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I am good!

June 30th, 2009 at 01:38 pm

I've apparently worked my budget down to an "exact science."

I hesitate to use the word "budget" because I am not really into the whole tradiitonal budget thing. I would drive myself nuts accounting for all those overages/underages every month. & you might be surprised, but I do not care for a strict budget. I like that if I spent no money on gas or food, that I can go splurge on something else. I do not carry things over month to month. I guess I like flexibility and ease, over rigidity and complication.

So anyway, we had a good month and for whatever reason it popped into my mind that we really could save another $50/month. I just felt it would be very reasonable.

I opened my "budget" spreadsheet on a whim and looked it over.

Lo and behold - when LM started his new preschool I guess I rounded way up and allocated $200/month to that. Thing is, most months it's barely $150.

So subconsciously I am thinking I have $50 per month to spare, and in reality - I really do.

My goal for maxing out first ROTH was to put away $350/month and "wing it" on the rest - scrounge it up somehow.

This officially puts me to $5k per year, just based on $400 monthly contributions (well, the additional $200 will be easy to scrounge).

So, I am very pleased.

I would like to build up more cash savings, but I also think it's important to contribute heavily to retirement in this market. So I am kind of doing $400/month to each, for now. I certainly am tempted to put my spare $50 to cash, but I know we have had a good year and with a little patience will probably reach my cash goals within the year. So I will stay the course!

I whipped this up sometime when we were in preschool limbo and we had a few hundred dollars to spare every month. It's worked out well:

As a recap:

short-term "savings" are to be spent within the year (vacation, car repairs, property taxes, insurance, dental, swim lessoms, misc., etc. - everything that is not a regular monthly expense).

mid-term savings - larger expenses expected in more than one year - car replacement and house maintenance, orthodontia, etc. Car repairs for more than I "budgeted" would fall here too, as well as unexpected large bills, etc.

medical savings - we switched to a HDHP and save $250/month on premiums. We save the difference for deductibles and future rate increases.

I've kind of been honing this system for a while, and I am very pleased with it. Once honed, it's been a rather simple and effective savings system. Though we are saving much less than when we both worked, there is much more thought to the big picture. I think the thought makes up for the decrease in savings, in many regards.

Anyway, yes, I already increased my automatic ROTH contributions - starting with July!


ETA: I do put everything possible on the credit card (for rewards, etc.). It is paid monthly, of course!

Everything not on the card can not be paid with credit cards - bah.

BUT I also worked on this spreadsheet to get an idea what my monthly credit card bills should be - since we recently switched some utilities over to the card, etc. IT can get kind of confusing though since I can put a lot of short-term expenses on the card. It usually runs closer to $2k, BUT I can simply subtract all the short-term items (they tend to be larger/obvious items) and just make sure the rest never tops $1500.

5 Responses to “I am good!”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    That's very impressive. I have mine down too, but considering that it's for a single guy, it's really not that difficult. The challenge is to do the same for a family with children. So, kudos and thanks for sharing your sheet.

  2. milehighgal Says:

    I do something similar in mint. All my CC purchases are categorized (we use it for 90% of everything) and the few remaining things paid out of the bank are as well. I have monthly totals for each category and can see all the previous months as well. The cool thing is that I can also go back and reference all the transactions for that particular category, groceries for example. I've set up spending guidelines for each category and get notifications if we go over the max we alloted to it. I think if I was savvier in xcel I could do it on there as well, as you do. Kudos Smile

  3. Apprentice Bliss Hunter Says:

    I love how your financal mind works !!

    You seem to have a natural flair for this stuff !

  4. whitestripe Says:

    we use the cc for everything too - usually goes for around $1500-$2500 a month, but sometimes up to $3500 if we have some large purchases. it's a bit tricky sometimes, we only have a $5k limit with this new one and i am patiently waiting for them to offer a higher limit.

  5. monkeymama Says:

    milehighgal - Actually I track everything in Quicken. Which is probably where I got all my #s! I use excel for other things, but need powerful accounting software to keep me happy. Big Grin
    We only have one or 2 savings accounts, so we track the different categories of saving in excel. We just invest for the best return, but I use excel for tracking savings balances, by type, more than anything.

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