If you read my STOP-tober post from yesterday, you will know that I have accepted the STOP-tober challenge created by Elaine Colliar at Mortgage Free in Three.
Elaine is doing a money diet. I'm doing an everything diet but let's talk about the money today.
Elaine has budgeted her month, taken out the money she needs in cash (with no extras), and put it into envelopes clearly labeled for their purpose. She then locked her credit cards away. If she doesn't have the cash she can't buy it.
I need about 3,600 shekels/month for fixed expenses that are paid by automatic direct debit (and aren't actually fixed as they tend to creep up regularly and without warning). Another (about) 500 shekels goes on utility bills which vary from month to month (up to 800 in the winter when we need heating, but thankfully this is only Dec/Jan/Feb, payable in Jan/Feb/Mar).
Other expenses include travel (buses and taxis) - about 200 shekels/month, household goods (food, toiletries, cleaning - mostly from the supermarket) - lately we've been spending about 1,600 shekels/month (far too much), and incidentals (babysitting, kindergarten payments, dentist, presents, etc...) - about 1,000 shekels/month. Luckily we've not yet started with after school activities.
It all comes to about 6,900 shekels/month. At current exchange rates this is about 1,232 GBP but it changes every month. Bear in mind that this is bare essentials. In order to have a life I'd need about 8,000 shekels/month (about 1,428 GBP) and to save anything I'd need a bit more.
The general wisdom is to put aside a certain amount each month for the incidental expenses. Each month has its big incidentals: Passover holiday (April) Summer Camp (July), school holidays (August), Jewish festivals (September), the beginning of school with dues and supplies (October), and Hanuka and DD's birthday (both in December). Some months may seem like good months to save money except that there is the added heating bills in Jan/Feb/Mar and you can bet your life I'll need some dental work (May?) or new glasses (June?) or the fridge will break down (November?).
So I budget 1,000 shekels for incidentals. This month the incidentals are as follows:
2nd payment of 3 kindergarten dues - 300
A wedding present - 200 (This is considered cheap but it's all I can manage.)
Babysitting for the wedding - 100
Expected 1st payment of 3 for school lunches - about 300 but they've not told us yet.
A birthday present - about 60
Specific washing up sponges my mum ordered from Israel - 40
I have some gifts left over from the Jewish Festivals if we are invited out for meals on Shabbat - 0
Total: 1,000 shekels. - let's hope no one in the kindergarten has a birthday this month ;)
On the other hand, we are going to London for a week so that's one week without food bills and spending money in London is already saved and waiting for us there.
On the other hand, travel to and from the airport this end will be 260 shekels, which effectively doubles the travel expenses.
Q: So where are the savings coming from this STOP-tober month?
A: Food and household - big time! More about that tomorrow.