present-buying, frenzied shoppers and foods and the like..
This year as I contemplate the cost of the december rituals, plan for future jobs etc and shudder over the increasing costs of living I have begun to budget in earnest.
Bus tickets are a big expense – £14 for a week ticket – which covers W working. I can use it when she isn’t but single tickets are £1.80 and £3.40 a return to manage work and back – that adds up fast. So my solution is to set a limit on how much I spend over and above that one week ticket; except in an emergency that means if I don’t have the cash I have to walk and more than that it gives me the incentive to take the extra time in my day to plan that walk. £10 max
- Transport – £24/week.
Drinks. There is no denying that I like good alcohol and that its expensive. The mrs also has a powerful Rubicon Mango habit. For the purposes of healthy liver and wallet I have set us a budget of c. £3.30 per day. Thats half a pint of pricier bitter each everyday; or a couple of cans of my beloved okocim and a couple of cans of rubicon a day or saved up to one night of a couple of cocktails each
- Drink – £23/week
Food has been a little more complex. Overall I have been working on getting the 3 of us to do a monthly/6-weekly online shop to share costs on at the very least the delivery but also to let us take advantage of bulk deals that don’t really work so well for small households. This shop usually covers such things as tinned and frozen foods and cleaning products. Unless we have messed up it generally comes to under £100, and I am thinking of introducing a stricter limit on this and a more routine time-scale for the shops. However, B & I are now working to put into place an even tighter regime to reduce casual weekly expenditure on food and snacks. This means planning meals for a week in advance and making packed lunches. At the moment I’m not sure what budget it is sensible to set to cover 3 meals a day for all of us (a total of 63 meals). Today 37 planned meals (7 Breakfasts for B, 6 Breakfasts for Me, 5 packed luches each and 3 dinners each) and the expectation of some left-overs (eg potatoes, onions, cereal) cost £26 – so is £40 going to be enough? Do we need to spend more or get better at low-budget cooking?
- Food – £30/week?
In total thats £77 per week. So £80 cash in the house a week should cover everything and I can put the remaining money from my wages into my bank account and save enough to cover travelling to see family over the hols..