Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Back to basics with money

Friday's going for a ride on Connor's motorbike
Doesn't he look comfortable?
And of course, what's a motorbike ride without some tea? :)

So I've been feeling a little out of control with money the last couple of months but I've been brushing it off until something happened.

I just couldn't account for a really large sum of money (basically between all the accounts almost one of our salaries).

Anyway, after playing with the spreadsheets and looking for this missing money for a few days (long for me as I lack patience), I just wrote it off on my spreadsheets and we started afresh.

Then today at our strat we watched a very short but very powerful TED talk clip.

I think his name was Richard St John and he said you do all these things to get successful. Then when you get there, you get lazy and stop doing those things. Of course, you then slip back into that unsuccessful state.


It really spoke to me. (in the area of money and weight/ health and fitness)

Not that I've reached the success pinacle or anything like that but....I am just very happy with our current money situation.

It wasn't always like this but tithing plus wisdom plus good old common sense plus carefully tracking spending and being intentional with our money led us here and I'd like us to stay secure.

We still do everything except I've only been tracking spending every 6 - 8 weeks or so and I used to do it every two weeks.

So tonight I did the budget and here's what I learned:
  1. We (I) spend way too much on groceries. We do the weekly shop at P&P and then occasionally I pop into Woolworths and I basically do the equivalent of a weekly shop again. This may be normal for some of you but it freaks me out.
  2. The babies' spending is even less than before - yay! 
  3. We're eating out a lot again. We went through a patch when the babies were AWFUL out and we just stayed in rather than have kids flinging pizza all over the restaurant. They have been good for such a long stretch now and you can see it on my credit card statement.
  4. I spend a LOT at Mr Price Home. Hopefully this will calm down now that I have all the babies' new linen.
  5. I'm also spending a lot on myself. This is nothing new, generally speaking, but these days it's on hair and hair products (WITSH? - what in the Sam Hill?!) - Brazilian, shampoo and a wash and blow on average every 3 weeks.
  6. It would be irresponsible to do a trip at the end of April and then again in July, so we'll just laze around Jhb next month.
I've transferred money here, there and everywhere like a crazy woman tonight and now all the savings accounts balance, and now we need to make what's left work for the rest of the month.

If you're thinking, "oh, that's only 3 days", um no, the way our month works, it's 3 weeks! :) I will not dip into my savings account.

I like having this blog to keep me accountable so I'll let you know how it all goes.

Do you track your spending?

Are you happy with your money situation? (not amounts, but how thoughtful you are about it and the spending thereof)

PS By the way, it would cost us more to put both of them in school, even half day, than what a full-time nanny costs. We would also have to get a cleaning lady on another 2 days a week (besides the one Nester already does) to keep up with the kids' laundry and cleaning the house. By my calculations, I could pay the equivalent of 3 kids going to school, at the very least.
PPS Claudia, GREAT comment on the last post. Thank you for challenging me. I am mulling it over but will respond.


  1. School is expensive...but they'll have to go eventually. ;-)

    I'm feeling pretty upbeat about finances at the moment. Yesterday was payday abd bonus day in my neck of the woods. I did not make any plans for that bonus and dumped it straight into debt. I dropped my overall debt with a small percentage (10 or so) but with two places. And it feels great!

  2. Louisa, that is fantastic news! Well done.

    I'm prepared for school expenses eventually... but I'm of the opinion why waste a good 7 - 8 months of saving that extra money ;) And you know I'm a control freak about the kids anyway - I would still rather they be at home!

  3. I am ok, but the last few months have been a bit put of hand with house stuff - taps breaking, new shower heads, other various DIY costs.

  4. Do you track your spending?

    I do but not as well as I should be. However, I am working very hard to improve it and I am getting a lot better at it. I’ve wondered about getting one of those products that help you to track your spending.

    Are you happy with your money situation? (not amounts, but how thoughtful you are about it and the spending thereof)
    No. I would like to be spending more money on ME. But, unfortunately, most of (if not all) of my money goes into the running of my home, therapies and things like food and petrol. Having said all this, I’ve had to do some serious thinking in the last while about my money and what is/isn’t working as well as how my “attitude” about money originated and also where my “money fear issues” come from. It also involved a re-think about value systems etc. and is a constant work in progress.
    Not sure yet if I’ll blog about it. I’ll see.

  5. Two great take-aways for me in this post...the first being Claudia's point. She definitely made me look at the situation another way. Of course that doesn't change your ultimate predicament, but my guess is that there's some truth in perspective.

    The second is the idea that we have to maintain good habits to maintain the situation we're in...healthy-wise, money-wise, organization...whatever. A great reminder, for sure!


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