food

February 2016 – Budgeted vs Actual

Finally I get to post my February results. Even though February was only two days ago, I’ve actually closed off February because I get my paycheck on the 25th. It just complicates things if I don’t close off the month before I get new money in because who’s to say what expense belongs to the previous budget and which expense belongs to the new budget.

I had to steal time from work to get this done. My time away from work is dominated by school and my wife, so my finances get neglected. I hope my boss doesn’t find out.

I am not going to go into too much detail here, just give a short summary. I am going to create a page for each month and you can find it under the menu item “Finances”. A link will be posted.

February 2016 Budget vs Actual results

February 2016 Budget vs Actual results

Summary:

Overspent categories

Entertainment:  These two expense items took a major hit. My entertainment budget was blown on the same day I received my paycheck. It’s been so long that I didn’t have money in the bank, so as soon as I got it, I went out for beers with my mates. Totally worth it.

Food:  The food is higher than I thought it would be. About 70% of the food budget was snacks. There are two outliers, the time my sister, my wife and I went for frozen yogurt and the other time I bought biltong (aka beef jerky). Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of that, but I’ve adjusted my new budget.

Underspent categories

Transport: I didn’t use the cab as much as I thought I would. My wife uses the car cause she needs it for work to run a couple of company errands, but she drops me off at work in the mornings. In the evenings I take a cab to school and then back home. I budgeted a little extra if I have to catch a cab to anywhere else beside school and home. I lowered this budget in the new month.

Donations: I feel bad that this category is underspent. My wife and I didn’t go to church in February, well we did, to another church, but not to our church. Therefore I didn’t spend what I set out to. I’m definitely going to church this Sunday.

Personal: This one is a bit of strange. I usually spend a lot on myself. I guess I didn’t as much this month. Whoop whoop.

Savings: I can’t remember when I posted about the Bank Your Change, a savings initiative from my bank whereby every time I use my debit card to purchase something at a store, the bank deducts an extra amount over and about the purchase price and then puts that money into my savings account. I didn’t reach my budgeted savings for this initiative because I forgot one crucial detail, I don’t do the grocery shopping anymore, my wife does. So I’m not saving as much as I would. I could’ve just transferred the money I didn’t save by using my debit card, but it’s easier to save when you know you aren’t saving.

Well that’s it for February. Not a bad month after all. The Volleyball Tournament my friends and I played was a huge success. No categories have been grossly overspent and my net value is moving in a positive direction. More on that soon and I’ll post my March budget as well.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

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My first paid freelance job

2015 has been full of surprises and hard work. Never have I thought that I would have to put in so much work this year. I had a faint idea but this year seems like my mind and body has been running at full capacity.

The good thing though is that I got my first paid web development project. The payment wasn’t much because I didn’t have an awful lot to do. Usually when I took on a project like this in the past (pro bono) I would come up with lots of things to do to make the website perfect. It never worked out as imagined but I still got the job done. With limited time everyday because of work and studies and my customers pushing a very tight deadline, I decided to keep it as simple as possible. Simplicity work. I got the job done and I got paid for my efforts. Hopefully more work would be coming in.

Update on other areas of my life. Cooking a lot of food and packing it for the week really works. I definitely see the benefits. Not only does it save me time but also it saves me money. The problem is that I get tired of eating the same thing and that some weeks my schedule is so hectic that I don’t have the time to cook. I will try my best and try different recipes. Just need to stick to a set cooking schedule.

Wedding planning is a motherf’er. We finally set on a date, 5 December, 2 days after my 26th birthday. We finally set on a venue, paid the deposit but it’s very expensive. We blew the budget already though. Our parents love the venue so they won’t listen to the voice of reason. They will be covering most of the wedding costs so I shouldn’t be bothered yet it still does. My fiancé will be handling most of the wedding planning. I will concentrate on my studies. Hope she can cope.

Cutting the cost of food

Food is one of my biggest expenses after rent. When I pay all my bills at the end of the month, the only money I have left in my bank account is for food and for transportation. And since I am a part-time student now there is no time for cooking. I walked into the grocery store today, like every other weekday planning to grab me something eat that has already been cooked and I realized that this can no longer continue be done. I needed to change.

My main excuse is that I do not have time at night to cook food for the week. Even if I do cook something on a Sunday, I will end up getting sick of eating the same thing every night plus I am at my girlfriend’s house on a Sunday. Today though I just decided to hell with it and grabbed some ground beef. My classes end at 9:30PM. I got home started cooking rice and ground beef and put them in 3 containers for the week (I don’t have class on a Friday). The ground beef only cost me N$20 (US$0.20/kg). I am not going to convert to pounds. It’s late and I want to go to bed. Use Google.

I just added a can of mixed vegetables which I had at home. I hope this will help. I usually spend about N$40 per night (US$4) on food just for dinners. I take a sandwich to work for lunch and have cereal in the morning. In total I spend about N$150/week (US$15) on breakfast and lunch, but only for weekdays.

Friday nights can get a bit expensive because this is when my girlfriend fiance comes over to spend the night with me. We don’t see each other during the week so we have to make the most of the weekends. I usually I start a fire and make a BBQ on a Friday and that could cost me about N$150 just for that night. I would spend around the same amount if we go out somewhere to eat like Nandos or KFC.

Saturdays I rarely eat at home and I go over to her place where her parents usually cook a meal for the family. There I can save some money but usually I feel so bad about eating for free there (and since the in-laws don’t join us on Friday nights) I usually pay for anything extra we need to get from the grocery store. Sundays I also eat at her house or sometimes I would make myself a nice Sunday roast.

I am really trying to cut my food cost on cooking at home and bringing a sandwich from but I can quickly get tired of the food I repeatedly make. I need a variety and I also need food that is easy to make. So I hope in the future I can post some easy to make, cheap recipes here. I’ve joined Pinterest so hopefully that will help too.

*WEDDING UPDATE*

The venue we really liked could cost up to N$200k for 250 guests which is way out of our budget. We are hoping to spend N$100k in total for the wedding. We are starting to look at other venues but it looks like we might have to give up on that venue and our idea of an outside/garden wedding.

Until next time. Do the right thing.