Reducing the discretionary spend – May 2021 results

Well, May was not my best month for both discretionary and non-discretionary spending, unfortunately.

On the non-discretionary side, my Personal, Health & Wellness category got completely blown out because I had some medical expenses thanks to a knee that just wouldn’t stop hurting. Two doctor’s visits (one initial plus the follow up, and mine doesn’t bulk bill) plus an MRI added up a bit. However, that’s what emergency money is for, after all, although I didn’t need to tap that fund because I had enough floating around in my Daily Expenses account to cover it anyway. Luckily it seems that the primary cause was some kind of inflammation which is slowly dissipating, but there’s also some (probable) age-related damage, and signs of arthritis as well. This getting older business can really suck! So I’m going to have to do some exercises to help build and maintain the muscle around the knee to help alleviate the issues, and I’ve got a referral to a physio for some advice around that.

Interestingly my fuel costs for this month were higher than any other month this financial year, but that might be because I went for a bit of an exploratory drive for the afternoon one weekend (I was bored and really needed to get out of the house). That said, the Car category was less than $10 over budget so not bad at all.

On the discretionary side, the usual suspects were still higher than I’d like (eating out and alcohol). I did stock up a bit on some nice gins that were on special. 🙂 I think I might have to instigate a rule about not buying more until the last one is finished, though. This might be my challenge for the next financial year. It’s sneaking up on us, so I need a new annual focus. (I probably won’t blog about that specifically though – that would be very dull!)

That said, my staple grocery costs were lower than they’ve been in a while, so that was good. The use of the 10% discount once I month that I get because I’m using Woolworths’ mobile is helping there as I’m keeping it for when I do my biggest shop each month. If it happens to coincide with other specials that’s even better.

All in all, only the Food & Groceries and the Personal, Health & Wellness categories were seriously over in May, everything else was only over by a small amount, and a couple of categories came in under budget. The overall savings rate for the month was 36.46%.

The one other major thing I did in May was change the investment mix in my superannuation. I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while and I finally decided to bite the bullet and ditch the default mix for a 70/30 split between international and Australian shares, with future contributions going to international shares. The fees on these are considerably less than the default mix fees, and the long term returns (i.e. 10 years) have been better by at least a few percent. I figure I will be working for at least another eleven to fourteen years, so I want to give my super a chance to gain some good growth up until a few years before I retire, when I’ll move to a less volatile mix. I’ll be keeping an eye on it regardless, as I need to keep the sequencing risks in mind.

So, that’s the May update! Next month – the final Discretionary Spending challenge results and six-monthly net worth update.