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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, after looking at what we spent in the past two months, I've come up with a budget to get us started. I guess I'm going to go ahead and start tracking our expenses today, even though it will probably be messed up for the first month or so since we've already done grocery shopping for this week, etc.

Anyway, here are the categories I came up with:

Groceries/household expenses
Gasoline
Clothing (big one in our house...I'm a clothes fanatic!)
Golf (DH's passion)
Dining Out
Cigarettes (ugh, I know -- talk to the DH)
Hotel (DH stays in a hotel once a month for work)
Other Entertainment (movies/Netflix, gifts, extra shopping)
Vehicle Care/Maintenance (oil changes, etc.)
Medical Co-Pays/Medicines
Unforeseen Vehicle/Household Expenses

Obviously we won't always spend everything in our budget for all of these categories, especially medical co-pays/medicines & unforeseen vehicle/household expenses, so whatever is left over can either be carried over to another category if needed (hopefully not) or saved. I am already alotting a certain amount to go to savings each month as well. I also have about $200 wiggle room after all that and after our goal amount for savings each month.

Does this sound reasonable to you? Can you think of any categories I might have missed?
 

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Does household expenses cover things like deodarant, shampoo, soap, etc?

Don't forget about the LO on the way...all KINDS of things can creep up unexpected with that.

What about things like haircuts and such?

And gifts?

Looks good so far! And $200 extra a month is pretty sweet! That seems like quite a bit of wiggle room!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think I'm going to put haircuts & gifts under our "Other Entertainment." I gave that category quite a large allowance considering I already covered clothes, golf, and dining out.

Household expenses does cover all that stuff, but I think I might need to add a little more allowance for that category with the new baby coming -- didn't think about the added cost of diapers.

Thanks so much for your suggestions!
 

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Where are your utilities? Power, gas, phone, cable, internet ect?

What about rent/mortgage? (I'm sort of assuming you've factored that in but didn't add it to the list but I thought i'd better check.


Insurance?(car, home, health, life...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oops, I should have mentioned my bill category, which is a huge chunk!
I've got all our utilities, loan payments, credit card payments, mortgage & vehicle payments, etc. factored in with that.

Health & life insurance come straight out of DH's paycheck, so I don't even count that money in with our income. Our house insurance is through our mortgage company and is paid with our house payment. I put our car insurance in with our monthly bills.
 

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I found that for us, we didn't get a working budget until we got very VERY specific and VERY VERY detailed. Almost nothing is lumped together. Here are our budget categories. VERY VERY few things ever go a month without being funded. So, for example, we generally only do our Christmas shopping in Oct., Nov., and Dec. But we save up for it all year long. We only take vacations a couple of times a year but we save up for it all year long.

We keep a spread sheet for our savings account that tells us exactly what each and every penny is meant for.

Income
Bonus
Gifts Received
Items Sold
Other Inc.
Rebate
Salary
Salary Spouse
Tax Refund
Transfer

Expenses
Auto
Fuel
Insurance
Registration
Service
Charity
Childcare
Christmas
Clothing
Crafts
Dining
Dues
Emergency Savings
Entertainment
Golf
Go Karting
Craft Events
Misc
Finance Charges
Gift
Groceries
Haircuts
My haircuts
DH's haircuts
DS's haircuts
Home Repair (this category includes ANYTHING purchased for the house - ie furniture, appliances, paint, items to fix something that is broken etc.)
Household
Security System
Mortgage
Insurance
Term Life
ID Theft
New Baby
Other Misc Exp
Pay off Credit cards (this category is done for us!)
Pets
Photography
Postage
Service Charges
Student Loans (almost done with this YEAH!)
Subscriptions
Transportation (DH uses public transportation from time to time
Utilities
Electric
Gas
Telephone (this includes DSL an Cabel)
Water
Vacation
Lodging
Misc Vaca Exp
Travel

Some things we don't include yet might be fees and dues for the kid's extra curricular activities. Deposits into some Roth IRA's and ESA's. Saving up for some other big expenses like a newer vehicle. Savings for a down payment on your next home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ack, I forgot the $300/month we'll be paying for daycare when the new babe is born! Must rework the budget when the kids are in bed tonight. Good thing I left a lot of wiggle room and overestimated quite a bit in each category!
 

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We have ZERO wiggle room. Meaning we do a ZERO based budget. Every penny that comes in gets a name. It is allocated toward SOMETHING. Now of course certain things vary and so I do try to account for that. But I try very hard to be as exact as is humanly possible.

