Part of the deal in taking a year off work to take care of our newborn daughter, is accepting a reduced level of income. I’m fortunate in that my employer will pay me parental leave, as I’m the nominated primary carer, and combined with long service leave, a bit of annual leave and some government benefits, I’m actually able to receive some sort of regular income (albeit reduced) for nearly the entire 12 months.
I’m very thankful to be in such a position, but I’m not taking it for granted. Actually, I feel a heightened responsibility towards reducing costs, waste and becoming more efficient.
I thought we was doing pretty well for ourselves, but then a reader – Toby – put me onto a guy called Mr Money Mustache a few months ago. His claim is that if you live a middle class existence your current lifestyle is “an exploding volcano of wastefulness”, and by changing your attitudes to a few things you can easily save 50%, or more of your income. I’ve really enjoyed his no-nonsense perspective on finances and he’s inspired me to save even more.
Rhonda over at the Down to Earth blog recently wrote a series on reducing debt and gaining control of your finances. I’ve followed through on her suggestion to track all spending via the “Track My Spend” app provided by the Australian Government. I’ve always been pretty good at preparing a budget, but the next step of tracking actual expenses and performing a “true up” against the plan has never really happened. It will be a month tomorrow since I started plugging in all our spending, so I’m looking forward to going over the numbers – I think the data will yield a few surprises.