This morning I decided to look a little further into why we seem to owe more and more on our credit card every month. Yes, of course I know I use it but what am I using it for? and how can I limit the amount of times I use it?
I think I budget pretty well, I have a spreadsheet that I allocate amounts to for every conceivable bill I will have over the course of a year, all divided into fortnights and kept in a separate bills account.
So what am I doing wrong? I'll tell you now that I went back through the last 3 months of bank statements. I allocate $350/fortnight to grocery and do a big shop once a fortnight. Unfortunately I tend to just pop to the shops for little extras after I pick the kids up from school or whenever and add those small amounts to my credit card. When adding up all of the small amounts over the course of a month, instead of spending $700 for the month, I am spending on average $1000!!!!! Yes, that's right $1000.
I nearly fell over backwards when I actually sat down and added up all of those little amounts. I try to cook most meals and snacks from scratch, we have chooks for eggs and I have a large vege-patch, so I'm not sure how this is happening, I do however have a few ideas.
Cash: I will be taking out the allocated amount in cash for groceries for the fortnight and after my big shop, have it sitting in a jar at home to use for any extras that may come up. I used to do this and it worked.
Meat: It is so expensive, I don't eat it but the rest of my family do and a lot of it. From now on, I will be cutting back on the amount of meat I use and instead of 1 vegetarian meal a fortnight, there will be 2 a week. There will be complaints for sure but they will soon get used to it.
Bread: I try to make my own but it usually is forgotten about until it's too late to put any on. I will be making more of an effort to cook a good, nutritious, grainy bread every day.
Kids snacks: As much as I try to make these snacks at home, they just don't stop eating!!! I have 2 of the kids that eat way more than me, they are always hungry but I will be adjusting what I cook and make more filling foods and plenty of them.
Delivered organic fruit and vegetables: I will have to stop this fantastic service, we simply can-not afford it. I usually can pick up organic veg from the supermarket a a very reasonable price and for the rest, I do have a wash to clean off any chemical residue.
So this is a list from the top of my head and I'm sure there is more I can do. If like me, you feel you are going backwards, take a look at where your money really is going, it may suprise you.