I'm on a self-imposed spending freeze, which I already started at the beginning of the month and will continue until at least until the beginning of December. This means I will buy absolutely nothing except for the necessities, meaning groceries (and necessary meds), as I think I have enough hygiene and cleaning products so that I won't need to buy any of those.
I'm doing this to gain control over my impulsive habits and reset my finances. After these two months I will continue with a budget and wishlist /waiting list system. I'm seriously considering getting rid of my credit card and only having a debit card, but I haven't decided yet. Why do I need a credit card? If my aim is to pay it off in full each month, I can just save beforehand instead. We don't have the kind of credit rating system here, and I am not going to get any loans either. The only use for a CC is to spend money I don't have yet. Which is stupid. I need some kind of card for online shopping, but Visa Electron works just fine for that.
I'm writing down every expense, though I pretty much know how much I need for necessities each month on average. I wrote about it in my post about a budget.
Electricity - 92,09 e
Phone/internet - 30,99 e
Property tax, payment 2/2 - 248,05 e
Insurance - 43,52 e
Garbage collection - 39,44 e
Church donation - 100 e
Food - 229,80 e
Cat food - 114,78 e
Gas - 174,70 e
Blood test for me - 38 e
Meds - 82,97 e
Misc. household and hygiene- 96,18 e
Gifts plus non-essentials - 230,85 e
Total bills /fixed payments 554,09 e
Total other necessities 736,43 e
All necessities, total 1290,52 e
Total gifts and non-necessities 230,85 e
Monthly total = 1521,37 e
I had 1612,78 e income so I had 91,41 e left.
* My car battery needed to be replaced, but DD's dad went and bought one and changed it for me, and didn't want me to pay back. That would have been around 100 euros, perhaps a little bit more, if I had to take my car to the shop for it.
* I didn't count the flea market sales as income, only reliable income. I actually made a lot of money this month from selling stuff online and at the fleamarket.
*I spent more on cat food and gas than I thought, as I made two orders of cat food and filled the tank twice. Next month both categories will probably be much lower.
* Miscellaneous household stuff included plumbing cleaning stuff to fix a drainage problem (its did get fixed), wire and staples we had run out of and needed, as well as silica cat litter to finally put in the car as a de-humidifier (been meaning to do this for years) and a one liter bottle of shower oil for DD that doesn't make her skin dry out and get itchy, which cost 29,50 e. The previous bottle was empty so had to buy another, and the one liter bottle is 40% cheaper than buying it in the smaller bottles. Besides, the large bottle is a pump bottle which is convenient.
*Non-essentials include one ice latte (5,60 e) when my sister and her girls invited me to Helsinki with them, to look for things for their new homes. Also, in the very beginning of the month, before I decided on the no-buy, I ordered trims for DD's skirt and on that order I also got an antique white linen table runner, which cost 32 euros, and I also bought six more old silver plated goblets for my church to use as communion cups. I had bought the same ones before, and we needed more.
*Obviously the coming months I don't have to pay the property tax, but the electricity bill will be a little higher in winter months.
*We spent quite little on food this month. I don't eat as much due to the Crohn's flare, and also I've been eating stuff that I had bought in bulk previously, like nuts and dried fruit. Then I eat bananas every day, some other fruit, lactose free dairy products like Greek yoghurt with honey, cheese, and some eggs, meat, fish and chicken with veggies. That's about it. I also didn't buy / make food for church this month. So this is not a typical month for groceries. I did buy DD a sushi box once, which cost 9,90. Our usual thing has been to get sushi with a "resq" app, from restaurants selling leftovers for cheap. You can get a box of 12 pieces of sushi for 4 euros. But you can't choose what kind of sushi you want, and usually I let DD pick her favorites and I eat the ones she doesn't like that much. I'm not eating rice at the moment so that won't work, but I guess I could just eat the toppings of her rejects :D
As I'd allocated like 450 euros for groceries I'm really surprised that we only spent like half of that!
*The meds I bought are for three months or so, but unfortunately I have other meds I take. The most expensive is around 500 e per year, and I buy it once a year since it is not subsidized by the state, like most meds are (and then you can only buy for three months at the time at at most). I don't have to buy it all at once, but frankly, I don't have a great trust on the supply chain anymore, and secondly, the drug I take is "controversial" so that many doctors prescribing it have been stripped from their ability to treat patients with this disease. I'm always so thankful when I get another year's prescription from my doc and if I'm ever asked about who is treating me for this illness, I refuse to answer. I've tried the other type of medication everyone is supposed to use for this illness, many times actually, and it makes me crazy sick. Of course the doctors don't believe that.
Which brings me to the fact that even though we have a state subsidized health care, I mostly go to a private doctor and as I don't have, and can not get, and insurance, I pay for it myself. DD has a good insurance we took before she was born, which has been great.
The amount of times the state health care has been utterly incompetent is astounding. Of course there are some good experiences too. Just one example is when I got sick with Addison's disease and finally went into Addison's crisis, I was taken to the hospital for IV drip overnight but they sent me home in the morning and told me to take an antacid. I was throwing up so much that liquids didn't stay in anymore. I was able to get a private appointment with a senior doctor who is super respected in endocrinology and wrote /edited the endocrinology text book for med school and stuff. He diagnosed Addison's and gave a prescription for hydrocortisone. After that, the hospital doctors were like, oh okay.
But I digress again!
I'm curious to see a few more months so I can calculate a true average on how much we spend on necessities. If this month is an accurate example, I should be able to manage well with the 1600 euros. But really there is not that much slack, and I need to have a buffer for emergencies. If I had to pay for the new car battery, I would already have used every single cent and perhaps gone over. I do have savings, but they are not as liquid as cash, and I would like to keep them for real emergencies, and hopefully for "retirement" whatever that may be in my case. So I need to have a separate cash buffer for things like car trouble. The thing with a cash buffer has been that I have ended up spending it (thus my savings are not in cash). This spending freeze is meant to train my self discipline in sticking with a budget. I'm quite happy with the first month! So on to the next...