February was short and sweet. We started off the month with a lovely, snowy break in the Cotswolds. We stayed at a luxury spa hotel with money made through matched betting, which was amazing as it was incredibly indulgent and lovely made even sweeter by the fact we were using our side hustle money to pay for it. We also had a couple of gigs with friends in February and had some lovely days out in the unexpected warmer weather. Looking back through our month’s expenses, we didn’t go overboard in any category, although food remains a high spend category. Mr NC moved roles within his company and so there were some farewell lunches and drinks to be had with former teammates.
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.
We’ve already reached the minimum spend on our Gold Amex to get the 20,000 bonus points (which we’ll be converting to Avios). We’re going to keep using the card for the time being as the points accrual is quite generous and we get an airport lounge membership with two free lounge visits this year which we’ll use for our holiday later in the year. We will eventually close the card though as there’s an annual fee after the first year.
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)||£1590.00|
|Utilities (electricity, water, tv, music, mobile phones, broadband, cloud storage)||£156.38|
|Food (groceries, household goods, food out (work lunch & eating out)||£625.56|
|Personal spending (own money, haircut, work clothes)||£308.45|
|Transport - train (commuting)||£127.50|
|Transport - car (petrol, parking fees & tolls, car tax)||£51.12|
|Misc spending (incl health spending)||£137.89|
Total £3,845.98 | Savings rate 38.2%*
*(excludes passive income)
notes on february
- No council tax this month – we’re on a 10 month payment schedule.
- Holiday’s is high but that’s our weekend break paid for with matched betting so technically really doesn’t count 🙂