It seems like such a cliche to say that I never thought I’d write this post. Having read a billion and one blog posts on other people’s budgets, they all just seemed so…good. And organised. And accurate. My budget is…a work in progress. It works, for now anyway.
I don’t use any super fancy budgeting software – if I’m totally honest I think I’ve only written my budget down once.
DISCLAIMER: this budget will not be of much use if you’re a terribly spendy spender. Yes, it’s incredibly simple, but that hinges on us not dipping into the account every five minutes.
So here’s what we do
- We each put a set amount of money a month into our joint account. Dave puts his in all at the start of the month, I put mine in weekly.
- All my other money goes into an ISA. Dave’s goes on petrol, our iPad/phone contracts and fish tank maintenance.
- The money we put into the joint account covers EVERYTHING – gas, electricity, car insurance/tax, food, Cineworld cards, TV licence, internet. Basically, everything we need to live. Some months there is money left over (since we don’t pay car tax every month) – the left-over money is put in another account which we use for car repairs (and theoretically Christmas, but the car eats most of it up).
- That’s it.
Yes, occasionally we’ll go out for lunch and use the joint account, but we don’t make a habit of it. I’ve found that leaving a balance of basically zero in my own current account really stops me from spending frivolously.
I’m not saying this is a great budget, but it is something that budget-phobes can use All you need to work out is how much money you have coming in and out, and save the extra bit (or start a side hustle to compensate for the shortfall).
What I do like about my system is that I know that I’m saving as much as I possibly can – and I know that if one of us ends up unemployed, the other can cover the joint account on their own if needs be (although we’d be living on rice and beans).
It’s certainly not perfect, and I do think we need a budget meeting – for example, I think we could do with either cutting down our grocery budget or sticking to it more stringently – not because we’re going over it vastly, but because I don’t think we’re being savvy enough with our meal planning (or lack of).
It may seem extreme to put ALL my leftover money in my savings account, but to be honest, I don’t need to buy anything. I don’t need clothes, electronics (since I’ve just forked out a grand for my MacBook Pro) and I don’t belong to a gym. I’ve actually found that using my overdraft a little helps me save – read this post for more info on that. This year I’ve saved more money than I ever have and I can credit my crappy, made up system for that.
Sure, sometimes I blow my money on makeup and coffee, but I save those shopping trips for when I’ve paid my loose change into the bank machine. Since I get paid in cash (I know, my boss is old school) I get, on average, a couple of quid in change a week which goes in my piggy bank, and gets used for whatever the hell I want. It stops me from going insane and fulfils my penchant for buying £2 lipglosses.