I’ll just put it out there straightaway – I don’t like Christmas and subsequently, December is one of my least favourite months of the year (close on the heels of January). I’m most bothered by the excess I see everywhere and largely just go through the motions of the festivities. Yes, I have a tree (I’m not that much of a scrooge) and I appreciate the twinkly lights. But equally, I’m happy when the 27th rolls around and the craziness is over for another year. Spending wasn’t bad this month which was nice – special occasions spending was obviously higher than normal months and we both had Christmas social events with friends/work but all in all, we kept things in check. Coupled with a few hundred pounds of side hustle money, it was a pretty decent month (so long as you don’t look at our investment portfolio… shhhhh, let’s just pretend that doesn’t exist right now).
credit cards: how we buy everything
easier to track expenses
We track every single penny we spend. So, we like to do most of the spending on one card. I also have my card linked to my phone so I’ll get a notification every time I use it – easy to pop the expense in our budget tracker right then & there.
I hit the threshold on my Nectar Amex for the 20,000 Nectar points, so that will come in very handy in the new year! We’ll use these points for our weekly shop and put the cash we would’ve used into savings. We’re slowly inching towards our savings goal to buy a house and so every penny helps!
build our credit
For simplicity, we could just pay on our debit card for everything, particularly as it would be even easier to track expenses that way instead of using a credit card and debit card (when our Amex isn’t accepted in some places). However, it’s important to build up our credit history and maintain a good credit score rating. For all that I profess to be knowledgeable about personal finance – I had one glaring error staring me in the face this whole time. All the credit cards I’ve ever had have been as an additional card hold on Mr NC’s accounts and so I’ve spent all these years not building my own good credit report with sensible use of credit cards. Since opening the Nectar Amex in October, my credit score has gone up a significant amount!
And yes, we pay off our credit card in full, every month.
how we organise our expenses
As I alluded to in an earlier post, we track every single penny – more on our budget strategy in this post here. So what we generally do is put numbers next to categories but those numbers aren’t set in stone. We generally try to spend as little as we can, with those figures there to guide us. In my report, I haven’t added the planned numbers, just the actual spend.
what you won’t see here on a month-month basis
We pay for some things up front on an annual basis – all our insurances are paid this way. Those expenses will pop up in the month they’re paid.
|Housing (rent & council tax)||£1761.00|
|Utilities (electricity, water, tv, music, mobile phones, broadband, cloud storage)||£201.81|
|Food (groceries, household goods, food out (work lunch & eating out)||£572.85|
|Personal spending (own money, haircut, work clothes)||£28.13|
|Transport - train (commuting)||£214.49|
|Transport - car (petrol, parking fees & tolls, car tax)||£108.77|
|Misc spending (incl health spending)||£311.07|
Total £3,664.71 | Savings rate 55.2%*
*(excludes passive income)
notes on december
- our personal spending looks crazy low and there’s a couple of reasons for that. The first is that neither of us actually spent that much on ourselves to begin with but we also received £100 for Christmas from one set of parents and we also had a £74 refund for some tickets.
- our special occasions spending is how much we spent on christmas total. This includes 3 Christmas work meals (Mr NC had 2!) and a Christmas outing with friends. We don’t buy each other things for Christmas.
- misc spending includes almost £70 on shoe boxes and a couple of other storage/organising containers from Lakeland. Yes, I’m that crazy organising lady who likes things uber organised.