QLC: Finances 101

May 25, 2010 at 10:52 pm (Quarter Life Crisis, Sweet Nothings/Ramblings) (, , )

I am not one of those lucky people that earns a lot of money or inherited a fortune from a distant aunt that they’d never met. When I am not blogging, organising events, writing fashion pieces or performing at children’s parties – I work in administration. One of the things I must stop doing is introducing myself and what I do as “JUST admin”. One of the downsides of working in administration is the pay packet does not lend itself to a lifestyle flooded with Jimmy Choos, French beach-houses and a walk in wardrobe that Carrie Bradshaw would gasp at.

My finances have always been a concern. I moved out of home as soon as I started university (with my then boyfriend) and was living off my very first credit card while trying to find second and third jobs. I have never saved and therefore have always been petrified that “something untoward” may happen and I wouldn’t be able to pay for it. Funnily enough, a lot of us in our twenties live like this, in a terrified state of financial disarray. It usually doesn’t bother us because we tell ourselves that we are living in the moment and ‘we could die tomorrow’.

The voice of the QLC keeps reminding me that I have no savings and therefore no security, but the positive voice in my head points out that I do have something to show for it.
–   I own the furniture and white ware in my apartment
–   I started an events business (yes I lost a lot of money, but I learned a lot from the experience)
–   This trip to Europe will be my second and I visited Bali last year
–   I have moved countries (which takes a lot more investment than my 22 year old self thought).

However, I promised that I would analyse my spending and that is exactly what I’ll do. Here is a month’s worth of spending in the form of a colourful (and expensive) pie chart.

25 April – 25 May 2010

Doing this exercise made my jaw drop. How could I possibly have spent this much money when I was aware that I had to save for an overseas trip (3 months exactly today)?!

Over $500 a month on food seems ridiculous, but is actually under $20 a day (horrifying when it adds up though)! Most of the spend in Photography was on a 2 day course to learn how to use my camera, the Dentist couldn’t be avoided any longer (don’t put things like this off!) and looking at how much I spend on the gym did make me wince.

There will always be costs that crop up (renewing my P O Box and presents for Mothers Day and birthdays), but for the most part costs can (and will) be cut.

Next month’s goals:

  • No money spent on Photography
  • Borrow Magazines rather than buy them
  • Spend less on Stationary
  • Spend less on Food by eating more home-cooked meals
  • Try to think of Presents you can make/create rather than buy
Have you ever analysed your spending habits? Were you shocked by the results?
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11 Comments

  1. Kimberley said,

    I’m more than happy to lend/give magazines when the time is good – I SO relate to your QLC though I’m closer to 29-going-on-13 and have no savings (but like you.. own the things in my flat) and am not in debt.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Kimberley said,

      Thanks for commenting Kimberley! Thanks for the offer of magazines. :)
      I think it’s very easy to get caught up in what we don’t have when really we should focus on what we do. Owning furniture and not being in debt are achievements in themselves! x

  2. Dannielle said,

    I just recently took a short course that included breaking spending down like you have. It’s a real eye opener to see how much the vending machine and the $3 hot chocolates really impact! It has made a huge difference to my spending since I started looking. I even forced all my family to fill in a spreadsheet of their own.
    It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to take hold of the finances that take hold of us!

    Best of luck to you, I hope it helps.

    Thanks so much for sharing :)

    • Kimberley said,

      Hi Dannielle, thanks for sharing your experience with taking control of your finances. I feel a little more in control just be really assessing what I am currently spending money on. Taking a short course is a wonderful idea too (and yes those hot chockies certainly do add up over a month)! Thanks a lot. :)

  3. Marthe said,

    I find your QLC posts so meaningful, sincere and inspiring! :)

    I haven’t done anything like this, but I probably should. I’m saving up for a trip to India in December, but before that I’m going to live 6 months in London this summer. That is expensive!

    I recently had the same kind of shock when it comes to food. I’ve been trying to lose some weight by eating healthier. I actually thought I’d managed to cut down, but not until I started to record everything I eat did I realize that it really adds up. So now, I’m going to save money by not buying and eating junk food! :D

    • Kimberley said,

      Awww thanks Marthe, I am so glad you are finding them interesting and inspring (that’s what this blog is all about)! :)

      I know how expensive living in London can be (I did it for a month over Christmas one year) and maybe it would be useful to keep track of your spending habits before you go. India in December? You are going to be a worldy traveller by the end of the year aren’t you? That is incredible!

      I find that sometimes healthy food does cost more than junk food unfortunately. Fresh fruits and vegetables always seem expensive to me even though I know they’re best for me. Good luck on your food mission! xx

  4. Sheree said,

    I record all my expenses every month in a spreasheet and include important things like rent and bills as well as the more trivial things like birthday presents which can often be forgotten about but are important to factor into the budget.
    I also ensure that I allocate an amount to savings EVERY month and I treat this as I would treat paying a bill to ensure that I don’t ‘accidently’ spend it on something else.

    For cheaper food alternatives, I tend to stay away from the big chains. They rip you off. Shop at local fresh food markets – they often throw in an extra potato or tomato at the end of the day before closing up or can offer a cheaper deal than commercial supermarkets.
    I also love ALDI – last week I bought a huge box of cornflakes for $1.99 – of which I’ll probably get quite a few breakfasts out of. I’ll easily get 10 bowls of breakfast out of that box (if not more). At 10 bowls, that equals less than 20c per bowl. Factor in a bit of milk and that’s one cheap meal. Their fresh produce is also much cheaper and the quality is sometimes better than from supermarkets. I can even afford to but a treat every week shopping there, such as a box of choc biscuits or similar.

    • Kimberley said,

      I have heard great things about ALDI, I should really check it out! It sounds like you’ve got your finances all sorted out and organised – congratulations! Saving (even a small amount) every month and treating it like a non-negotiable bill payment is a great idea and one that I will definitely be trying to implement – thanks for sharing Sheree, you have some fabulous tips!

  5. Alba said,

    Yes and YES. I’ve spent the last two months writing down where every single cent from my bank account goes and boy was I surprised. It’s helped me draw up a budget and realize that spendng 50 euro a month on buying food while on campus (I live at home with my parents meaning I’ve got all the food I want at home when I come back from Uni) is pretty ridiculous!

    • Kimberley said,

      Hi Alba! Isn’t it a shock to find out what you’re throwing money away on?! I remember as a student I would always buy tonnes of food despite having plenty to eat at home. Makes no sense really, haha! Hope you’re doing well sticking to your new budget. :)
      x

  6. Things I Love Thursday « Dream. Delight. Inspire. said,

    […] a lovely package of magazines. After I wrote on QLC: Finances 101 that I wasn’t allowed to spend money on magazines this month, my beautiful friend Felicity […]

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