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Budgeting – March

30 Apr

Well this post is far later than it should have been.  I’ll be blunt, the main reason for that is that March ended up being a pretty poor month as the numbers will soon show, which made me a little unwilling to write this one up.  But once you start ignoring when something becomes a problem, it’s only going to get worse, and as we’re just about to hit May I really needed to get it sorted now.

Essentials Lifestyle Savings
Target score: 50% 30% 20%
Actual score: 47.8% 45.2% 7.0%

While it looks like I’m keeping build of my Essentials it seems that my Lifestyle budget is quickly growing beyond what it should.  A portion of that is down to the usual stuff, too much spent on takeaways and nights out, but there’s also a few things where I wasn’t sure which area I should put them under, mainly travel costs.  Bus tickets to get to the cinema should go under Lifestyle (and ideally come from the Nights out budget/Piggybank), but what about when fill up with a full tank of petrol?  Should I put some of it under Essentials and the rest under Lifestyle? What about when you’re travelling for someone’s birthday, should I include a portion of that cost when I’m working out my budget for Birthdays?  The painfully accurate solution would be to calculate the distance travelled for each and every journey, work out the petrol used (which Google Maps does for you), and put that amount into the appropriate category. The problem with this is that you can spend far too long calculating where each penny should go and miss the big picture.  In my case I’ve put nearly all travel related costs into my Lifestyle section, justifying it as somewhat related.  I’m starting to feel that this is just me tweaking the figures so I can have at least one section which looks like successful. From now on I’m going to split petrol costs between Essentials and Lifestyle (about half in each) unless there’s a very good reason to do otherwise.

In other news I’ve finally got around to signing up for a company pension. I still need to learn a lot more about pension plans and how best to use them (and write up a post on the topic to collect my thoughts), but so far everything seems to say that it’s always worth paying into up to the maximum amount which your employer still contributes to.  Changes in the most recent budget have confused things a little, but that mostly seems to be when you’re ready to retire and cash out your pension so I’ve got another few years yet before I get to worry about that.

March’s final score:

3/10 – Poor Effort

Past scores:

January – 7/10

February – 5/10

 

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5 Comments

Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Budgeting, Self-Improvement

 

5 responses to “Budgeting – March

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