It has been a while since I posted anything, partly because of the distractions of Christmas and the New Year, and also because of a week away last week - of which more later.
Now I am back to reality, with the slight excitement of the snow - which I for one am still enjoying - to mitigate the usual January flatness.
In terms of goals for 2010, I haven't made any specific financial resolutions, as I have noticed after many years of error that as soon as I make something a resolution, I lose all desire to do it. Instead, we are trying out some new ways of doing things.
One thing, that I started in November and am going to try and continue for a few more months, mentioned in the budgeting article, is the practice of recording all our expenses on an excel spreadsheet. This does have a slightly preventative effect as far as spending is concerned, but also provides information on where small to medium sums are going each month. (I'm noting where the money was spent, as well as its category.)
A second new thing, which I've read about in various places recently, is the idea of an envelope system for expenditure. We are already using virtual envelopes - specially-named jars within our mortgage offset account - to save up for cars, holidays and fun, but I thought that this was impractical for food, as we would be constantly transferring small amounts of money in and out of the current account for each food purchase.
So instead, we have started a cash jar for food, which we will top up with a set amount each week. The idea is to see if we spend less money because we are using cash, which feels more real than cards, and also because we know that once the jar is empty we can't spend anything more until the next week's money becomes available. This is a new initiative for this week, only started on Saturday, so it is too early to say if it is working, except that we currently have well over half our budget left, as well as over half the week left for it to last!
(Tonight's dinner, to which I am already looking forward, will be toad in the hole with green beans, from 'The Pauper's Cookbook'.)