Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Bulbs and budgets

This gorgeous flower is one of the lovely get well soon gifts I received. This was from my friend, Nat. Isn't it beautiful?

The best part of the gift was the note I got on how not to stuff it up and kill it too soon :) I love that Nat knows I am USELESS with plants and gave me the most detailed note to keep it alive. Yes, it's going in my "things I love" mini book.

This is my study - in the background can you see my goals (I highlight as I get through them), inspirational printables, photos, etc.


I did the (long overdue) budget last night and found out the following things:

  1. I procrastinate with this task almost like I do with the photos. The only thing that forced me to do it was my wallet bulging with receipts.
  2. It's very, very satisfying to scrunch up receipts and TOSS!
  3. I really do hate spreadsheets but once it's all done, I do love analysing the data.
  4. I justify spending money on books for the kids because books are educational. However, we spend far too much money at CUM books and I will have to put myself on a spending fast from now until that week between Christmas and New Year when prices are slashed. 
  6. I'm also not applying my organising and decluttering rules in this area of our lives. I asked Kendra to go get all the books she doesn't read any more and she brought me one. Poor Polly Cat has been banished to the donate pile!
  7. We have spent just under R46 917 on the babies' expenses from Jan - Oct. This is wonderful - last year this time we'd spent R51753. We won't talk about 2009 - I'm still in denial about that spending... I'm looking forward to spending even less next year (our last year of minimal expenses due to no pre-school and only seeing the doc again when they're 3).
  8. We spent R5846 on Nutren Jr since Feb, more than we spent on formula the whole of last year... and I haven't even been giving them the full recommended dose per day. We see the paediatric nutritionist tomorrow for (hopefully) our last appt - let's hope the kids have grown enough to satisfy her.
  9. R5300 for nappies is scary! That's more than half the price of a holiday for one adult to Thailand (around R8000 - just over $1000)! Speaking of which, we've been discussing the accommodation for the Jan beach holiday and I said to D that we should stay for 7 - 10 days and HE said, "that's a holiday to Thailand" and suddenly I really want to go to Thailand. Why is travelling in South Africa so expensive?! (and it's really not but when you think that you can fly off into the sunset, then suddenly things look different...)
  10. On the very bright side, the amount for medical for the whole year is only R1065. That's the lowest category. Just to clarify, this is for medical expenses not paid for by our medical aid - either the doctor charges above medical aid rates or we have now exhausted our savings for the year. Again on the bright side, this year we made it until Sept. (In 2009 we made it until Feb before running out of savings because of all those appointments and scans, in 2010 we made it until Aug and this year a month longer)

I think I'm going to have to stop keeping track of the babies' expenses next year just so I stop obsessing ... but it's so much fun to look back and see how far we've come.

Do you track your spending? Yes/ no? Why? Why not?

Tell me one thing you've learnt about managing your money.
PS if you have any questions, ask away in the comments and I'll answer.

PPS I decided to return those sandals. I just don't love them and for that price, there needs to be some love :)


  1. Not at all in the details you go into! And with all the OT and Play theraphy and self payment gap issues and the Princess ear operation this year has been medical wise our worst ever!

  2. I know, I know! 2008 and 2009 were our worst years ever - IFS, tons of scans, sick babies in NICU, tons of doctors, I never want to go there again!

    I'm obsessed by the detail - it's how my weird brain works :)

  3. That's a lot of money on the twins - but babies are a whole lot more expensive that kids (i think).

    We run our finances through the business, so everything is analysed there - although i do not spend hours obsessing.

    I have a limit on my credit card and some months I need to transfer more money (then i know i've spent far too much) and other months i don't spend half of it.

    Kind of pans out in the long run.

    Our biggest expense this year? 2 bulls (50k) and feed (100k).

  4. #5??

    I certainly don't go into the details, they depress me. I only analyze my spending when I see problems, like when we eat out too much I look to see what we actually spent. I think I like the ability to spend freely.

    As for receipts, I only save them if I may need them again. Either for proof of purchase or returns. All the day to day receipts are trashed. I often don't even look at the totals at the register, instead choosing to look at the prices when I'm buying. Does that makes sense?

