Savings rate challenge results – October 2019

Four months down, eight to go.

This month’s savings rate was 37.81% from planned savings, plus 1.08% net cash flow, for a total of 38.89%.

The categories where spending was over budget were Car, Personal, Pet and Discretionary. While I had budgeted for the car service that was due, it didn’t take into account replacing small items (wipers) or the wheel balance. Petrol has also been a bit more pricey of late and, looking at how much I actually budgeted for it, it’s clear I’ve pitched the budget figure too low. The personal spending was clothing, which I haven’t actually budgeted for at all – I’m willing to admit this was probably more of a want than a need (I really must chase up the second-hand market I was going to look at). Pet costs were high as I’d had to pay for medications and had stocked up on food and cat litter (which have now been donated to one of the local rescue groups after my beautiful girl’s passing a couple of weeks ago). Other than the cremation costs which will come through in November, I’ve removed this category from my budget for the foreseeable future. šŸ˜¦

The discretionary category is proving to be the real beast; it’s been well over budget every month so far and, despite my efforts to rein it in, it’s the eating out/takeaway subcategory that is the major culprit. Clearly I just need to be less social! I’ve already almost completely cut out takeaway coffee (I pay $5 a month to the work tea/coffee club for unlimited instant coffee, tea and milk), and I went to the movies for the first time in weeks last weekend. I’ve also avoided the Lotto tickets this month. šŸ™‚

On the plus side, though, when I look over the other categories in my budget, some areas are doing quite well – Food and Groceries, for instance, has been under budget three months out of four, as has Utilities and general Household.

Ultimately, when I look at the total savings rate, I really don’t have anything to complain about. I think it just looks a little sparse to my admittedly very critical eye because I was already saving 30% to start with (although 10% is for holidays and other ‘happy life’ spending). I need to keep some perspective.