Tracking the cost of living

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.



4 thoughts on “Tracking the cost of living

  1. livingsimplyfree

    You are very fortunate to have the backing of your employer to take an entire year off to be with your baby. I wish more did that. The best we have around here is unpaid leave, usually only six months, in which they will hold your position and not cut your pay when you return.

    1. suburbandigs Post author

      Hi Lois, Yes – I really am extremely fortunate. My employer models their HR policies on that of the public service. I realise that this is not the case in many places and I too wish more people could be afforded more time with their kids before being threatened of job loss, etc. Hopefully society will shift towards a more family orientated way of thinking here.

  2. Zena

    I have almost 6 years living a slower family life but have yet to learn how to manage my money at all. It seems to go out as quickly as it comes in. I’ve been thinking lately that it is now or never to manage my money, especially as I want to instill this in to my children so they will not be renters all their lives like my parents are and like me at the present. The TrackMySpend app is good timing so thank you. I am having troubles downloading though as my phone states that it requires IOS 5.1 I’ll see if it can be sorted out in the morning. Well done to you for being so mindful of your expenses.


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