Trying not to be part of the problem.

No Buy April: The Results

Reality seems to be conspiring against me not to blog about my "No Buy April" experiment.  I just logged in to blogger only to find a second version of the post I had almost finished, after my first mysteriously vanished from my drafts just as I was about to publish it, has also vanished.  This is unsatisfactory.  The idea was for a much longer post about reviving my "cost of living" monthly series, that petered out  last year, to muse on various related issues (personal and impersonal) and bring things back up to speed.  But I'm buggered if I'm writing all that again, and I've already started to map out a writing/posting schedule for this month, so it'll have to wait.  Without further ado, and before it disappears a third time down the blogspot gremlin's post hole or whatever, here's how I managed my "No Buy April".

I've been using the Spendee phone app (the free version of course, which is more than adequate) to keep track of where my money's going, and which I can recommend if you like that sort of thing.  Very simple, and compiles all the information you might need to keep track of your outgoings.

Rent: £350
Utilities: £204.31
   - Mobile: £47.63
   - Broadband: £19.50
   - Council Tax: £84.19
   - Google drive 1TB space: £7.99
   - Passport photos: £5.00
   - Electricity: £40
Food and drink: £103.39
Pets: £29.37  (Cat food and cat litter)
Gifts: £15
   - £5 donation to the Labour Party (there's an election coming up you know, please don't vote Conservative)
   - £10 for a 'whip round' at work.  An excellent colleague who is leaving after 18 years deserves a good send off.
Garden: £9.50
Hobbies: £7.75
Entertainment: £6.01
Coffee: £5.80
Home: £4.40
Postage: £3.04
Groceries: £1.70

TOTAL:  £747.27

Some comments:

£103.39 on food is a lot.  Too much.  To break it down a little more, though, £13.73 was for ingredients for a recipe when my parents came to visit and I cooked for them (I don't normally make food according to recipes - if there's more than 4 ingredients and I'm only cooking for myself, I'm not really interested; others, however, except "proper meals").  Another £19.10 was for a pub lunch and two pints of lager last weekend, when I was feeling good about having nearly reached the end of "No Buy April".  So I treated myself.  Two days early.  I didn't say I was perfect.  A final £6.00 was for a burrito I had when I met a friend in town.  Again, yes, not perfect; but if I take off these 'extra' expenses from my food and drink total, that leaves a more respectable £64.56.  I think a setting myself a food budget of £55 for the month of May, in response to this, should be my next goal.  Consider it done.  (Spendee has an option for setting yourself specific budgets, by the way).

Passport photos were included in my "utilities" costs because I wasn't sure what other category to put them in (although Spendee does let you make your own categories, it seems pointless to make one just for this).  These were for my annual bus pass, which set me back a further £680, but which I haven't included in the overall total for the month, since it's a one off purchase that will save me money in the long run.  I worked out if I were paying for all unavoidable bus travel upfront on a weekly basis, over the course of the year this would cost me around £1300.  So an annual bus pass, if you live in the Greater Manchester area, is well worth the cost if can afford it.

"Garden" and "hobbies" spends I suppose fall on the border line between necessary and luxury, and include plant pots, compost, and jar of varnish I'm using for an idle decorative project.

£6.01 on "entertainment"?  I can't actually remember.  I should have made a note of this, but I forgot.  The shame.

Finally, £5.80 on coffee was just reckless.  Sometimes I really "need" coffee when I'm out and about.  Except I don't, do I?  Perhaps I should invest in a flask.

So that's that.  I'm going to post this now while I still can.  Reflections to follow soon.