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!
PS: Some of my favorite tools:
|Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review|
|Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review|
|Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review|