My $9,300 Cocktail Fund: Keeping up with the girls

For a couple of years I’ve been using the personal budgeting app called Pocketbook which links to my bank account and categorises all my transactions. I absolutely love it. It’s become a habit to categorise everything I spend in the app and take photos of receipts, even if I don’t watch and cut down on what I’m spending.

To say the least, my discretionary spending on eating out in restaurants and drinking cocktails and wine in bars has become CRAZY over the past year alone:

November (This month): $430 already!
October: $730
September: $788
August: $1,115
July: $900
June: $1,250
May: $1,088
April: $822
March: $910
February: $520
January: $795

Note: The above costs exclude grocery costs, clothing and beauty purchases, gifts, travel and actual bills. 

This year alone that is a MASSIVE $9,348 on cocktails, bottles of prosecco and wine, entrees, dinner, brunch and lunch. In under 6 months I’ve spent $5,213 eating and drinking through my hard-earned fashion salary. Did I mention that I clicked to see dining out & drink expenses from the beginning of my app use and saw I spent $25,000 on wining and dining since Feb 2013?!!

OMG. I could have had a nice investment portfolio by now. Talk about living beyond my means. 

To cut down on my ‘cocktail fund’, I am going to:

  • Say ‘no’ to expensive dinners out with friends
  • Eat before going out and buy smaller meals
  • Entertain friends at home instead of at bars
  • Pack lunch for work everyday instead of buying take-away food. If I forget my lunch then I’ll buy food at the supermarket in the CBD.
  • Go to my gym class on Friday evenings instead of going out for drinks at bars

This weekend there was some improvement:

  • Friday night: Went to the gym after work instead of going out for Friday drinks. Ate dinner at home. Spent $0. Saved $60.
  • Saturday morning: Had brunch with a friend at The Cornerstone Bar, Carriageworks. Spent $22 on food and coffee.
  • Saturday day: Spent the day at the communal pool in my apartment building, brought sparkling water and snacks from the home. Read a book. Spent $0. Saved $20 on public pool entrance fee and cafe food.
  • Saturday night: Went out for dinner with the boyfriend (let’s call him Mr. Piggybanks) and his friend for dinner at Mary’s burgers. I had a late lunch so spent $13 on a cider and basket of fries and $17 on a taxi home for 3 people. Spent $30. Saved $40 (on dinner, bottles of wine).
  • Sunday morning: Went out with Mr. Piggybanks and his friend for breakfast. Mr. Piggybanks paid for this round (we take turns). Spent $0. Saved $55.
  • Sunday day: Spent the day sunbathing and reading again. Brought snacks from the apartment. Spent $0.
  • Sunday dinner: Bought fish and chips dinner for Mr. Piggybanks and myself. Spent $24.
  • Total weekend spend: $76
  • Total weekend savings: $175 (This is going towards my $1000 project fund)
Given that I didn’t go out with the girls this weekend, I’ve saved a LOT of money simply by staying at home and going out minimally. However, I can cut down even more! The challenge is how to go out and socialise without being sucked into spending like my spendthrift girlfriends!
I’d love to hear what you think! What ways do you socialise and spend the weekend without blowing the budget?
xx Miss Piggy
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