For most of my working life, the last working day of the month has been Pay Day. This morning, as usual, I did my accounts. Using the cash book pages in my Filofax, I listed my income and my outgoings. While I do this every month, today I had a bigger incentive - having watched the numbers closely in June and July, I made the decision in August to save and invest more money. And now, I wanted to see what the effect would be on my bank account. (Yes, that's right, while I can run scenarios in Excel until the cows come home for work, I never seem to get around to doing it for myself. Wishful thinking numbers, yes [e.g. daydream scenarios of lottery wins]. Real numbers, no.)
So, this morning, I added my salary payment to the balance in my bank account, deducted money for the joint account, my savings accounts, Weight Watchers, Audible, the Housekeeping money, my share ISA, £180 to the Petrol/Diesel Accrual, and £180 to my Money to Live Off. I went to write down the next line:, "credit card repay", and stopped. Staring me in the face was a brutal truth: I'd been too cocky with my calculations when I changed the savings and investment numbers. No matter how many times I added up the numbers - and most of them are the same each month - there was no way I could avoid what I was seeing. If I was to maintain my debt pay down levels something would have to give. I had a shortfall of £35.
£35. Not a huge some of money. There have been times when I've spent that much on a meal out. But it was £35 more than I earn. £35 I don't have.
I stared at the numbers. I started arguing with myself. I baulked at cutting the debt pay-down money. It made me nauseous to think about it. I also rebelled at cutting my savings and investments. Just couldn't do it - that money is needed for future things, important things, for which I have plans. That left little else to choose from: my Sanity Fund? No! Everyone needs a Sanity Fund and mine is only £60/month (earmarked for a pressure canner, clothes and craft supplies). Cut out Weight Watchers? No, even though I don't go to meetings any more, I need access to their website to track my points.
In the end, I decided it'd have to be split equally between my Money To Live Off and the Petrol/Diesel Accrual, which is money I allocate to pay for fuel for the car during the month. £17.50 off each. It's not going to be easy. I'd already cut my Money to Live Off back so that I could save more money. Now it's £162.50 a month to pay for everything I might need and/or want: birthday presents, social events, music for choir, hair cuts, clothes, software, books, DVDs, dental visits, etc, etc. Seems like a lot of money until you realise that a round of four drinks at the pub quiz can cost over £12.
The effects on the Petrol/Diesel Accrual will be even harsher. At current prices, it's down to little more than 4 tanks-worth of diesel a month. I usually go through one tank a week in a normal-commute-to-work-week. As long as a tank of diesel stays below £40, then I should have a little time to save up for the next 5-week month. That will be March; September won't qualify because we're taking a holiday and December includes work's Christmas shut down.
Fingers crossed I get a salary increase when the pay reviews are done in December. I'd like my £35 spending money back, please.