I’ve been using a budget for a little over 5 months now, and i gotta say i am feeling pretty damn good about it! And although it doesn’t look as good as it should – I have a plan, i’m stickin’ to it, and i’m saving money.
The calculations don’t lie: Budgets = Confidence = Sexy.
Here’s exactly what i have to play with every month after taxes, ss, medicare, and 401k at 19% (holler!):
- Paycheck #1: $1807.86
- Paycheck #2: $1807.86
- Quarterly bonus’: $2k-ish (now frozen…stupid economy!)
My budget, however, only factors in the bi-weekly paychecks I get. The bonus’ are GREAT, but it’s not something i can definitely count on 100%. So, when/if these come in every 3 months, i either apply it to our open credit cards, the Emergency Fund, or to cushion my checking acct. a bit.
Here’s my bi-weekly budget:
(Some of this may look familiar/redundant from my recent “Where does my money go” post, as I budget using “clumps” of money)
- Mortgage $$: 1/2 of my share of the mortgages
- House $$: 1/2 my share of the monies for “house stuff”. this includes all utilities & all groceries eaten @ home. i use a separate house budget to track this which i’ll post soon.
- Wedding Fund: for our wedding!
- My Credit Card: the amount i alot myself each month. Gets paid off on time and no interest accumulated. i also use a credit card budget to keep track of this separately.
- Cash Withdrawal: always gotta have cash on you.
- Mortgage $$: the other half of my share.
- House $$: the other half of my share.
- Condo Investment: the amount to my brother for help.
- Insurance: auto: actually covers my car, our 2 laptops, and the engagement ring. billed together.
- Insurance: life: gotta have that life insurance!
- Auto loan: the biggest non-necessity (price-wise that is).
- Emergency Fund: the least amt. i put in…if i save in other areas, i drop that into here as well.
- Cash Withdrawal: trying not to take out more. it’s hard :(
- Roth IRA: i used to put in at leat $100/mo until i realized i don’t have the money to be doing that! i’d like to re-contribute on an automated schedule once i get this budget in check.
As you’ll notice, my lifestyle costs me around $3,900/month on average, and i only bring in $3,600/month. Soooo, according to my budget i’m down around $300 from the get go :( On the plus side, however, i stick to this budget pretty hardcore and haven’t gone over since starting. The last 2 months i’ve actually shaved off a good $200 or so each time (thanks to all my challenges!) so i’m really losing around $100 per month.
None the less, I need to get my average spending down so that i’m at least breaking even each time. This is why i will more than likely sell my car, and pick up a way cheaper one.
It’s good to remember though that budgeting is a continual process. So as long as we’re all indeed working on it, we’re already better off!
PPS: And here’s a list of a whole bunch of other free budget templates!