April this year we decided to take our savings, planning and value creation to a whole new level. We decided to create a new system to track our spending. So in May we started to track our spending along with gains. We created an jointly editable file and put it in the cloud (we used Google Sheets to be precise). Both of us could update the file as we were parting with our hard-earned cash. So now we are almost 2 months into this project and now ready to share our May report. Implementing and digitising what we spend and more so what we also gained from spending is what this project was all about. Let us explain what we mean by “gain”. Anytime we spend X amount, gain is the amount going back into out pocket at some stage. Gain is anything that could be translated back into monetary terms. For example, if we spent 30 euro in Tesco on groceries, we get back 30 cents in loyalty card points. We might also get a voucher for an additional discount for the next shop like a voucher for 70 cents (Tesco seems to be doing this a lot lately and we are really liking it). There are many retailers who operate Loyalty Programs and we are signed up to all of those. Why not check out if your current retailer has a loyalty programme and sign up for it? We have a list, click here.
According to experts, when you save or for example, you got a free lunch at work or somebody bought you a coffee, you should be putting the amount you gained (by not spending it) into savings.We track the gain in a separate column in our file.
How many of us do it?
I mean even those out there who are really good with money (whatever that means)? We estimate very few and that is not a guess. We have interviewed many people and very few of us even make regular payments into a savings account (also several people do not have a savings account). Many of us tend to get cars on finance, others have mortgages and others tend to use credit card (not to their advantage) without even knowing the interest rates they are paying (and that is about to go up again in Ireland).
Our file has several categories like “Health & Beauty”, “Grocery Shop”, “Entertainment”, etc. If you are interested in doing something like this, please feel free to copy our categories or create your own. It is really much easier to see where most money goes and also where most gains come from.
Doing this made us realise that we can do even better. We can shop better. We can spend wiser.
“How?” – You say
By doing everything we suggested and doing it consistently. Also asking yourself questions, such as “Do I need to buy this?” or “Could I do without it?”, rather than telling yourself ” I absolutely have to have it”.
Stop and listen to what you really NEED and WANT, rather than what ads and others are pushing you towards.
We are not here to say you cannot treat yourself. By all means if you doing well and have the money, why not spend it in a way you enjoy?
Our website aims at people who struggle financially, those who say they cannot save. We are here to prove it can be done.
Check out our graphs below:
So total Spend was 2,182. 85 for the two of us in May. Total Gains were 21 which translate to 1%. Where the most gains took places is Grocery Shopping. Gains would vary month to month. As what we make additionally, we put towards grocery shopping, so the grocery bill should be getting smaller over time. It is probably the easiest area for savings. As you got a lot of control here. It is small and that was our start. In addition to this save, we also gain by bringing own lunches, not buying take away coffees and looking for deals in terms of entertainment (early bird menus are great!). So keep watching this space. As times goes by, we will happily share what we achieved overall.