It takes an average of 3-4 months to get a good working budget. It took my husband and I that long. And we revisit it every week or two weeks.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MommaCrystal View Post
I found that for us, we didn't get a working budget until we got very VERY specific and VERY VERY detailed. Almost nothing is lumped together. Here are our budget categories. VERY VERY few things ever go a month without being funded. So, for example, we generally only do our Christmas shopping in Oct., Nov., and Dec. But we save up for it all year long. We only take vacations a couple of times a year but we save up for it all year long.

We keep a spread sheet for our savings account that tells us exactly what each and every penny is meant for.

Income
Bonus
Gifts Received
Items Sold
Other Inc.
Rebate
Salary
Salary Spouse
Tax Refund
Transfer

Expenses
Auto
Fuel
Insurance
Registration
Service
Charity
Childcare
Christmas
Clothing
Crafts
Dining
Dues
Emergency Savings
Entertainment
Golf
Go Karting
Craft Events
Misc
Finance Charges
Gift
Groceries
Haircuts
My haircuts
DH's haircuts
DS's haircuts
Home Repair (this category includes ANYTHING purchased for the house - ie furniture, appliances, paint, items to fix something that is broken etc.)
Household
Security System
Mortgage
Insurance
Term Life
ID Theft
New Baby
Other Misc Exp
Pay off Credit cards (this category is done for us!)
Pets
Photography
Postage
Service Charges
Student Loans (almost done with this YEAH!)
Subscriptions
Transportation (DH uses public transportation from time to time
Utilities
Electric
Gas
Telephone (this includes DSL an Cabel)
Water
Vacation
Lodging
Misc Vaca Exp
Travel

Some things we don't include yet might be fees and dues for the kid's extra curricular activities. Deposits into some Roth IRA's and ESA's. Saving up for some other big expenses like a newer vehicle. Savings for a down payment on your next home.

IM so gonna use this... thanks
 

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I agree with PP about having a very detailed budget. However, it really can take a while to get there. FOr a whole year I had this strange bit of my budget I called misc expenses: it had quite a bit of money allocated for it because I had so many "unknown" expenses. By keeping very careful track for a year I tracked them all down specifically. Also, don't forget about the expenses that are quarterly, or yearly or every few years (car insurance, financial planner, septic pumping, house painting, etc.). They need to have a spot in the budget every month to avoid scary "surprises". Before my budget, I used to find all of this extra money in the checking account just begging to be spent and then the next month we would get the quarterly car insurance bill! Also, if you can wiggle it in, a budget towards big home repairs or towards a replacement car can be a really huge help. Especially if you know that your car is aging or you are going to need a new roof in a few years, etc....
 

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I agree with EmsMom. We had been using Quicken for years but never created a real budget. We were half way decent at recording our expenses and correctly categorizing them, but some stuff just got over looked.

So then when we started budgeting we forgot lots of stuff. So then the budget didn't work and we got frustrated and gave up. But a time came when we really needed to get serious. I set a goal for us to be debt free except our mortgage by New Years 2007. I was SERIOUS! So therefore we had to get TRULY serious about a budget and a spending plan.

What I listed above is the result of several months of trial and error and redos and start overs and try agains and darnits I forgot about that. Once we got good at it we discovered HUNDREDS of exta dollars. We also started to make it fun. Make a game to see how far below budget we could end up on certain things at the end of the month. We live on cash only. We no longer have credit cards and we leave the debit card at home. We use the envelope system for everything. So we try to challenge ourselves to see how much we can have left in the envelopes at the end of the month.

All extra money generally goes toward our emergency savings. We want to save up 6 months of expenses. But right now we are saving for a new dishwasher because ours is kaput. As soon as we get pay off our last debt and build up about 3 months of expenses we will slowly start contributing to retirement again, while we keep saving.

We did have a windfall this year (sort of). My husband insanely over estimated what we had to to pay in taxes. He forgot to compensate for our first child and our much lower income as I stopped working. We ended up with about $9,000 in total refunds. CRAZY! So I had him GREATY reduce that... which upped our monthly income. Then I had him stop his 401K contributions. Which also upped our monthly income. Between those two things, the tax returns, selling everything in the house that isn't bolted down, and carefully budgeting we have paid off around $19,000 in debt since January. About $14,000 of that was credit cards, the rest was student loans. We had already paid off our cars. Right now we have $1300 left in student loans. Just another couple of months and that will be GONE! And all along the way we have contributed between 9 & 10 percent of take home pay to charity. And last month we sold our home and moved up to a new one.

Looking back at our spending we realize we didn't really over spend. But our debt was enslaving us. The interest was KILLER! We were stuck in never ending cycle! So we cut up the cards, created a plan, and here we are! We may actually end up with a few thousand extra at the end of the year! That will all go to emergency savings!
 
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