Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How's Your Budget Going???




It's the 5th of the month and time for me to take a look at my budget again for this pay period and see how things are going.  Do I need to tweak it here or there?  Was I realistic in my estimation for this pay period?

When you first begin living by a budget, it's a good idea to go back and plug the numbers in whenever you spend money on anything.  Did you fill up your tank?  Enter the number.  Did you go over or under?

Now I'm going to do something unconventional here to show you something.  I am actually going to put up my budget for the pay period ending 01/30/2013.  What you will see below is my budget for the time frame of 01/30/2013 until 02/15/2013 so you can get a clear idea of what I am talking about.


Proposed Actually
1/30/13 Expected Paid Unplanned
Balance $744.43 $757.80
House  $0.00 $0.00
Electric $0.00 $0.00
Deters ($198.00) ($197.11)
Dog Food ($75.00) ($53.09)
Citibank $0.00 $0.00
Household Bank ($65.00) ($85.50)
Savings ($50.00) ($50.00)
Gas ($35.00) ($35.01)
Bank of America ($25.00) ($50.00)
Groceries ($125.00) ($14.53)
$171.43 $272.56




So there you have it.  That's my actual budget.  Why am I showing you this?  Number one to show you I am just like you in that I don't make a fortune.  And, I want to talk about what I have been calling the Left Over.  The left over is the balance remaining at the end of each column.

As you can see, I hope to be able to transfer an additional $171.43 on 02/15/2013 into my savings account.  Right now I'm showing a balance of $272.56.

When you look at the chart above you will notice a couple of things:

1)  Again I did pretty good on the dog food by using coupons.  By utilizing available coupons, I was able to cut my food expenditure by $21.91.  I'll take that any day of the week.  Seems like just a little bit but remember.......all the little bits add up.

2)  I was able to stretch myself and pay a little more than I had planned to Household Bank and Bank of America.  That's always a good thing when you are paying something down.

3)  As you can see, I budget $125.00 each pay period for groceries.  Now you may think this is a lot for 2 people ($250.00/month), but I purchase my husband's cokes out of that money as well and we all know that soft drinks are not cheap.  And he's a Coca Cola Holic!!!!

I have three credit cards with zero interest on them.  We have put the big purchases on these cards and pay them off pretty quickly to utilize the zero interest factor.  So if I pay extra on them, they are paid off quicker and I'm still managing to put additional money into savings.

Now in all honesty, I probably won't put the full $171.43 left over into savings.  Reason.....I found out 2 days ago that I have a special dinner I have to go to Saturday so I need to go pick up something nice to wear.  But I will go to a 2nd hand store and pick up a bargain I assure you.

If I was able to put that $171.43 straight into savings, that would be in addition to amounts already put into savings.  I am really trying to stretch myself on what I am putting into savings because I want to have the kitchen redone in May and I want to have the cash to pay the contractor and not have to put it on any credit card.  Challenging but doable.

The left over or balance is your safety net and is there for just those reasons.  The unexpected.  That's not a free reign to bust your other line items, but it is what little bit you have left for the cushion and in case of emergency.  Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to spend it.  I encourage you to strive to put what ever your left over balance is into savings each month.  If I didn't have to go to this dinner with my husband's company's owner and 3 other couples, I wouldn't be going out to buy a nice outfit.

In recap, update your budget every time you spend money.  Don't let 48 hours go by without updating your check register and updating your budget.  It's a good thing to check your banking account daily just to make certain you don't experience the dreaded identity theft.

 

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