Sunday, 17 October 2010


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.


  1. I think alot of people are stopping and looking at their budgets right now..I sure have and the good thing is you are putting a stop to it..Now you can see your account grow...Have a great day..Lisa

  2. I'm feeling your pain, Sue. Good, quality, organic foods are expensive. I'd probably have a coronary if I actually calculated our monthly food expense. (That's why I don't do it! Budgeting? I loathe the word. That said, I am a very frugal shopper - I make sure I get what I need for the lowest possible price.) We are trying to grow more and more of what we eat. And like you, I prepare most of what we eat from scratch.

    But you are right... it's those quick trips to the market that do you in. I never seem to stick to my list of the 3-4 things I truly need. I'll have to work on that.

  3. Same here, I spend way too much, but am pulling the reins in now as we have blown out our budget big time with a last minute decision to take a holiday to Queensland.

    I am thinking seriously about joining in the "no spend 2011" challenge on the simple savings site. I need to get back on track, you are definitely not alone with this one.

  4. Great post, Sue. It is scary how much those little extra trips can add up to. You are off to a great start - let us know how it goes.

  5. Since we moved our shop from one suburb to another I don't have walking access to shops other than a butcher's and chemist. Although I try to be careful with spending anyway, I'm stunned by how much I don't spend now. $5 here, $8 there ...

  6. A no stop diet is the easiest way to avoid the leak. I always need more milk between shops, but I try to avoid the snacky places and go straight to the milk and then to the register. And it's cheaper if the kids don't go in the store. But mine are bottomless pits right now, always hungry and you just have to accept it and try to find things to fill the gap.


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