Reducing the discretionary spend – April 2021 results

Hmm, I might’ve gone a little overboard in April. I ended up with my second-highest negative net cash flow so far this financial year.

That said, nearly a quarter of the overspend is because I decided to make some additional charitable donations above my usual annual budget (so far I’ve donated almost double what I originally budgeted for), but I will get some of that back come tax time. If I’m honest with myself, part of that resulted from me reacting to a rather horrific story, but I also think that if you can afford to do something to help alleviate pain and suffering then that’s a good thing to spend your money on. I’ve been thinking about increasing my annual donation budget, so I don’t feel bad about this. 🙂

I’ve also splashed out a little this month on entertainment – I went to a musical (Come from Away) and also paid for an event that’s happening in May. I hadn’t really budgeted anything for entertainment for the year because it’s basically impossible to predict, other than a couple of things that are regular events, so this category always appears in the red. As I gather data over the years, I expect this will become more refined.

Food and groceries was also in the red, but that’s because I just started with my bulk buying of freeze-able goods. I bought quite a bit of meat that’s destined for specific recipes over the next two or three months, so I do expect to see a corresponding decline in grocery spending for the rest of this financial year. I’ve also changed how I account for the discount I get from buying supermarket gift cards via the Union Shopper. Previously I was reducing the food spend by the percentage saving, but since they reduced the discount I’ve switched to recording the amount of the discount as income and just recording the actual grocery spend amount. I admit to being in two minds about how to manage this, because my original way of recording this ensured that the discount was accounted for against the specific category that it was applied to. On the other hand, though, once I do retire and won’t have access to union discounts, I’ll be paying full price for groceries (unless any of the seniors associations also provide access to discounted gift cards), so I was thinking that recording the non-discounted amount would give me a better dataset for future budgetary prediction.

I did indulge in some takeaway this month but, interestingly enough, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I usually do. I don’t know whether it was the particular choice I made or whether the place has changed it’s recipe, but it was a bit disappointing; I would’ve been happier with something home-cooked. There were also a couple of instances where, if I’d not overslept, I wouldn’t have needed to buy breakfast from the canteen at work. 😦 Sometimes a muesli bar will cut it, but sometimes it won’t.

Household costs were also over in April – I splashed out on a bit more Tupperware, but I think I should now have enough to make good use of the new freezer, so I don’t expect to be buying any more of it after this.

Other than that, the personal health category was over because I forgot to account for a dental check up, which also involved taking x-rays (that two-year period between x-rays seems to come around really quickly). At least everything was looking good, so I won’t have any unexpected costs popping up in the near future for this. Inside superannuation insurance was also over – I haven’t really worked out how to budget for this yet because this is the first year I’ve tried to account for it.

So, that’s it for April!