My budget recap from April will give you an idea of how we budgeted for a full month through the UK coronavirus lockdown.
It was really a case of feeling our way. A lot of things had changed. How we shop, coping with social distancing and sourcing our grocery shop, without breaking the bank.
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Budgeting in a changing world
There were many things that had changed so quickly:
- Restaurants had shut!
- Cafes were closed
- We felt that our local supermarket just wasn’t safe to go into for a full shop.
- Cash budgeting just wasn’t a sensible thing to do if you don’t want to spread a virus.
So when I created April’s budget I had to be mindful of us getting what we needed, and the possibility of overspending to make sure we stayed safe.
Staying and safe and staying within budget
The way that we did our weekly shop on a Saturday had to change. Very early into the lockdown in the UK, a lot of people were taking it seriously and being sensible with social distancing.
But others were panicking and breaking the 2 metre distance rule - to the point where me and my husband abandoned one shop in Lidl because it was just unsafe.
So I was aware that our budget could suffer because we were having to shop in the Co-op more. They were on-it with the rules. No more than two people in the shop at once etc. I felt so much safer, but it did hit our pocket.
But health is THE most important thing right?
Overall budget results April 2020
The good news is that overall we didn’t overspend, we underspent. At the end of the month, I was able to transfer £284 into our long term savings.
I do this every month now, the day before I get paid. Anything over our £1000 cushion in our checking account, gets transferred out so we can’t spend it.
We came out of this month £72.67 up according to my budget planner.
The rest of the money could have been due to my side hustles, which I really need to keep track of now!
My budget decisions April 2020
To reflect our mindfulness of our safety, I decided to up our grocery budget. This figure of £405 included the cash envelope budgets that I previously had.
Eat out budget would stay the same at £150 to reflect that we love the opportunity to have a treat. We could still get a coffee from our local bakery, so I budgeted these.
The fuel budget I kept the same at £230. This was because at the start of April my other half was still working. His company car uses the majority of the fuel every month.
Savings in April 2020
Even though everything was up in the air, I decided to keep to my yearly savings plan. All except the mortgage overpayment, which I thought would be better in our savings account, just in case my husband was made redundant.
We thank our lucky stars that this didn’t happen, and I was able to work from home, on full pay too. Something we are truly mindful of going forward into the rest of 2020.
Quick Summary - Variable Expenses
Here are how our variable expenses worked out for the month.
Takeaway budget £150 Actual spend £173.56 - £23.56
Grocery budget £405 Actual spend £425.50 - £20.50
Fuel all cars £230 Actual spend £113.27 + £116.73
Expense Tracker - April
Our expense tracker is crazy for April!
It really does reflect us running into stores and getting out as quick as possible, with essentials that cost more than we usually would pay.
Oh and far too much take-out coffee!
Fuel reflects that my husband was furloughed in week 2 and I was working from home. It is half our budget for the month.
We were really lucky also that our tenants seem to be fine paying the rent
Actions for May 2020
- Keep the eating out budget and the grocery budget at the same level. It almost worked out. (Already we are figuring out quiet places to shop, so I think our spending will truly balance next month)
- Be brave by overpaying the mortgage next month.
- Side hustle to ensure more earnings on top of main income.
- Any side hustle earnings to go towards blog costs.
- Reduce the rental income figure to take into account repairs carried out in April 2020.
For next month, I know that I will have to take into account some repairs carried out to one house.
This will translate as less rental income. It’s handy that the agent takes it off our rental income before we get it, so it forces us to pay it that month.
Why do you publish your budget recaps Helen?
It might seem like personal stuff, but when I was starting out on my budget journey, there were very few budget examples. I’m talking about real-life budget examples from real people who aren’t trying to be perfect.
It really helped me to see that people go on a journey to find out what is right for them.
Is it okay to treat myself?
Budgeting is so personal to you. I share these budget recaps with you so you can see what I do.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t say treat yourself to a fab handbag every month. It’s about balancing things so you save more, get out of debt quicker and you can treat yourself to whatever you love, all at the same time.
Why do I keep getting my budget wrong?
Ok, so we are all human beings. Getting your household budget truly correct is difficult – it takes time. You have to also remember that things change.
I find my subscription tracker really handy, to keep track of al the changes to my household expenses.
Over time, you will become better and better at budgeting. The other thing you will notice, is how relaxed you become, as you have more money saved and ready.
The other thing to bear in mind as well is that a good budget will be flexible and you might edit it as you need. It is a working document and it must work for you. That's why all my sheets are scribbled over!
Here is my May hearts budget sheet - I have already scribbled all over it.
But can you start any time?
You can start budgeting from today! Once you know your expenses and how much you have spare, you can create a solid financial plan for your future. Your budgets will help you achieve your goals, one step at a time.
These posts will help:
What if I get paid bimonthly?
I suggest you make two separate budget sheets and write down what you will earn.
The expenses that come out in up to and including the 15th should be written on your first budget sheet and all the rest up to the end of the month, on the second budget sheet.
What you have spare should be added to the second budget sheet, so you balance your expenses.
As you can see from my budget in April, I have a few things to be mindful of in May.
I think the main thing is to remember that times are bizarre right now and a slight overspend is not a big deal, when you consider your health and well-being.
However I am going to strive to get rid of the reds in May and develop a meal plan that avoids buying expensive items, from expensive grocery stores.
I have to also remember that my budget will be tighter because we will have £200 less income from our rental houses.