How I Make and Track Our Budget

Happy Monday!

Every month I go over the previous months budget with you all by showing you my spreadsheet of how much money went to which category. Well I decided to show you how I arrive at the point. It is an ongoing process that kind of makes me chuckle at myself and my husband makes fun of me because I thoroughly enjoy it. Seriously, who enjoys budgeting? This nerd! Money is constantly on my mind but not in a stressful way.

For as long as I can remember I have always budgeted, or thought I was budgeting. Putting money into various savings accounts was budgeting to me. I started by just having a travel and shopping savings account. I would save money to go on a shopping spree. Haha. I laugh as I write that but I guess it was better than going on a shopping spree with a credit card. In college, my friends and I loved to take trips so I was constantly saving for them. Now my husband and I have 7…yes 7 savings accounts.

  • Emergency – self-explanatory
  • Travel – obviously for trips
  • Car – Maintenance purposes / a new car (because I never want to take out a loan for a car again)
  • Household items – Mainly for big purchases and by big I mean maybe like $100 and up. I started this savings account when I was living in the dorms preparing to move into our first place.
  • Boys Toys – This is for my husbands numerous projects whether its building a computer or fixing up his motorcycles
  • Gifts – I like to put money in here for birthday gifts and for Christmas so we aren’t spending all of our monthly budget during the holidays
  • Honeymoon – We still have a honeymoon left to take from our Wedding Giveaway we won. We have a voucher for $3,000 but we also wanted to save some additional money as well

(Right now the only accounts that have money in them are the emergency and honeymoon accounts)

So when I used to budget, budgeting meant putting money into savings accounts and thats it. I never used to tell our money where to go  for daily purchases. I would just allocate $2,000 a month for groceries, gas, entertainment, and anything else we wanted to do. Looking back, $2,000 seems like so much! My average budget for the last 6 months for those things has been about $700. I honestly am not sure how much we will need once the hubby gets back. Anyway, now I LOVE telling our money where to go. So lets talk about how I do that.

I find myself randomly making rough budgets or writing things down that I know we will need to spend money on the next month. About a week prior to the start of the new month I write a “final” rough draft in my budget notebook. It is not really final but its my final handwritten one and I usually end up making changes.

Here is my July one.

Rough Budget

The final number I am trying to reach is how much we will be able to put towards the current loan we are working on paying off. So right now I am trying to figure out how much money we will be able to put towards Penny (our car). As you can see I have crossed things out and made changes. I have actually made changes that don’t reflect in the notebook. I just like writing it all out first and seeing it all on paper.

The next step is adding it into my spreadsheet.

Budget

This is a more clean version. You can see I have a new sheet for each month so I can go back and look at every month if I want to.

At the beginning of the year I bought a…subscription/membership for lack of a better word, to Dave Ramsey’s website – www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com – I remember wondering if it would be worth the $80 I spent and boy is it! The membership is for a year and I definitely plan to renew next year. It is here that I keep track of all of our purchases. Once I have my spreadsheet filled out, I add the numbers into the website. Here is a small section.

Online Budget

 

For example, under food I add what my budget is for groceries and every time I buy groceries I add that amount in as an expense. It shows me how much I have spent so far and how much I have left to spend. I used to save all my receipts and add everything up with a calculator but that was a hassle. I tried the envelope method of just spending cash and that was a hassle. This works the best for me. Every few days I go onto my bank account, look what I spent money on and add it into the website. How easy is that?! It adds it up for me. It tells me what I have left. It also has a nifty pie chart showing where all of our money is going. It shows us what percentage of income should be going to each category and how much is actually going to it. It also tells me when my budget is zeroed out; meaning when all of our income is allocated to go somewhere. The only thing that would make this site better would be if it was free 😛

At the end of the month I just take the totals from this site and add it back into my spreadsheet under the “Actual” column and that is what I show you all. Every month I am somehow a few dollars off and by that I mean I have spent more than my income or spent less than my income. I am not sure how that is possible unless I miss adding something into this site. The day before payday is when I make the last large payment to the current loan we are working on paying off. I just put whatever is left in our checking account towards that loan.That is the last thing I add into this site and somehow I end up a few dollars off every month. Maybe one month we will be exactly on, down to the penny.

Well, thats my budgeting process. It isn’t super strict, but it also isn’t super lax. Entertainment is kind of open for whatever. I don’t dictate what we do every month in advance. That just sounds like it would set us up for disappointment. We can only predict what is going to happen in the month so much.

I feel like this month I haven’t been very good at watching what I spend. :/ With the husband coming back from a 6- month deployment, I feel like he deserves some fun so I have been a little lax on my spending. Can you blame me?! I am excited to sit down with him and make the August budget together and get back on track!

 

 

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