Hello everyone! It’s been a while but by now I think it’s high time I stopped with the apologising. 😅 A lot has been happening, with five hours of daily sleep, ridiculous schedules and changing environments finding the time to write this has been a well, interesting. But other than that, how have you been?
With average interest rates sitting at 2-2.5%* and the National Consumer Index accelerating to 6.8% in July 2021 from 6.1% in June 2021, and people continuing to be on a pay cut, it’s fair to say that our bad rep for budget is coming back. As an individual with not too many (financial) responsibilities if I am feeling the weight of the groceries going up, I can’t imagine what it must be for people with larger families, pets, kids and other big expenses like education.
I like to add here that despite my supermarket finds on Twitter I do eat very basic food, we don’t really eat out too much and have some practices that can either be considered frugal (or mindful lol) when it comes to our individual consumption. Our meat/fish intake has reduced in comparison to what it was before in the name of health and the planet – of course, it’s easy for others to come in to judgement without knowing these. Because, obviously, I’d want to add pictures of food I make painstakingly on the gram. Isn’t that what social media is there for to show off you fake side of life?
Now that my rant is over lol, let’s get to our focus for today. ✌🏽 Oh an as always, I am not a financial expert.
NB: I had initially titled my post “Adjusting a Budget to ‘Match’ Inflation” but realised that I probs shouldn’t use too many finance words in one line on a title, especially since I’m not a finance expert, lol. But hope this makes sense and is of help to you. If you are reading and have anything else to share, I’ll be happy to receive them as well.
I spoke about this briefly in an earlier post as well, but if you are in an okay head space and do have some time in your hands, now might be a good time to revisit your budget and spending allocations. It might be easier said than done, especially if you have more dependents.
One of the best ways to start when looking at re-prioritising your spending is to take a look at your existing spending categories. Revisiting the list I shared in May 2021:
- Money for extended family
- Groceries and household expenses
- Since it’s a pandemic I don’t really go out, so this would sometimes mean a game on Origin, alcohol for home consumption, some skincare, gifts for family and/or friends or shopping. But it’s very infrequent.
Of course, most if not all of my discretionary spending is out the window. I did buy some games recently, however, with the current cap on debit/credit card spending and existing exchange rate, this might also be out the window as well. Also, I think as a result of my yoga course (see more below) I have not been consuming alcohol or anything else. I’m still not sure how to feel about this.
On my priority items, I have to say that my education spending has gone up considerably and unfortunately, I am compensating for this by reducing my savings contribution. I know. The horror. I’ll give you a moment to recover. However, it’s not like I have stopped saving. Remember how I said that the most important habit to saving is to save at least the same amount consistently? I have stuck to the consistency but I have brought down the percentage I now contribute to savings. I am not entirely worried because my contribution to education is also an investment in itself. The rest in this list are non-negotiable to me and (internet) bills and groceries and household expenses have considerably increased. What’s more, this is at a time when visiting our usual wholesale shops is not an option.
To try and meet the increase in expenses, I have tried to increase some of my income streams through investments. This is slightly new for me as I would usually take the route of freelancing. However, my work schedule has been nothing short of hectic and with the increased responsibilities at home, I find it difficult to take on more work. Besides this, at home, we have always been big on cooking, even pre-pandemic. While we do order out about once every two weeks, a majority of the time we cook at home and for meals like lunch, we batch cook. I know it’s not a popular option in a Sri Lankan context but it really does save us time, money and even ingredients. But having said that, I must reiterate on giving ourselves leeway during this period of time. The pandemic is difficult on most of us. Some more than others, but that doesn’t make it any less invalid.
Also, it’s not listed in the above expense list directly but travel/transport has been non-existent (it was listed under “groceries and household expenses”) and that has been something that I haven’t had to worry about either. I am unsure of things would roll out once things ease up/travelling to the city becomes important, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Speaking of bridges to cross…
While prepping for this post, I was also doing some personal admin work for the upcoming quarter. While I’m not super rigid about it, I like to set some financial and personal goals (sometimes targets too) for a month or quarter that is coming up to help me stay on track with things. I must say I don’t always follow through, like my to-do lists, but I still try and keep doing it again, haha.
So here are some of the areas I am focusing on and thought it might be something you would be interested in knowing (I hope!). These are not only financial fyi.
- Free up more time to be present.
- Be a tad more robust on the investment side of things.
- Practice more yoga – for those of you who don’t know, I am following a yoga teacher training since March 2021 and if all goes well should graduate in March-April 2022.
- Once/if the lockdown eases, go to the bank, pull out and sort out finances. (these are for the accounts that only have a bank book)
- On this blog – try to understand what works, doesn’t and write more useful content, haha.
- With upcoming changes in Q4, try to start doing a small map (note to self: please don’t overthink) on how finances would look like in 2022.
- Revisit finance goals and cross off the ones that are done/no longer valid.
- Sleep more.
As always, thank you for reading and I hope this was helpful. If you are willing to share, I’ll be happy to also read any insight or hacks etc you might have on and can learn from, be it managing your own personal finances during this time or something else. If you have any feedback, comments on this post or suggestions for me to write something else on this comment, please do let me know and I will try my best to accommodate.
Good luck with your finances, stay safe and let’s take one day at a time.