| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

review of spending

This week I’ve done a review of spending and it’s left me feeling good.

As part of a generation that often have troubles maintaining regular work and struggle to make ends meet, it’s unfortunately common to find myself feeling down in the dumps some days. In fact I constantly worry about the money I do spend, even if it’s on food items that aren’t a necessity but a little treat.

There are several ways in which any of us can get wayward in the search for a sensible lifestyle. These can range from paying lease for an expensive second car that isn’t used much, to buying crisps when you can simply make homemade bread for a snack during the day. I still occasionally buy the fat-based crisps, but it’s becoming a rarity.

This week I’ve come to realise there are only one or two things I spend money on that don’t qualify as things that feed me or feed a great passion of mine. The main and most expensive example is with smoking.

I’ve been smoking since I was a teenager. A combination of habit and stubbornness has led me to spend a tonne of money over the last 15 years and I’m well aware of it. However, I have learnt what it takes to spend wisely.

Clever Spending

So how have I gone about spending this last week or so?

Recently I’ve not only reduced my average alcohol intake but I’ve cut down the amount of caffeine I drink daily. In addition I’ve done one or two good value food shops. The only added expenditure is with books, but reading is needed and acts as food for the brain.

Here is an outline of how I’ve stocked up:

  • Aldi supermarket shop – Thursday 17th = £26. So far the bulk of this shop has fed my brother and me for 6 nights and counting.
  • Co-op supermarket shop – Monday 21st = £18. A lot of this was on reduced meats, like only £2 for 12 chicken legs when they’re normally £4.50 (bargain!)
  • Kindle Store purchases – Tuesday 22nd = £5. Books include Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl and other poems’ and Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Rum Diaries’.
  • Electricity credit – Saturday 19th = £10. As we have prepayment metres it’s still expensive and will need to be topped up again soon, but gas has hardly been purchased in the last two weeks as the weather warms up.
  • Tobacco pouch, 25g – Tuesday 22nd = £8. The pouch may only last four days or so and remains the only real constant weight on my outgoings.
  • Other purchases, including beer and biscuits = £7. I’m not going to pretend that I need alcohol but having only had a drink on two nights in the last six it is a reason to feel good for a change.
  • Total Spending over last 7 days = £74. Whilst this a good deal of money in one sense, it enables me to have a freezer and cupboards stocked with goods and ingredients for more than a week, and have adequate electricity for lighting and appliances.

If we look at the last two entries of my review of spending, we can all see that there is £15 a week being wasted on items like tobacco and beer. One of my many aims and focus is to reduce these things, or find a way to remove them completely.

Like many of us, I am someone who has to train myself to be frugal and find ways to eat that aren’t too costly. Monitoring your spending is something that isn’t just number crunching; it breaks down the very life we live and opens new avenues for improvement.

So what are your best recorded weeks of low spending and grocery hauls? Can you recall a time in your life when you were spending far too much? Are there times when you hardly spent anything and were completely happy?

photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc