The past week or two, I’ve felt the pinch of my savings goals, and finding it harder to ‘do everything’ with my pay cheque. It also came to my attention that I had another month’s batch of grocery receipts to process (I started tracking in December 2012), so I got onto that today. I’ve stated that my goal is to cook two meals a week, which equates to about 6 serves or more (2 dinners + 4 lunches at the very least). And mostly I’ve been achieving that.
One thing that’s clear – the pressure in my money management is not from home cooked meals! Now this should be no surprise, but I do feel like I’m in IGA all the time. All the servers know me, and almost know that I don’t want a bag, and on Wednesday, I’ll always want cash out. What I find most amazing is that my MONTHLY spend on groceries was 2.9% of my take home pay in December and 3.52% in January (I assumed a simple 4 week month as I get paid weekly). This is incredibly low, given that after shelter (which in Sydney you pay incredibly HIGH amounts for), food should pretty much come next (up there with electricity and running water I suppose).
I haven’t tracked my eating out spend since October, so I can’t confidently say what it is. (I think I stopped when I started dating… cause you eat out a lot more, but the expense is lumpy as to who pays and when etc). I could easily spend 12-16% of my pay cheque on eating out. **In some ways, this is totally out of line with my parents or many people out there. It seems ‘easy’ to go out for dinner. I think we feel entitled (my generation). Or we need only a small excuse. I realise eating out should really be seen as a luxury**
I probably miss most of the my meat consumption (which isn’t extensive) in these two months, as my butcher doesn’t give me a receipt. For Feb, I’ve started marking up the grocery receipt with what I spent on meat.
(in rough numbers, my mortgage has been taking up about 43% of my take home pay, and household bills (strata, electricity, gas and water) & health insurance take up about 15.5%).
EDIT: This post was inspired by Part 2 of the Spender to Saver series that Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily was writing. Then by magic, Part 3 came out (after this post) and couldn’t have been more spot on. I only wish I could work out how to comment on her blog!!