My Dad taught me to keep a bank book upon my getting my first debit card. A fairly simple concept, that strangely isn’t taught in schools – but simply put, the book was a place to write down all incomings and outgoings so that I could keep track of my bank balance without waiting for a monthly statement.
Things have changed somewhat since then, with the advent of things like internet banking, but I still kept my bank book.
Back in 2009, I found myself with a few financial issues, and decided to log what I was spending money on – as you can’t control spending unless you can identify what you’re spending it all on. I created a spreadsheet, with categories, so I could track my outgoings more efficiently. Even after I had my situation under control, I kept going with my spreadsheet, as the nerdy part of me liked being able to generate pie charts of what I was spending money on. I even added extra categories to log spendings against.
What has this given me today? Well, for starters – I have spent £53,990 exactly on rent. This would be enough to get a deposit on a home of my own. Which is pretty annoying, since home ownership was something that I thought I would be enjoying by the time I was 30. My wage is good, yet the area I live in (an area I had to move to in order to do the job I wanted to do) is crazy expensive in terms of house prices and rent costs. I know I have yet another rent increase coming up in the next 9 months or so. Add on top of that the knowledge that I could easily get a mortgage on a property in the town where I grew up, and you can bet that the word ‘frustrating’ does not even *begin* to cover my feelings on this.
So, that covers the ‘dead’ money. What about flat out wasted cash?
Since 2009, I have spent £13,511.23 on smoking. Ouch! That figure has not been going up since I converted over to zero nicotine vaping, which pleases me. But still … that is money that could have gone into my savings account quite nicely to bring me closer to the magic number that would be enough of a deposit to get a mortgage. Oops.
What don’t I regret? The £965.60 that I have spent on cheese since 2010* is money well spent, and I regret nothing. Even if it later turns out to be cancer causing like everything else I like to consume, apparently.
The conclusion I have come to is this – I’ll have to start logging my spending on bacon, just so I can start getting an accurate total on my spending in relation to things that will give me cancer at some point.
* I added the cheese category after the first year of starting my spreadsheet. Before that, it was lumped in with the ‘food category, which incidentally, is £8389.14 since 2009.