Saturday, 14 May 2011

Talking about money - the Housekeeping

(Yay!  Blogger is working agan.  For a while there, I was worried that Google had completely screwed it up.)

Yesterday was the first Friday afternoon in months where I had the house to myself.  DH has started a full time job with regular hours, 9 to 6.  It's not in his field - it's in retail, whereas he's a design engineer who's always worked in manufacturing - and the pay is just above minimum wage, but knowing that he'll have regular money coming in and receive his statutory benefits (sick pay, holiday pay, etc) is a great relief.  It also means we can start looking forward instead of staying in fire-fighting mode.

As a result, last weekend, we spent an hour or so going over our finances.  One of the hot topics was what to do with our housekeeping kitty.  Until now, we've been drawing cash each month and stashing it in various pots:

Groceries:  £120 (farm shop, wine and all supermarket shopping)
Meat fund: £ 40 (includes fish from Costco.)
Christmas: £ 10 (also used for Easter Eggs)
Bulk fund:  £ 10  (for Costco visits, WingYip visits, special deals at the supermarket, etc)
Total        £180 (£90 each) 

The Meat, Christmas and Bulk funds are left to accumulate until there is a reason to spend them, whereas the Grocery kitty rarely has anything left at the end of the month.  If there are bargains to stock up on, we raid the Bulk Fund.  I've thought for a while that £10/month isn't suffiicent and that's one of the things we agreed about on Sunday, upping it by £5 each to £20/month. 

One of my permanent niggles is that we don't put money aside for the garden.  At the moment, either we pay for it individually and suck up the cost or then go through the drawn out process of getting it back from our joint savings account (an internet account that doesn't allow you to transfer money anywhere - you have to go to an ATM or request a cheque).   I don't know exactly how much we spent last year on the garden but it was under £100. 

One of DH's permanent niggles is that we have these "funds" sitting around in cash for months at a time, not earning interest.  It was also one of the reasons that he's previously vetoed a garden fund - he didn't like the idea of leaving that cash lying around for 9 months of the year. 

On Sunday, we reached a compromise:  we'd start a garden fund but it'd be saved in ING instead of in cash.  Ditto the bulk fund and ditto the Christmas fund.  The garden fund would be £10/month.  Bulk is to go up and Christmas is to remain the same as before.  In ING, they'll have their own accounts and it's easy to get reimbursed since we can transfer the money bank-to-bank.

So, our new housekeeping budget is as follows:-

Groceries:    £120
Meat Fund:   £ 40
Christmas:    £ 10
Garden         £ 10
Bulk fund:     £ 20
Total:          £200   or £100 each a month.

- Pam

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