Every now and then, talk fires up about tweaking family tax benefits and incentivising women to return to work through childcare benefits. And every now and then, murmuring inevitably crops up about subsidising what some deem to be “a mere lifestyle choice”.
I’ve spent way more than I meant to this month.
A couple of reasons…
- I’ve discovered what glorious fun it is to find great online retail prices, and then slink into brick-and-mortar shops to coyly ask if they’d price-match my finds. (And they all did. All four retailers.)
- This modern version of bargaining with shopkeepers coincided very neatly with the recent purchase of my DSLR camera, and with it all the accessories. New lens! Camera bag! Nappy Bag to fit New Camera Bag!
- In a very inspired week, I went about decluttering my personal and business emails and ended up stumbling upon all the Pumpkin Patch sales I had previously assiduously avoided in the Promotions tab. Catastrophe, but the Boy Blob can now consider modeling as a career next Winter.
- Andrea and Ben came for a week and when three Singaporeans are gathered, there will be good food if not shopping.
I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of tracking my superfluous spending through Toshl – so anything outside bills and groceries qualify. My coffee and babycinnos with Arddun, for instance. Entrance fees for indoor playgrounds, lunch out, takeaway dinner when I’m on my way to a Tupperware sales meeting, clothes and homeware shopping, that sort of thing. It started out as a way to track where the money primarily goes, but along the way I’ve tried to give myself a limited budget per month so I’d be pushed to weigh up my options more deliberately.
And then I came across an article on The Buy Nothing Year.
Okay – I am privately not a fan of the hippie lifestyle. I’ve seen and smelled human beings who have used homemade soaps and shampoos, and have decided I wouldn’t like a bar of it. (Geddit? Bar? Of soap? Boom boom.) I also kill plants remarkably well, so starting my own self-sufficient veggie garden is not going to sail. And I’m not going to walk or bus everywhere. Not with a toddler and a nappy bag and an already achy pregnant body. My time is already precious.
Also, I’m not altogether comfortable about stingeing on others. I get that splurging on myself is indulgent, but generosity and hospitality are values I esteem quite highly too.
Still, there is something to be said about how much those roommates saved, and the behavioural changes that came about from that project. Consumerism is, unfortunately, a large part of city living and I am a city girl at heart. (Actually, consumerism is a large part of First Worlds, period.) This past week, I feel like I’ve been reacquainted with that original spirit which inspired me to start using Toshl way back when.
And so, to add to the tracking of my daily spend, and the monthly budget I’ve set for myself, I’d like to start setting goals for what NOT to spend on.
Which means running out and downloading a bunch of free apps to try! Wheeee!
I’ve looked at habit tracking apps before, but this time I was looking for apps that had to do with goal setting and getting inspired by others. It also had to look heaps pretty but cost me nothing. And so after hunting around, I’ve come up with my shortlist.
New free apps I’ll be experimenting with these next few months
Some budgeting goals I’m refining at the moment
- Limiting the number of indoor playground visits as the weather gets warmer for Arddun
- No clothes, bags, cosmetics, bling, shoe-shopping for a month (this includes buying for Arddun as well, which is even harder to curb)
- Limiting the number of café outings with Arddun (will make exception when we are with friends)