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 3 months into this project and we shared our May report already in the previous blog post. 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 (which is cash in vouchers that we can spend at the later date). 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 savings experts (not us, but they do exist, maybe we will become those one day), 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.
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 really need to buy this?” or “Could I do without it?”, rather than telling yourself ” I absolutely have to have it”. Also evaluate all the extras you will get with some purchases, which may save you money elsewhere. Cheapest is not always best value. Consider long term gains when investing into an item.
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? We do.
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: