Reducing the discretionary spend – October 2020 results

So… October has turned out to be a bit of an odd month. The good news is that discretionary spending on food is the lowest it’s been this financial year – hopefully I can continue this trend, especially now that I have my Thermomix and I’m more likely to have pre-prepped meals available. I do have some bits and pieces in the pantry to use up, though, so I think it will be a slow start with the Thermie. I did buy a bit of alcohol this month as well, though, so that did send things in the wrong direction in that category. However, because it’s spirits it will last for a while, so all is not lost.

Interestingly, had I not spent any money at all on non-home based eating and alcohol, my food & groceries category would’ve been a couple of hundred dollars in the black. That said, one event was planned (a friend’s birthday, so I knew there would be spending on this), but there were a couple of meals out that came about because of an unexpected event – my father passed away (this was a blessing in disguise, as he had fairly advanced dementia). A close look, however, shows that this only accounts for about $45 so, as I’ve already realised (but am clearly not yet managing to overcome), the main culprit for non-essential foods other than alcohol is the “little extras” that I tend to pick up at the supermarket – a nice scroll from the bakery section, a chocolate bar or a small packet of chips to enjoy after lunch as a once-a-week treat. (My weekly shopping coffee and a couple of other regular coffee purchases are budgeted for, so these are the ‘on top of the budget’ items.) So today, when I did my grocery shopping, I avoided those areas of the supermarket. (Now I just need to keep doing this!)

I’ll be interested to see how the Thermomix changes things in relation to this. I’ve already made one batch of gelato, and have just bought ingredients to make a batch of mango “nice-cream” – just a little bit of sugar, an egg white and fruit. This was one of the things made at the demo I went to, and it was so delicious! I’ve also got heaps of recipes already bookmarked to try out (I’m making beef stroganoff tonight).

In other categories, the household & utilities was a bit over budget, primarily because I bought some accessories for the Thermie, and a couple of Tupperware items that suddenly popped up on sale that I regretted not buying previously. I’m very nicely in the black for car expenses (because I didn’t get my usual service done this month – given how little the car has been used this year it didn’t seem worthwhile) and general/miscellaneous. Personal/health/wellness, tax and in-super insurances were a little over budget though. The in-super insurance is not easily predicted, unfortunately, but the amounts are not usually large. It’s just annoying that the dates that the tax is deducted don’t align with my pay dates – for some reason it seems to take a week or so for the salary-sacrificed super to actually be reflected in my account. I did, however, manage to save a little extra thanks to some small dividends that were paid in September and October, which have been channelled to my Fire Extinguisher/Mojo balance. They will eventually become part of funds that get invested either in my super (to bring my contributions up to the cap) or, eventually, outside of super when I have enough to do so.

Overall, I ended up with a negative cash flow for the month of around $120, after all income, savings and expenses were accounted for.

2 thoughts on “Reducing the discretionary spend – October 2020 results

  1. Great Progress!

    I am certainly interested to see what you end up making with the thermomix!

    You are certainly really strict with your spending. I have a budget but i am a bit more ‘loose’, in the Barefoot Investor mould.

    A note about SJPER contributions. They don’t get paid into your account at the same time you get paid. In fact your employer can do ‘bulk’ deposits as rarely as once every 3 months.

    Thanks again for the update – i am very impressed



    1. Hey Shaun, thanks for the comments! I do know about the super thing, but as a state govt employee, they do actually do their deposits fortnightly; it just seems to take a good week or so to show up in QSuper online. I used to budged BFI style, but I wanted to get a bit more focused about it in the hope of increasing my savings rate. As for the Thermie – so far I’ve made citrus margaritas, chicken curry, various stock pastes (as they’re used in a lot of the recipes), beef stroganoff, and this week it’ll be chicken teriyaki!


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