Mr Viking and I bought an apartment a few months ago (I’ll get into the economics of how it is much more financially sensible to buy rather than rent n Sweden in another post), and apart from the money we are saving not having to pay rent, it has been an incredible demotivating experience from a savings-point of view. We both have fixed numbers we are expecting to put away after all expenses and invest each month (remember, the monthly salary in Sweden? :)) as part of The Leprechaun that will never die..
However, ever since we bought this apartment, there has been a number of emergency expenses each months that has left us dumbfounded at the end , wondering what happened.
For example, we didn’t have a carpet for the hallway for the longest time, because we were trying to stay within budget and prioritize. It has started snowing here now, which means that every time someone clamps through our door, there will be a little puddle of water on our white, 100-year old-wooden floor *gasp* and will soon leave permanent damage = decreasing the value of the apartment *thousand-folded-gasp*. Nonetheless, our sense of priorities shifts very quickly which means that we are not anticipating these costs.
Three months ago we bought bought a couch (did not have anywhere to sit in the living room before) and two bedside tables (I had a pile of books on the floor before that Mr Viking, -J, kept tripping on). Which meant that we once again went over our budget, and it irritated me. By now we have been living here for so long that our expenses should have fluctuated back to status quo.
one rule that kept our expenses in check:
We came up with one rule that has changed all of this. Now, we meet budget every month and we are forced to anticipate costs and expenses that may come up. It is really very simple, but it has changed everything for us. The rule is: We can only make one big purchase each month (No fixed upper or lower limit on what we mean with ‘big’, which helps us equate everything that is a real ‘purchase’ with ‘big expense’.
We have this rule set until the end of the year where we put a hard stop on even the one big expense per month and will probably move over to one each quarter. This month it is leaning towards a kitchen table, which we still don’t have. But, because we have this rule, we are now contemplating this purchase carefully before rushing away (weighing it against getting wardrobe doors for example, another thing we are still lacking, that will thus have to way)