Hey Skint pals,
I’m feeling the pain over here this week . . . February’s an expensive month chez Skint. There are no less then five birthdays in the immediate Skint family this month, so not only is it a month full of cake, it’s also, December aside, my most expensive month of the year.
What better month then to accept a budgeting challenge? When the folks at the Great British Budget asked me to be part of their panel I said yes – foolish, moi? It’s a rotten month for me to maintain any sort of normal budget, yet here I am, agreeing to monitor my spending and report back in a month when hardly a day goes by without a dash to the card shop / flower shop / booze shop and um, goldfish shop. Yup, that’s right – as of yesterday, thanks to Little Skint’s birthday, Chez Skint has two new family members: Wriggle and Wendy.
The cheapest of all the birthday presents, they cost £2 each – if I turn a blind eye to the cost of the tank, food, toys and fern, that is. Just as well, since the rest of the month is a corker in terms of cost. Five birthdays; two new babies; a trip to London to celebrate all those birthdays; a party and yet here I am in the middle of it taking on a budgeting challenge.
I had to though. Got to rein things in a bit if I want to avoid financial ruin before summer.
I also have a big financial goal this year: saving enough cash to get our massively sloping garden on the straight and narrow. Living in the city, our garden is titchy – but its gradient isn’t. Last summer we put out a paddling pool and all the water slopped to one side, leaving the other half bone-dry. We’ve been living with it like this for eight years whilst we slowly save the cash to put it right – and I reckon if we play our budgets right, 2014 could well be our year! I’m determined to save the last of the cash needed for the garden makeover, hopefully in time for us to enjoy some glorious 2014 summer sun . . .
So, it’s time to start spring cleaning my finances and here’s my plan for the rest of February:
- Sort out my savings accounts. I have been lax with these of late. I don’t think I’m maximising interest at all. Because rates are so low I’ve taken a what-does-it-matter approach, when actually it matters more than ever in these lean times to make the most of what little interest’s on offer. I’m setting a morning aside to sort this out.
- Switch home insurance. A couple of years back I made a massive saving on home insurance but that was pre break-in. Following the burglary it jumped up, and did so again last year, so it’s time for a review. In my experience, you get no points for loyalty with insurance – quite the opposite in fact.
- Nix the money-eaters. I have quite a few of these: pesky little budget-suckers that eat up a good £50 a month if not more. Magazine subscriptions, snacks on the go, emergency trips to pricey corner shops; sorting this one requires a minsdset change.
- Update the Skint monthly budget. If we’re going to get that new garden the Skint savings plan really needs a boost. It’s time to take a look at the monthly budget and see where else we can shave costs and how much more we might be able to stash away.
I’ll be reporting back soon folks on my progress, ( or lack of. . .). If you fancy joining me in a little budgeting challenge this February let’s join forces!