Savings rate challenge results – April 2020

Ten months down, two to go – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Compared to March, this month is looking so much better! Most categories are showing an underspend against budget, primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic. I didn’t need to buy petrol in April and I’ve reduced my eating out/takeaway purchases, although definitely not as much as I could have (sometimes, though, I just can’t stand the thought of eating my own cooking – can anyone relate?).

Food and groceries is only over by a small amount this month; most of the stocking up that I did in case I might need to self-isolate was done in March, so all I’ve done since is to buy what I normally would and just rotate things through to use up the older stuff first. I did buy a couple more clothing items this month (at 50% discount), but that was offset by not having my hair done (my hairdresser has closed up for the meantime). Even my ongoing bugbear, the discretionary spending, was the least amount over budget than it has been throughout this entire challenge – less than $65 over, which is a spectacular result!

I was also saved from buying a birthday gift that was due this month, as my family has pretty much decided to skip birthday gifts for the adults now. We’ve been doing this for Christmas gifts for several years now, and decided after last year that all we were really doing was moving money around amongst ourselves, so there isn’t really much point to it. We still get together for birthdays, even if it’s just buying some takeaway to eat together – spending the time with family is the important part, after all, and none of us really need anything.

Last month I mentioned a few little changes that I was planning to make. I haven’t implemented all of them; I forgot to change how I make my coffee, for example, but I have gotten accustomed to using the half-flush on the toilet, and am doing laundry fortnightly. I won’t see a change in the water bill until the next quarter, though, as the water usage charges are a cycle behind – presumably because the bills are issued ahead of the end of the quarter. I’m still doing the bulk cooking thing (I found this nice recipe for Mediterranean Chicken that is a quite healthy, low-fat version), and I make pasta sauce in large batches that covers about 8-10 meals. I still haven’t got the mushroom-growing kit up and running, but I have this week off work so that’s on my to-do list.

Overall result

Normal scheduled savings were 34.28% of income and net cash flow provided another 24.8%, for a grand total savings rate of 59.08% – my third highest monthly savings rate so far!

Other exciting news

When my pay comes through tomorrow I will reach my goal of having 6 months full pay saved! Yes, that is 6 months of total income, not just 6 months’ living expenses. Go me!

5 thoughts on “Savings rate challenge results – April 2020

  1. Well done! Feels good to hit those goals. I’ll admit I ordered pizza once. Kinda reminded me how unfulfilling take out usually is, but yeah it was nice not to cook. 🙂

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  2. Enjoyed reading your post and could identify with many sentiments expressed. April was essentially a time of a lot of self introspection and evaluation due to Covid – working from home and minimising venturing outdoors. I used to eat out every second night as a single person and suddenly I have cooked for myself the whole month – massive cost savings and a new found appreciation of chefs. I also reduced my shopping trips to once a week – again cost savings from both shopping and fuel costs. Much more exercise due to no commuting. I have found that with all the reduced costs, my FIRE number is much less if this lifestyle is sustained.

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  3. Well done on hitting those goals.

    We are about to hit 12 months of living expenses in our Emergency Fund – certainly a long way from having saved up 6 months of actual income. (i am super impressed)

    I have noticed that a lot of things i have stopped spending money on during the lockdown, are things that I shall not return to after. How about you?

    Enjoy the rest of your week

    Shaun

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    1. Thanks, Shaun!

      You’re probably not as far off as you might think, you know. I base my living expenses figure on 60% of net pay (as per Barefoot Investor – although in truth my expenses are a bit less than that), so 6 months full pay would last me between 9 and 10 months for expenses only.

      As for some things I won’t go back to – I’m thinking I’ll probably go to the cinema less, and just hire movies on DVD when they come to the kiosk machines. So many movies are perfectly acceptable on the small screen, so I’d rather keep the cinema experience for those movies that are worth seeing on the big screen. I do have another challenge planned for the next financial year – no spoilers yet, though!

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