Well, May came and went! It was a good month for short work weeks – bank holidays and some annual leave were very much welcomed. I started the month doing some paid overtime with work, which is something that I never get the opportunity to do as we have flexi time instead of paid overtime but there was a special project that paid £140 flat rate for 5 hours so obviously I jumped at the chance to get the shift! We try for an extra £100 a month side hustle money in order to not put too much pressure on ourselves so I was glad that overtime bagged us May’s side hustle.
May was a spendy month for food and social events – it was our anniversary which saw us go out for a very nice dinner to celebrate and we also had lots of catch up with friends over food. We balanced out the eating out with saving some money on our groceries, although food was definitely a high spend overall this month. No regrets though! I have also taken out first trip to Aldi, which was the revelation I knew it would be! We have two relatively near us, they’re both a 20 minute drive through Greater London traffic/roads so not the greatest journey and this will realistically prevent us from it being our weekly shop but I will continue to shop there and stock up when we can. I have finally found the best bag of ground coffee there, so I have to return! £1.15 for a bag compared to £2.30 for Sainsbury’s that I used to buy and the taste is night and day different. Good old Aldi.
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 paid the remaining balance on our holiday this month on our new credit card, the BA Premier Amex, so hit the required minimum spend to get the 25,000 bonus points and as we booked the holiday through BA, we got triple points on the spend, so all in all, it was a great time to get the Premier to take advantage of those points opportunities. Once those are transferred to my BA Executive Club account, we’ll have over 100,000 Avios, so we are inching closer to having enough points to get a decent free flight in the future. We’ll be using the Companion Pass we get with the Premier Amex, so will likely use the points and pass in 2020/2021.
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 2018, 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)||£1840.00|
|Utilities (electricity, water, tv, music, mobile phones, broadband, cloud storage)||£217.26|
|Food (groceries, household goods, food out (work lunch & eating out)||£766.83|
|Personal spending (own money, haircut, work clothes)||£366.15|
|Transport - train (commuting)||£204.10|
|Transport - car (petrol, parking fees & tolls, car tax)||£133.10|
|Misc spending (incl health spending)||£281.84|
Total £3,918.16 | Savings rate 62.9%*
*(excludes passive income)
notes on may
- my personal spending was a bit high this month as I bought a couple of clothing items. I’m not a big clothes shopping fan and most of my wardrobe I’ve had for many, many years and I’m finding as I’m getting older, my tastes are changing and so I’ve been swapping out items – for every new item bought, an item is taken from my wardrobe and donated.
- food was high but that included a few spendy dinners out with friends and our anniversary.
- car spending was higher this month with petrol for a weekend away and day trips with friends.