Tuesday, November 01, 2016

New month, spending for October, and NaNoWriMo

Although Halloween is becoming more and more known here (I even saw a few kids out trick or treating here last night), it's not a holiday. In Ireland, they changed things around a few years ago so that the bank holiday is always on a Monday, so this year was one of the few where the bank holiday was actually on 31st October. Over here, however, 1st November is a bank holiday so actually, it makes it perfect for having a quiet start to a month, and a chance to line up anything you want to get done over the month.

For me that means a couple of things. First of all, I'd like to say thank you to those who commented on my "knees" post and for the words of encouragement. I really am trying to not let it set me back and to continue on with some of what I wanted to achieve regardless, so a good start to a new month is coming at a very good time. I took a week off work last week and was in Dusseldorf for a few days. I had an appointment at the dentist and, since I have had lots of dentist issues in the past I at least wanted to go back to the really good one I had finally found one last time. Looks like I will need some work done, however, and spending 80 euro to get to and from every dentist appointment is not very sensible. But I think I am going to stick with him for now. This is one of those situations where at the moment making the decision to spend money is the better choice for now.

During the week I sometimes had that old familiar feeling of "oh no, don't want to have to go back to work", but surprisingly by the time Saturday rolled around I was actually feeling alright, even almost eager to get back to work. That feeling was very unfamiliar. Knowing that my second day back was going to be a bank holiday was just the icing on the cake.

So, I came back home on Saturday and have actually started getting a few things done. First of all, I started laying out a bullet journal (see video above for what it's about). I've been thinking about this since I first heard about it a few months ago and I finally managed to get a pretty good idea in my head of how I could make it work for me. I knew I had a nice, pretty notebook somewhere and it didn't take me long to find it. Extra advantage of having had to look for it is that I sorted through some stuff that I haven't paid much attention to since I moved and it was good to get that a bit sorted (still a lot to do, but at least I know what's where now). So, I've started that. I will stick with my small diary for the daily stuff and the rest of it will go into the big notebook. I wrote a key to the various symbols I will be using in the front of it. I did a FranklinCovey What Matters Most (time management) course years ago in my first real job and I still use some elements of that, amended slightly over time I'm sure. I really wanted to try and incorporate those things that I do already and use stuff that I have been using for years, so I'm not using all of the elements described in the video. I also dug out a box of crayons, coloured pencils, and markers and decorated the front page of my bullet journal. I will not be one of those people who develops their journal into a work of art but I do want to make sure to incorporate colour into it, as I know that is a very useful tool for remembering stuff. And occassionally doing something like drawing should hopefully encourage my creativity in general.

As well as spending time setting up my bullet journal, I started to tackle one more moving box, which is one full of small bits and pieces that I have kind of been dreading. I'm doing just a bit every day and have already dumped a huge amount of paper into the recycling. I know I have kept some things other would have thrown away but I am very happy with the progress I'm making on it.

The other creative outlet I want to try and force myself to do a bit, to see what comes of it, is writing. It is, after all, National Novel Writing Month. While I am not going to try and write a novel this month, I did actually start writing something last month and even managed to more or less get a vague outline for it down on paper. So I am setting myself the challenge of writing 500 words a day. The discipline is more what I'm after really, I suppose. And 500 words is not a lot, really. This blog post is already up to, let me check, 859.Which is probably more than enough for now.

I'll finish up with a summary of my spending. While I did track this pretty well this month, I didn't make a note of everything on the last day and a half in Dusseldorf and I kept forgetting to ask for receipts. Partly that is because I'm getting more and more out of the habit of shopping, which is not a bad thing. I'm fairly sure I remember everything, although I may have been a few cents off on a couple of items. As always, the amount I spent seems to exceed the amount I actually spent, i.e. the individual amounts I tracked add up to way more than the amounts on my bank and credit card statment. I'm going to just go with my spreadsheet having an error in the calculations somewhere. November's spreadsheet is waiting to go and there is already a difference of 5 euro. I know where it's coming from but it's taken account of in one of the formulas so shouldn't show up as a difference, which is why I'm sure that it's my formulas that are throwing up the differences. I'm going to continue just tracking daily spending, as that is currently what's important, and I'll worry about rejigging my spreadsheet again in a few months.

