While we save hard and are careful with money, there are definitely areas we could improve on.
Last week I wrote a post about our biggest financial achievement, saving up almost £50k to buy our first house. This week I want to talk about our biggest financial downfalls. We do save really hard and we are careful with money. However, we’re not perfect. There are some things we could most definitely improve on.
Our Biggest financial downfall No.1
This is probably our biggest unnecessary spend. If I am being completely honest we usually have takeaway at least twice a week and we spend far more a month on this than we do our actual food shopping budget (which is just £50 a month)
I know why we do it and I feel guilty every time we do. But sometimes life gets in the way and it’s just easier to have someone else cook our dinner. Plus, I bloody love Chinese food. And kebabs. And pizza.
Firstly both my husband and I work unsociable hours. He finishes later than me but we car share (to save money) so I usually have to wait for him to finish before I can go home (we work at the same place). This can be as late as midnight. Quite often, I just don’t feel up to cooking that late, even if I’ve already got something out of the freezer.
Secondly, I actually work as chef. After cooking for other people all day sometimes cooking for myself is the last thing I want to do! It’s so much easier just to grab something from the takeaway and go home.
Buying less takeaways is something we are trying hard to work on. The last couple of years we have had a no takeaway month in January. The first year we lasted the whole month. The second year we lasted a week! As hard as we are trying I can’t see this changing massively unless we move to jobs with more normalized hours.
Our Biggest financial downfall No.2
Following on from above, something we really need to improve on is our food waste. Despite having a very limited food budget I often end up throwing food away. I’ll get food out of the freezer and either come home with a takeaway, fancy something completely different or completely forget I got it out in the first place. As I buy a lot of food that is reduced and then freeze it, it doesn’t always last as long as buying fresh food would. The only consolation is that I didn’t pay full price for it the first place.
A great way to avoid food waste is using up your leftovers! Here are my 3 easy recipes for sunday lunch leftovers that can be popped in the slow cooker for Monday night tea.
Our Biggest financial downfall No.3
Not budgeting properly
Although we are really strict with some areas of our budget there are other areas where we are not so stringent and where there is definite room for improvement.
We are strict with our food budget. While we spend very little money on ourselves we don’t actually have a set budget for personal spending.
We also don’t have a budget for eating out and takeaways. If we had budget for this I think we would definitely save money – at the moment I have no idea exactly what we spend. This is something I would like to try implementing in the new year.
Our Biggest financial downfall No.4
As a chef I really enjoy sampling other people’s cooking. I like to relax and enjoy my days off and not have to worry about making food for us – so we usually have one meal out together each week. We do budget for this – we try to spend about £30 on the meal and drinks for the two of us.
We have a Tastecard so we try to eat at places that accept this, which is one of the ways we save money by having our days off midweek. Tastecard allows us to have 3 courses each for our budget at some of our favorite restaurants.
We also try to take advantage of offers at local restaurants, such as an Indian in our town that does a 3 course menu for £10.95 on a Wednesday and Thursday.
We could cut back on this though. If we only ate out every other week we would save at least £60 a month. That would be our groceries budget covered. Certainly food for thought.
Our Biggest financial downfall No.5
We love Sky & Netflix
I know Sky is expensive. I know there are other, cheaper ways to go. But we are just so used to having it that we can’t imagine not having it. The thing is, we don’t even watch that much television and most of what we do watch is recorded from earlier in the day. The main problem is we love all the big American T.V series, The walking dead, American Horror Story, Game of thrones. I like being able to watch them when they’re on without fuss or hassle.
Related Post – The Super LAZY way to Haggle with Sky may help you get a discount with a few simple clicks
We also have Netflix.
We were kind of tempted by sky movies for a bit and then got Netflix instead as it’s cheaper. It may get to a point where we feel we’ve watched the majority of what it has to offer, but with every episode of Gilmore Girls and a second season of Stranger Things on the horizon I can’t see that happening any time soon.
Could we do better?
Maybe. I think some people will look at this list and see some of the things here as luxuries. They are definitely not necessities, that’s for sure. They do improve our quality of life though. We are trying our best to save as much as we can without going without the things we enjoy.
So I won’t be cancelling Sky, but I will be ringing them to see if they can give us a better deal. I will do my best to try and forego one takeaway a week but I won’t beat myself up of we don’t manage it. And I will try implementing a budget for personal spending in the new year.
Sometimes it helps to see the bigger picture and our goal of being mortgage free in ten years. But at the same time we need to enjoy life and without some of these things I think we would be less content. I think it’s all about finding a balance and knowing where we could cut back if we really needed to.