Way, way back in January in an effort to get my finances on a better footing, I devised a financial plan for myself for the coming year, based on my approximate income, which tends to stay pretty static. In January I had calculated what I had spent in various areas in the previous year, namely food, clothes, presents and miscellaneous and from that I calculated what I wanted to spend in each of these categories this year factoring some reductions in some areas where I thought spending was a bit high. I did this in the hope of keeping within my budget and also allowing any savings made to be paid off my credit cards which I hope to clear completely this year.
As I keep a written record of all my expenditure on a daily basis, this allows me to make year on year comparisons and as we are now just about six full months through the year, I decided to do a few calculations the other day and see how I'm doing to date. It made very interesting reading and was even a bit worrying in some respects.
By way of a summary, I am just about on target to meet my overall forecast expenditure according to income, but the amount of money spent in the different categories has varied. In some categories such as food, I am way below what I allowed myself and that is without taking into consideration that the food growing part of the year which is still to come in the next few months, so hopefully my food expenditure will fall yet further below what I forecast, which is obviously a good thing.
On the other hand however, in categories such as clothes, miscellaneous and presents I seem to have almost hit the target and in some cases gone beyond suggesting that some of the food monies have been displaced into other areas. To some extent I did expect this, as having acquired a puppy, there has been quite a bit of expenditure on her, in terms of the things she needs such as pet food, vet bills, toys, etc. which will account for some of the added expenditure. In addition, things such as buying new glasses and getting a new passport will also have added to this figure and was not taken into account when the forecast was made. Other figures such as clothes are a little harder to calculate, as I have used a slightly different system of recording daily expenditure which does not break down what I spend on myself and my daughter into such specific categories. A bit of an oversight, but I do think that I have definitely gone way beyond what I forecast.
As a consequence of these anomalies, I haven't paid as much off my credit cards as I probably should have done and have actually had to put some things on them at times when expenses have come at just the wrong time of the month and cash has not been available. In order to meet my goal of paying off my credit cards fully this year, I am therefore going to have to refocus my efforts in this direction for the remainder of the year and try to stop indulging in multiple small purchases which very soon add up to a lot more than I realise and divert me from the path of achieving the goals I have set.
It has taken me just a couple of hours to make these calculations, and whilst I try not to be too obsessive about it, I think it has been time well spent to redirect and focus my efforts for the remainder of the year. Does anyone else out there have any financial goals they are hoping to meet this year and if so, how are you doing?