Internet banking now completed, my financial plan for the next four weeks is as follows:
- Food budget: £160
- Spending budget: £120
- Petrol budget: £60
- Contingency: £75
My petrol budget is a bit optimistic but I’m going to stick to it as closely as I can. For the past couple of months I’ve been car sharing with a colleague who lives nearby. We can’t do it all week long but we seem to be managing to do it for 2 or 3 days which helps a bit. The contingency fund of £75 is for any extra things that crop up (they always seems to!) and will help out if I need more petrol. Anything left over from the contingency fund at the end of the 4 weeks will go into my savings.
I’ve put some money into my emergency fund which now stands at a much healthier figure of £1015. I’d love to see this at the original target of £3000 but I don’t see how this could be possible before I go on maternity leave (unless by some miracle I get the money I am owed). I’ll settle for getting as close as I can. Since my various other ‘pots’ have been plundered/obliterated by the financial shinanigans of the last couple of months I will have to dip into this fund if any other expenses arise. Ideally, the emergency fund shouldn’t be touched at all (unless there actually is an emergency) but it can’t be helped.
I’ve done my big shop for the month, stocking up on things like tin foil and cleaning products as well as store cupboard food. I managed to get quite a lot of meat (and a bit of fish) which I have divided up into portions and put into the freezer. I also bought some snacky food for tomorrow night as we are going to the cinema and it works out cheaper than buying things at the concessions stand. I had £8 in coupons so the total came in at £79.34 leaving me with £80.66 for the remaining three weeks until I next get paid (around £26 a week).
I’m going to make a real effort not to pick up extra food this month. Buying food between shops was a habit I managed to break – until I became pregnant. I seem to be hungry pretty much all of the time and have noticed I’ve been picking things up during the week. I’ve added a bit more to the food budget so I can take a larger packed lunch to work which, in the long term, should work out to be both healthier and cheaper. When I plan what meals and packed lunches to make, they always turn out to be far healthier options than the sorts of things I end up picking up when I’m meandering around a shop looking for a snack!