    As for regular bills and expenses, I keep a book. It lists the the payee, date due, amount, and balance if any. Then I add in the date paid and confirmation number. That's as close to book keeping as I get to. Sadly that's just to make sure that I don't forget anyone since I bank totally online now.

    One thing I'm still trying to learn about finances is how to work with someone. DH and I have yet to figure out a system of jointly tracking purchases. If he wants to make a purchase outside the norm, he either calls or uses a credit card. He's afraid to spend money that isn't there. I, intern, get tired of being asked for everything he wants to purchase but also yell at him for using a credit card when he could have paid for it! We've tried separate accounts(he can't keep track of his money), an allowance system, spending limits, and just using a paying a credit card at the end of the month (he can't control his spending). How do you balance two people spending?

  5. Good job on the budget. I am on a retirement income, and pretty static expenses. So I know how much extra money I have each month (not much) to spend on extras, like art supplies, books, or fabric. I do have a running spread sheet with expenses, that my computer automatically generates from my bank account. So I let the computer do the work, while I have fun.

  6. Anonymous5:35 pm

    David keeps spreadsheets like you do so he knows more than I do but we dont keep it this detailed at all.

    I will say that going the cloth nappy route has been the best decision EVER. We spent R3000 on them and they should last until he potty trains :) And I dont have to stress about running out or not having money etc

  7. I don't budget and I should...I don't even know where to start to be honest. I am also scared to see exactly what I spend our money on...LOL!

    If I wanted to....how would I start with something simple?


  8. We don't track in any formal sense and don't really have a formal budget either. We operate much the way Mandy does, from the sound of her comment.

    I know how much our routine monthly spending is, and I know we have enough to cover that from each paycheck. We are fortunate enough to have the padding that allows us not to have to debate each little 'extra', as long as they don't pile up. If there's a larger out-of-the-ordinary purchase coming up, I will check to see if we have the money or if we need to get it from savings, but on a routine basis, we spend roughly the same each month and I know it's covered.

    I think about budgeting to help identify overspending and reduce in some areas, but I'm not very motivated. I guess that's what they call a "first-world problem", huh??

    And re: Mandy's comment, J and I have separate accounts, with the freedom to transfer from one to the other (including savings) when we need to. It works for us, so we don't have to report each little purchase to make sure we don't overdraw!

  9. Shayne, oh my gosh, that kind of spending scares me :)

    Mandy, I will fix. I just highlighted all the text and clicked the number thing and it messed up somewhere :)

    The joint finances thing is such a big question. I think I should write a post.

    ArtyMarti, I like your idea of systemising so that you can have fun! I wish I had something to do the same for me.

    Laura, I love your cloth nappy savings!

    Ginger, the best way to start is first to track ALL spending for a month so you can see where all your money is going and then create a budget with income and expenses, and see if the expenses = income.

  10. I wish that I could outsource this part of my life. I do keep track but not as well as I should. To be honest, it makes me feel despondent and very depressed to see it all in black and white. I just keep seeing the hole that I'm struggling to dig myself out of. Also, my DH and I have very different ideas of how to work with our money. This causes some (actually a lot) of issues in my life.

  11. Sometimes I think I have my head in the sand...I don't try to analyse how much is spent and on what. I usually get what we need when I am in a store and don't usually check prices. Yes, I know it is awful of me.

    We seldom work through our self-payment gap. This year with B being pregnant we might just get through it.

  12. I don't budget, I think I am too scared of what I may find out! But it is something I would like to start, just wish I was as organized as you Marcia! My initial thoughts are that we spend too much on food. Unfortunately we love good food though.

  13. I do sort of keep track of expenses, but also not with this much detail. I have a "spending plan" spreadsheet. When it's payday i take a few minutes and do all the payments I have to do online, and move money into the accounts I use for the 2 debit orders I have. Whatever is left is for fuel, food, nappies and other spending. I kind of pace myself according to how much month is left before the next payday and the SMS notifications I get when i swipe the card.

    If I don't sign money away for saving it doesn't happen. ;-)


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