Savings rate challenge results – November 2019

Five months down, seven to go.

November’s savings rate was 37.66% from planned savings, minus 4.24% from net cash flow, for an overall result of 33.42%. This is the second month so far where my net cash flow (including what is ‘spent’ on savings) has been in the negative. The first month was August. Even though it all ‘comes out in the wash’, I still hate seeing those red figures at the bottom of my spreadsheet!

Personal and discretionary spending were the culprits this month, with a little over $600 spent in these areas. Food/groceries and car costs were a little over this month as well, although these were offset by lower than anticipated spending on household, utilities and pet costs. Technically speaking, though, pet costs should have been well over budget because I had to pay the bill for my cat’s cremation; however, I adjusted my budget figures to account for that.

As usual, it’s the discretionary spending that’s the primary problem, particularly eating out/takeaway costs. What is abundantly clear, when I look at the tally of individual items in my spreadsheet for that category, is that there are all these small amounts for little things here and there, and they add up to a bigger amount than I intended by the end of the month. December is not likely to be any better given the season – so many get-togethers! Argh!

The other line item that I don’t really have a budget for this year is clothing, but I have bought a few things here and there, so that has been another area where I could rein things in (but I have to admit, I’m just so tired of wearing the same tops to work all the time – I just feel the need for a couple of new things to change it up a bit). This year is a bit of an experiment when it comes to this area of the budget, though – it’s always been unpredictable. I’ve avoided buying Lotto tickets again in November, but I’ll still get a ticket in the big mega-draw at the end of the December – but that’s budgeted for. 🙂

Still, when I look at the percentages that my primary spending categories are split into (for the financial year to date), I’m sitting on 36% for household costs (includes mortgage payments), 5% for utilities, 7% car expenses, 11% for food/groceries, 7% on personal costs, 11% on pet costs, 6% on miscellaneous/subscriptions, and 17% discretionary spending (these percentages are percent of outgoings, not percentage of income). It’s hard to know whether this is comparative to others or not, but I suspect it’s not too bad.

Sigh. And now it’s the silly season, with all the spending and social activity that entails. I usually have a decent amount of money budgeted for gifts, but as my family only does presents for the children now, that figure can be adjusted downwards and redirected towards covering some of the socialising costs. 🙂

So, that’s how things stand as of the end of November.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year!