My Precious Pennies

I will be AWAY until late February as we do this moving thing...again.

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers & Tricia from 1stopmom
will be holding down the fort in the meantime - thank you so much, ladies!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August budget roundup

UPDATE: I have found a flaw in the sample spreadsheets that I have sending out. In the "new balance" column of the budget bank spreadsheet, the formula is currently x - should instead be x + x. Sorry for that, and you can email me for a corrected version, or if you want you can just go through and replace the "-" sign with a "+" to fix it yourself.

August was a really crazy month for us because of a lot of abnormal stuff happening. My husband's paycheck was still going through changes due to our move, and we finally received compensation from the moving company for the damage they did and were able to replace our furniture. Technically, we went over way budget, but once you break it down, we actually did very well this month. This was truly a test of our budget spreadsheet, because although our final expense for this month came out to around $3900, thanks to the spending log and the different categories in my spreadsheet I was able to determine that $2800 of that were abnormal one-time expenses (read: replacing furniture, new TV, and xbox 360). That means that we only spent $1100 on day-to-day normal expenses, which is well under my projected cost of $1380.

But don't go thinking we went on a spending spree just because the moving company cut us a check! We still managed to put an extra $3000 in savings this month, and this is on top of our regular monthly commitment of $615 that's actually factored into the budget.

One of the highlights of this month's budget was the fact that we only went $2.83 over our grocery budget of $200. I am so proud of this, especially since I made 5 grocery trips this month. Last Friday's commissary run was included in this month's budget, although all of the food was for next month's meals.

Now for the bad news. We went WAAAAY over our "dining out" budget of $20. If I had it my way, there would be no allotment at all for fast food, but I'm realistic. Although I would love to blame my husband for all of the $90 overage, I have to admit some of it was my fault. Especially the days that we were out until 10pm doing replacement shopping and I just didn't have the energy to go home and cook. Next month this should definately not happen since we won't be out so late making huge purchases, but just to be sure I've taken to keeping a few instant pizzas in the house. I'll rather spend an extra $3 at the commissary than spend $20 at Pizza Hut.

Another area where we went over budget was our $50. Not that it can really be helped, since it's not like we just take joyrides around town, but the only way I can explain it is that we made 2 trips to Ikea - an extra 150 miles that we otherwise would not have driven. Nonetheless, I decided to up our gas budget from $80 to $125 for September, which should be far cover our gas expenses. If we end up way under-budget, I'll adjust it again for October.

Technically, I went over budget in a lot of areas, but that is to be expected and the problem will actually correct itself with my budget bank. I love my budget bank spreadsheet because it allows me to take advantage of sales and such without going over budget. I allot $15 a month for clothing, but that doesn't mean we go out to buy clothes every month. In fact, we like to make maybe one trip every 6 months or so during sale season. And when we do, we spend more than $15, but that's okay because my budget bank will tell me how much I've saved up in that part of my budget. It sounds complicated, but it just works wonders for me.

If you're interested in seeing the spreadsheet, send me an email and I would be glad to email you a template. However, I must warn you that you probably won't be able to just use the spreadsheet in its current form because my categories of spending probably doesn't match yours. For example, I have absolutely nothing alloted for our housing expense because our rent amount is determined by my husband's paycheck, and then taken out automatically. We also don't pay utilities, so there is no category for that either.

For a limited time, for anyone who is interested in giving out my budget spreadsheet a test run for a month, I would be glad to personalize a template for you if you provide me with the categories that you need. I won't need dollar amounts from you since you can just enter them yourself and the formulas will take care of it, but I can personalize the budget to include the categories of spending that suits your family. The only things that I ask in return is you either place my button on your blog, or if you don't have one to email 10 friends about my blog. And I would also appreciate your feedback during and after your test trial to find out how it works out for you.

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