March 2017 Costs - Still Learning About Our Spending
One of the main purposes of my blog is to track how much we spend now that I have stopped working, and to share it in case this helps others who may be considering whether they can afford to retire young.
£50,000 ($62,000) a year is the figure that I have always had in my mind as enough to allow us to live comfortably and do the things that we want to. After tax, for us that's £44,400 ($54,800) a year or £3,700 ($4,567) a month. At the moment, I'm not saying that this is enough or too much - I'm trying to figure that out, which is why I'm keeping track.
The above figures are assuming that we own our own house with no mortgage, and also that we don't have any other major loans. We have credit cards, but pay them off in full each month. We are living in Dubai at the moment, but this is not where we will settle down, most probably it will be somewhere in Europe.
The Costs So Far
The first three months haven't been very encouraging. Our average monthly spend has been £5,435 ($6,708), which is way above the target of £3,700 ($4,567).
On the plus side though, at least March has been our lowest cost month so far.
I'm Sure Our Cost Should Be Less
I'm still clinging to the hope that we can live within the £3,700 ($4,567) target. Looking at the top items of spend, my thoughts on areas where we could spend less are:
From the table above, I've listed six areas where I think the average monthly cost could be reduced (I suspect that the going out/coffee shop/casual dining should also be included, but I've left this as is for now). If we can achieve these savings, then our monthly cost would go down to £3,745 ($4,622) which is very close to our target of £3,700 ($4,567). Whether we can do this, time will tell - we will see how we get on during the rest of this year, although that will be in the more costly Dubai location.
It's been an interesting first quarter tracking the costs as it isn't something that we've done before. The intention is to see how much we spend, rather than an express aim to drive down the cost. However, it has been revealing to see what we are spending in some areas. I'm quite shocked to see how much we spend on going out and coffee shops/casual dining, £836 ($1,032) on average per month, and I'm sure that we could be smarter with the grocery shopping - why give so much of our hard earned cash to the supermarkets when a little more planning can mean we keep more of it to enjoy ourselves? So, although not the original intention, I find that I'm naturally drawn to see where we can reduce our cost. The tricky part is to do this without impacting our quality of life, and not upsetting Sally any more than normal!
April is going to be an interesting month as we have visitors - we'll be a total of five adults for half of the month, so that should be challenging for the grocery and going out spend!