In my first post of the year, I wasn’t quite sure where this blog is heading. I didn’t have any goals to track in mind, which meant that I wasn’t going to have progress reports every month. But a month after, we started consciously coupling our monies (I couldn’t help it, sorry) and we now have some dollar values to track again. Our May 2017 goals update is our first progress report for the year.
On top of our financial goal of living on one paycheck, I will also include other life updates in these monthly reports. In my last post, I briefly wrote about some minor health issues that we need to address. Our health and fitness progress will be part of these posts. And I’m sure there will be other stuff to write about as we go along.
LIVING ON ONE PAYCHECK
Our May 2017 spending exceeded our target spending (my net pay) by $1,400. This is a huge difference, but is accounted for to the last cent. The overspending was a result of one-off large purchases/expenses that we are not expecting to incur again. At least not in the next 3 months. For the curious, here’s the breakdown of our overspending (all variable costs):
|Total Non-recurring expenses||1,625.97|
|Petrol+Transport+Car||419.30||Major car service|
|Restaurants||139||We took my youngest brother out to the city.|
|Shopping||132.32||We bought a few things for the house (Ikea living room chair; steel, good brand kettle; stove-top steamer; other kitchen items).|
|Fishing/Yarn||0||We've been good!|
|Travel||486.52||Easter holiday costs|
|Health||96.43||We bought heaps of vitamins as recommended by our GP. We also paid a $60 gym sign-up fee.|
Excess are on top of amounts we believe are reasonable i.e. $100 each on restaurants, shopping, travel and health categories. We don’t always spend on these things every month but when we do, we think $100 is an acceptable spend.
Our grocery bill doubled this month because I decided to transition to using debit card instead of credit card. This means that in May, we paid for both April’s and May’s food costs.
Not in the table is the $58 extra I spent on my mobile plan (fixed cost). I forgot that my 12-month contract ended mid-May. I only realised it after I didn’t get a text message from Optus of my $20 credit. Instead of paying $40, I paid $60 for my phone bill (ugh). I’m not willing to pay that much for a mobile SIM-only plan anymore. Who is anyway? Optus didn’t have a plan to offer me that suits my needs and budget, so I signed up with another provider. I went with Vaya and had to pay $38 ($28 + $10 express postage) for my new SIM. This change will reduce our mobile cost by $12 monthly.
Our kitchen supplies spending are mostly health-related. We originally had a $12 plastic kettle, which we were happy with until it started smelling of burnt, well, plastic. While we don’t think the smell is a threat to our health, we found it very unsettling, so we decided to buy a proper one. I didn’t realise good kettles were expensive until we needed to get one. The stove-top steamer is for making healthier food. We decided to go with this option because 1) they are cheaper, 2) they are easier to clean and store than the electric ones.
After a long investing slump, we bought $1,030 worth of shares in May. With all things personal finance, this is one thing I’m still struggling to do regularly. I think I did well last year but I ignored it again this year. We became too focused on the house hunting that I honestly didn’t want to think about investing. I can only handle one thing at a time, I guess. Now that I’ve cleared my head, I started including this in our financial plans again.
HEALTH & FITNESS
As I wrote in my last post, we found out from our blood tests that my boyfriend has some cholesterol, iron and liver issues. Our GP advised him the following:
- Change his diet by replacing red meat with fish for at least three times a week
- Avoid fatty meat (no more pork belly, sad face)
- Reduce alcohol consumption
So far we have been good with the diet and my boyfriend has been eating more vegetables than meat these days. I am still struggling with vegetables, but I’m a lot better than before. My boyfriend has also been really good with the alcohol. He has only been having a sip of whiskey on weekends, compared to a glass or two of red or white wine every night. His liver is happy, our wallets are happier.
We also started going to the gym from the 2nd week of May. My boyfriend has a few kilos to lose and he wants to lose them quickly. A good diet coupled with regular exercise was his best bet to achieve his goal. As for myself, while I turned out to be healthy he said I may be suffering from stress when I said I always feel lethargic and tired. I have my hobbies to keep me busy but I have to admit, nothing works better than endorphin. I’ve always been at my happiest when I’m active, so I decided to join my boyfriend in the gym. Our fitness goals include:
- Go to the gym at least three times a week
- Him: lose 1kg by end of May
- Me: be fit and active again (maybe gain back some of the muscles I lost)
We’ve been really good with going to the gym, my boyfriend especially. I’ve been going at least 3x a week, he’s been going at least 4x a week. We actually enjoy going and attending the group-PT-like classes they offer. As of end of May, the boyfriend already lost 1.5kgs. Yasss!
I also had the chance to do some extra stuff in May. I finished knitting a giant throw, just in time for winter. It’s warm and cosy and heavy. Ten skeins heavy! I also managed to finish a pram cover as a gift for a friend’s baby. I did this one in an hour, just before we saw them. Talk about cramming!
I also finished reading a book in May! Finally! Since I’ve been dealing with a bit of stress lately, I decided to pick up this book called “Wabi Sabi: Timeless Wisdom for a Stress-Free Life”. I tried really hard to like this book but I struggled to even finish it. Maybe I should’ve put it down, but I gave it a chance. In the end, I had to accept that it wasn’t for me.
May felt like a begin-again kind of month and writing this update actually felt good. I feel like we’re doing more things that will improve our lives in general without that feeling of being forced into doing them. I know it’s early days but I think we are enjoying what we’re doing and I hope it stays that way for the next few months.
Are you tracking any goals this year? Or maybe you started a new one? How did you go in May? I’d love to hear about your story!