Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Frugality: Just when I thought I was saving money...

I started a blog at http://frugallady.blogspot.com in June 2006, but wasn't dedicated enough to post to it regularly. I've decided to absorb the posts from this into my current blog instead, and send frugallady out into Blogger world to be recycled.

Revision: really, there is no point to having a blog like this and just sighing, "Oh me oh my, looks like I shall have to pull my belt in tighter" etc etc
without actually detailing my strategy on how I am going to achieve this. Therefore I am going to try and give you, my audience of 0 and me, myself and I a better idea of how I am going to do this...

I've decided that I would like to get a digital camera, specifically one of the Panasonic Lumix models because of their mega O.I.S anti-shake technology. There was one in the latest Myer catalogue for $450 AUD, 6x optical zoom and 6.0 megapixel.

Why? So that I don't have to borrow other people's cameras when I'd like to take a photo. So I can photograph silly things like food and houses and people and put them on my blog. So that when I become a successful multimedia developer I have something to work with :) So that I can bring pictures back from my travels.

Anyway, this means I shall have to alter my budget a little to accommodate that. With car rego and the gas and phone bill due next pay - about $300 altogether - I shall have to look to budgeting my arse off to save an extra $40-$50 per pay to get this camera.

New addition to this area starts here:

Now, I DO have a budget. It is a simple little Excel file organised according to the dates of my paychecks. (I call this file Wealth_2006.xls, by the way, because I like to be optimistic and also it may be good feng shui, who knows?)

So each budget section has a heading like "Pay 23/06/2006 to 06/07/2006". It shows all my expenses, and next to the heading is "Total spend" - a total of what the expenses add up to, and next to that is "Extra" - my pay minus "Total spend". If "Extra" is negative, and this shows up as a lovely RED colour, then I have to adjust my budget until "Extra" becomes a positive number, or at the very worst, zero. Any amount in "Extra" goes into the mortgage to reduce interest payments.

Basically my expenditure consists of what I like to think of as mutable and immutable expenses.

Immutable expenses are things like mortgage repayments, extra repayments/savings for holidays into the mortgage (which I can redraw if needed), rent, insurance, and bills.

Mutable expenses are things like my clothing, toiletries, entertainment, petrol and takeaway/food allowances. Parking is usually a mutable expense but a dratted sinus infection has made it difficult to walk without the nerves above my teeth jolting so that's an immutable for the next week or so.

If I want to save up for something, I put it in as a regular immutable expense in my budget and play with the other numbers until everything fits. This can cause a condition my Hokkien side would refer to as xin tia (heart in pain), but that's that. Otherwise I'd be living outside my means and ladies don't do that :)