See here for a lengthy explanation post of some of the workings of my budget spreadsheet. Here's how the totals look for October.

Banking section (euro/% of salary/% of total income):
  1. Rent 590 / 60% / 25%
  2. Private pension/investments 50 / 5% / 2%
  3. Various charities 65 / 7% / 3%
  4. Transfer to Irish account 485 / 49% / 20%
  5. Basic income supporter 6 / 1% / 0%
  6. Annual expenses (incl. holiday savings) 0 / 0% / 0%
  7. Transport 39.40 / 4% / 2%
  8. Other house related 0
  9. Dental insurance 36.80 / 4% / 2%
  10. Visa (my old Irish credit card) 0
  11. Phone/internet 32.05 / 3% / 1%
  12. Mastercard 600 / 61% / 25% (used this a lot in September while waiting on payment of an invoice)
  13. Misc. (food etc.) - cash 145 / 15% / 6%
  14. Misc. (food etc.) - debit card 94.20 / 10% / 4%
  15. Bills (not including phone) - 40.00 / 4% / 2%
  16. Tax account 0 / 0% / 0%
  17. Bank charges 0
  18. One-off out 124.56 / 13% / 5% (this includes 49 euro also paid to mastercard, which for strange reasons I had to record here. I left just over 100 euro unpaid, just in case I ran into problems later in the month but should be able to clear it this month)
  19. One-off in 1,409.00 (mostly translation work income with a couple of small refunds)
Cash section (euro / % of salary / % of total income) - this should equal the totals for mastercard, cash and debit card above. It never has yet. I did also withdraw 120 euro from my Bank of Ireland account - I knew it was ambitious to transfer 485 at the beginning of the month but still feel like this was less than if I had tried to not spend it from my German account, planning to transfer what was left at the end of the month.
  1. Transport 49.30 / 5% / 2%
  2. Food - necessities 251.94 / 25% / 11%
  3. Food - luxuries 186.48 / 19% / 8% (this should be higher, I think I miscategorised a lot as necessities - I was away and eating out a good bit this month)
  4. Canteen food 56.00 / 6% / 2%
  5. Toiletries 0.67 / 0% / 0%
  6. Gifts (incl. postage, card and wrapping) 61.27 / 6% / 3%
  7. Clothes 68.99 / 7% / 3% (new shoes for winter, a couple of long sleeve t-shirts and a hoody, as well as a couple of pairs of slippers which will be xmas presents)
  8. House/garden 83.57 / 8% / 3%
  9. Medical 21.39 / 2% / 1%
  10. Other 401.55 / 41% / 17% (however, this includes 276.76, which is the balance carried over on the MC from last month so now that amount is essentially counted twice. However, as the plan is to never carry over a balance, I'm not going to worry about changing that. Other expensive things happening this month were website renewals and travel insurance).
So there you have it. Some might think it pointless to have totals that don't reconcile but for now it's enough for me and, most importantly, I tracked daily spending mostly accurately every single day.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

I really liked the last comment on your 'knees' post. It made things seem more achievable for all of us in this 'ageing' boat and carrying more weight than we'd like.

I recently put $400 Australian (a reasonable wad of cash) into a bank card to buy Euros for my forthcoming trip. It bought 260 Euros. I'm sitting there looking at your list of spending and realising just how little that 260 Euros is going to buy me in France!

On the other hand, I started tallying up your expenses and converting that back into what you could buy in Australian dollars...your income in euros would convert to a great amount of money in AUD!

NaNoWriMo sounds interesting and I know a few people who did it (it took several false starts over a couple of years for all of them till they got in the swing of things in terms of actually aiming for a novel or similar.) But all loved the experience.

Bullet journaling looks so calming and addictive in the stationery sense (especially for those of us with a stationery addiction.)