Pretty graphs of our SIX MONTHS of Brat Experiment

img_3353I’m still in complete disbelief that we have officially been on this journey for SIX MONTHS. I remember the first day the concept of us actually trying to do this thing took hold in my head. I prepared myself to go home and break the news to Husband that I had had another hair-brained idea… I fully expected him to tell me that I was crazy (especially with him not having read everything that I had been reading about Early Retirement) but to my COMPLETE shock he was fully supportive of the idea. Thinking back on it now I really shouldn’t have been surprised given his natural tendency to frugality… However, since then though it doesn’t really feel like the surprises have stopped:

As I have discussed previously, Our Brat Experiment has resulted in us saving WAY more than we ever dreamt that we would. In fact we are well on our way to saving our dream-dream amount for our year in Korea. This has weirdly caused some anxiety, but in the end we coped by deciding to reward ourselves with a holiday to Thailand 🙂

But the big confusion for us is HOW exactly we managed to save so much. It really didn’t feel like we were on track to save that much. So to try and answer the how, I’ve made some very pretty graphs 🙂

The first tracks how much we spent in each category each month:

 

6-months-category-monthly-spending

(P.S. I hope you are notably impressed with my graph making skills, as well as my ability to put them into this blog, dear Reader!)

I then put all our categories together to see where most of our money goes:

 

6-months-total-percentage-spent-in-each-category

Our order of spending appears to be:

  • Local travel (this is travel within Korea and so consists mainly of weekends away) at 28%
  • Groceries at 21%
  • Bills at 16%
  • Eating Out at 11%

It’s surprising that local travel is so much because we usually stay with friends and so save a massive amount on accommodation. The thing that kills us though is the transport costs i.e. two return bus tickets. Groceries and bills are no big surprise. But the eating out? We could EASILY save more in that area… But if I’m honest, I’m just not really sure that we want to…

The problem is though that these graphs don’t represent our true total spending because they don’t include our overseas travel (i.e. our trip to Malaysia). So here is the first graph with our Malaysian trip included:

6-months-category-monthly-spending

The spend in Month 1 was for the flight tickets and the spend in Month 4 was on our spending money for while we were in Malaysia.

Including our overseas travel really shifted our percentages of spending within each category though:

 

6-months-total-percentage-of-each-category-with-overseas

Our order of spending now appears to be:

  • Local travel at 22%
  • Overseas travel at 19%
  • Groceries at 17%
  • Bills at 13%

The big thing for me here is that our travel cost with local and overseas combined is over 40% of our total spending over the last 6 months…. I would NEVER have guessed it was this much (definitely in part because I always exclude our overseas travel spending as some sort of ‘special case’!) Clearly the lesson here is that I need to stop doing that…

Either way, though, the percentages that we spend in each category are very useful in terms of understanding our spending habits. Clearly our values lie with travelling and eating – hahaha! And in turn, the percentages are very helpful in terms of planning for the future. For example, in New Zealand we also want to travel locally about 2 weekends a month so we must just make sure that we budget accordingly for that (at least initially until we learn the costs of things in NZ!)

The most awesome graphs, where I did a “whohoooooooooo”, were the graphs looking at our total spends for each month though:

6-months-monthly-spending-local-vs-overseas-travel

Blue = Only local travel; Red = Including overseas travel

Irrespective of which figures you take (only local travel or including overseas travel) there was a massive drop in our spending from Month 1 of Our Brat Experiment to Month 2 of Our Brat Experiment (that we have maintained since). The lesson is clearly that simply tracking and becoming aware of our spending was most of the work in terms of reducing our spending. HOW fantastic is that, dear Reader?!? Especially because it really isn’t hard to download an app to your phone and simply log it every time you spend any money. Thank you technology! 🙂 What a pleasure that financially empowering ourselves really was that idiot-friendly! 🙂

The other interesting thing is that despite how our spending has felt at different times, be it restrictive or comfortable, our spending has actually been reasonably consistent over the last 5 months (with the exception of Month 4 where we went to Malaysia and so spent more on overseas travel but less on living costs in Korea). In other words, the most powerful thing in terms of our quality of life wasn’t how much money we were spending, but rather how we were framing that spending in our minds. This is brilliant because it means that going forward if we feel like our budget isn’t working for us, our first point of attack can be to reframe our approach to our spending rather than actually increasing our spending 🙂 Early retirement here we come! 😉

 Xxx

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One thought on “Pretty graphs of our SIX MONTHS of Brat Experiment

  1. Pingback: Month 7 | The Brat Experiment

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