Monday, 30 June 2014

Checking finances

The first half of the year has gone so it's a good time to look back and check that all is well on the financial front.

I keep good records of all money in and out each month. When you are self employed it's necessary to know for things relating to the business but my records include what more or less every penny of the housekeeping etc has been spent on.I round up or down to keep things simple.
I can look back for several years and see how spending has varied.

When C stopped working full time for the County Council in March 2012 we had to increase chicken numbers and the amount of things we sell, as well as him doing odd jobs for people, to replace lost income. If we did nothing our income would be nothing! except for a bit of interest from investments made with money left to me by my step dad in 2009 which  covers some of our direct debits. We have also cut spending since 2012 without noticeably changing our lifestyle except for going  without holidays.

Looking back at the first 6 months of this year I can see that total income is down by £1,500 on the first 6 months of last year. C only did a few days work for the council this year before they ran out of money. 
Luckily spending is down by about £3,300 overall in comparison with the first 6 months of last year. The new mens toilets on the campsite didn't cost as much as doing the shower and ladies toilets last spring and there has also been less spending on smallholding machinery etc.
 Food spending is slightly down on the first half of last year.
 One thing that's gone down a lot is spending on diesel etc for the jeep and last year we had some repairs done. With  C now working only at our neighbours or other places locally and we are  trying harder to combine several errands in one trip out, I can now save less per month for the jeep part of OUR BUDGET.
 Spending on the chickens is up as we have 40 more than this time in 2013 but of course there is now more income from them.
 I have cut my personal spending by a good amount, perhaps feeling more settled and better control of the spells of depression  has helped with this.
Electric is up - prices increased in January.
Spending on the garden is up on last year.
Spending is much the same as last year for postage,clothes/shoes,health,gifts,household,
Spending on things in the bathroom is down by £40 over last year - very odd!
We have saved a little money most months so that total savings have increased by over £2,000 since the end of last year.

Overall things seem to be OK ( something will breakdown now I've said that!)

One interesting thing I discovered when looking at old diaries for Saturdays post was that I'm spending the same on food as I was 5 years ago. Now I know that food prices have increased in this period by between 12% and 15% ( I thought even more than that) which means in effect I have cut spending on food by that amount.

On a similar financial subject, do you look at your bank statement? We are old fashioned and don't use internet banking so  we have a paper statement in the post  each month.
 I check it when it arrives to make sure everything is the same as what I think it should be and there are no odd deductions. ( The chance of finding an odd addition? - none!)

I've heard that some people go on paying for things by direct debit - phone contracts or insurances for instance - that they no longer need. Imagine that - so much money that they don't notice £20 or £30 disappearing every month.

So onward into the second half of 2014. We shall keep spending as low as possible and try to increase savings in case we have any unexpected expenses.

I shall be back tomorrow with my review of the month .
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