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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Budgeting score – February


So February’s a whole 3 days shorter than January, so surely this month would have gone better than last month right? Not quite… Turns out there were some big costs that came up this month that I didn’t manage to cater for properly, some were unavoidable and couldn’t be help, others there were opportunities I didn’t want to miss out on, and others I just didn’t follow my own advice on how I should do this.  The biggest ones by far were an operation on one of our rats, Fran (which she unfortunately didn’t survive), and my TV licence which I didn’t realise was due this month and wasn’t ready for. Just one I would’ve been able to handle well enough, but both at once I was a bit more than I planned for. Going forward I guess I need to keep more in reserve for situations like this.

So let’s see what this month’s final tallies look like.

Essentials
Lifestyle Savings
Target score: 50% 30% 20%
Actual score: 49.3% 39.9% 10.8%

All in all, it was a pretty crap month for saving.  Personally I’m just glad I managed to keep my savings in the positive this month.  In other news the piggybanking is going well (still need to write a post about that topic), although it’s taking some getting used to delaying a lot of big purchases until later months.  I can probably survive a few more weeks without more shelves though.  I was quite glad I managed to keep the Essentials area below my target, hopefully this means I’ve managed to balance out my bills and food shops to make them fit within my limits a bit better.  Guess I’ll see next month.

In other news I’ve done some research into finding out my credit score, and looking into whether a credit card is worth picking up.  Finding out my credit score was surprisingly straightforward, and even netted me an extra £5, which was a nice bonus.  Turns out my worries about not having a credit score due to never owning a credit card were wrong, and my report was completely fine.  If you’d like to check it out yourself, you can read about it here.  My personal recommendation is to use Experian over Equifax.  I’ve heard a lot of horror stories over Equifax worming out of the cancellation by tacking on another “free” service that you can’t cancel for 12 months, then charging you immediately after that ends.  Experian on the other hand had the most straightforward and hassle-free cancellation process I’ve ever been through.  If I could I’d be willing to pay just to use their cancellation service for every other company.

Credit cards on the other hand are a more complicated story.  There’s some extra benefits provided you can spend enough on them, the biggest ones being better protection against card theft, extra warranty on expensive items, and cashback on items bought.  They’re all pretty nice, but they’re quickly beaten out by the massive fees you pay if you don’t remember to pay off your balance on time EVERY month.  Forget even once and you’ve probably some lost as much as you’ve gained.  For the biggest bonuses you have to spend a good chunk of money on your credit card to make it worthwhile.  As some things carry extra charges when you want to use a credit card I think I’m going to stay away from this topic until I can figure out exactly how much benefit I can draw from it.  That’s not much of a priority for me though.  If you’re interested, here’s the articles I read on general perks, cashback deals, and other freebies.

February’s final score:

5/10 – Could do better

Past scores:

January – 7/10

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in Budgeting, Self-Improvement