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2009 Budget

January 18th, 2009 at 08:03 am

Every time my pay changes I look at the flow of bills and see if I need to move anything around. I also evaluate all of our savings contributions, etc.

So I came up with a rough new budget.

Because we pay so many of our bills on our credit card (just about everything we can), I don't have a lot going on in my checking account. This is pretty much how it goes:

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+ 2757 (first of month)

-1400 Credit Card (groceries, gas, utilities, misc.)
- 300 Other/Utilities (Gardener, HOA, water, sewer, gas, electric)
- 500 Short-Term Savings
- 333 ROTH

+ 2757 (mid month)

- 550 Medical Insurance
-1100 Mortgage
- 300 Preschool
- 500 Short-Term Savings
- 500 Long-Term Savings

Of course, if anything else is due in any given month, we pay it from savings (insurance and taxes, etc.). Or any small cash amount that we can not throw on the card. Comes from savings.

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I found the way I had it set up before, I had too much stuff piling up and due at the beginning of the month.

I decided the simplest thing to do was to begin to prepay the preschool payment at the end of the month. This is fair enough. I used to pretty much do this anyway, but had gotten into the habit of paying it with my paycheck on the first. But often I can't pay until like the 5th then. Which is fine, since I prepay the whole month (not required) there have been no complaints. But I think it will be simpler to just pay it on the 31st, going forward. I may have to pull a little out of savings for the first month, which is fine.

I have a built in "emergency fund" in my checking account. The credit card is not due until the end of the month and the mortgage is not due until the middle of the following month. But I just pay them all ahead of time, for simplicity. If I ever needed cash in an emergency that is an easy $1100, by delaying those payments to the due dates.

Anyway, I have been paying paying the credit card around the 20th, which is cutting it a little close for me. Never had a problem (knock on wood) but I look forward to re-arranging some things and paying that on the 1st again. As a result, I won't have to RUN to the bank when I get my paycheck. Phew. I prefer to not care so much about payday.

I can't put anything else on the card. (Mortgage, preschool, most utilities, etc.) Everything else that I can, I do. For rewards, of course. & simplicity though - it's just very convenient.

I was funding the ROTHs evenly every paycheck, but I am loading up one of our ROTHS for 2008 right now (the only one that will let me apply automatic savings to last year), and so figured once a month is fine. It probably makes sense with the current incarnation to switch to once a month contributions, indefinitely.

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This is the extent of my budgeting. We keep the card expenditures at $1400/month. (It will be more when we charge medical fees or dental bills, auto repairs, etc. These are all things we pay from savings).

So if the card is more or the utilities come out to more, it gives us pause. & we re-evaluate.

& of course we take all of our one-time expenses, add them up for the year, and divide by 12, to make sure we save ample amounts.

That is about the extent of my "budget." I re-evaluate it once a year. More often if we get out of whack. I don't like to spend inordinate amounts of time and effort on it. I don't like thinking about it every day. Kind of a PITA if you ask me. Our savings were very much on "auto pilot" when we both worked, our budget was strict, and we saved plenty. Never thought much about it. That is my end goal. Evaluating every month or quarter or year is fine. Every day is too much for me. As much as I love numbers I don't like to obsess over a budget, for sure. I was far happier when I didn't have to obsess so much, and I am getting there, slowly but surely. I think this year is going to be way more relaxed. Phew!

Of course, I mention we budget around $500/month for groceries and $300 for gas. Kind of rules of thumbs (actually, more like maximums). BUT if we have a cheap month elsewhere we don't mind going over a bit. We worry more about the totals than any one particular category too much. Definitely prefer that flexibility.

Just a little peek into my method of madness...

3 Responses to “2009 Budget”

  1. Koppur Says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Monkey Mama. It always helps me to see how other people set up their budgets/payment schedules when I am trying to figure out my own.

  2. Chalatenango Says:

    I have managed to live on budget over the last few months. I just don't feel I am getting anywhere with my savings. It will take some time but I am working on it.
    Eventually I will get ahead. I have to work hard to save anything but eventually I will get somewhere.

  3. homebody Says:

    I should put everything I can on the Amex. Our rebate is already up to over $400.00, but we are trying cash this year, but if I put our utilities on it, that would make up for the cash.... thinking, thinking.....

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