Budgeting is not hard but yet we often tell ourselves that it is and that it is impossible to achieve. Wrong. Anyone can create a budget, it’s that they don’t want to adhere to it. Everyone has the time to sit down, go over their finances and budget. It took me a whole 30 minutes to come up with one. Yes, 30 minutes (aside from creating a fancy Excel worksheet).
Last week I had to turn a line of credit into a loan so that it can finally be paid off. Gasp. Horror. There’s an extra $112 bi-weekly that I will lose. But hey… the loan will be paid off in five years, sooner if I wish to pay off more to bring the principle down. I was distraught. I knew that it eventually had to be turned into a loan but when you’re on Employment Insurance, applying for full-time status within your current place of employment, and receiving a handful assignments… the $112 is like a chunk of your heart was removed.
In order to afford the little things such as dining out, going out with friends and personal items (toiletries, medication, etc), I had to sit down and create a budget. I’ve printed out a few budget worksheets already done for you; however, I found that it was not working for me. Here’s what I’ve come up with for October (click image to enlarge).
For now I receive two sources of income until the Employment Insurance ends in December. I need this to be up front and center so I can see what I will be working with. It’s important for you to visually see (I used my earnings after taxes) what you’ve earned and where it will be going.
This category is broken down into two categories (the other, “automobile”, is listed as a budgeted item – gas & maintenance). This category pertains to my car loan (yes, I have a new car… my used car finally kicked the bucket… and I’ll discuss why I purchased new versus used in another post) I pay every two weeks and the monthly insurance payment. These are under my “fixed” debt category because, well, it’s fixed. With an exception. I was able to finagle an open loan with the bank so that while there’s a “fixed” (used loosely) payment every two weeks, I’m given then opportunity to go to the bank to pay more. Not only will the amount go down, but the principle will too. I’ve also listed when the payments are due (even though they come out of my bank automatically) and the total of the payments + insurance.
Under this category I’ve included the two credit cards (the CC payments are italicized as a guesstimate [also the average] until the bills are released the 12th of every month), my new line of credit loan payments and what I owe Dell. I am happy to report that the Dell PC account will officially be closed in October! The last payment comes out on October 24 and I am so happy. Now I have an extra $30 in my account. I have to work on the TV (don’t get me started on this one) and my laptop (it was purchased for school two years ago). I also call this category fixed because the payments cannot be upped (with the exception to the credit cards).
To the right of the other categories is where I am budgeting for everything else. And I just realized I forgot to add my cell phone in this section. This is what I call my “controlled” debt. I am in complete control of what I spend and how much I spend on whatever I am purchasing – dining out, magazines, gasoline, etc. While sometimes certain items such as medication cannot be controlled (it is if you have medication you take monthly, but there’s some months where you become sick and extra medication is required), everything is pretty much a controlled situation.
My goals for the “Entertainment” category is to actually make money. I’m planning to start selling my paper crafts online via etsy (even though there will be a monthly fee I will have to pay); eventually next year I want to start visiting craft shows to expand my paper crafts hobby. I also do not want to spend money on movies (while I rarely go to the theatre, I do spend money purchasing movies from cable), I have a plan to watch my DVDs and the free movies cable provides you. Also starting this month I have two free year subscriptions to magazines coming my way after cashing in reward miles. There still are certain magazines I like to purchase (Rachael Ray), but it’s nice to have something for free. Once I earn more money, and if my budget allows me, I will be subscribing to Rachael Ray once again.
Total Income + Budget + Debts
In the extreme right hand corner this is where all my tallies are listed. My total income, budget (projects and actual) and then the debts. The Income – Debts also include what I actually spent in the budget category (Income – Debt – Budget). This is where I can see what I’m bringing in and what I’m spending. I think once you have a visual of how much you’ve spent, it helps curb throwing away money.
I am very impressed with my budget worksheet. It’s something that works for me and is laid out the way I want it. I have nothing against all the free worksheets that are currently available online, it’s just that they do not work for me. I’m a visual person, I like things the certain way and if they’re jumbled up and missing various things (most of them did not include income on the sheets… you need to know your income so you can budget!) it’s not going to work. And mine is completely customizable!
Are you currently on a budget? What are your tips for saving money? What do you miss most when it comes to spending?