Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Experimental Budgeting System

I thought I would show you what I came up with for my budgeting system. First I made a monthly budgeting spreadsheet on Excel where I broke down my spending into categories and subcategories. I give myself a budget for each subcategory that I think I will need that month. I also put in what I actually spent and keep track of the difference. Here's a picture of last months spreadsheet.
It's hard to see so I'll try to explain. The top left is my projected and actual income. The top right is projected and actual balance (income minus expenses). The tables underneath are the categories and subcategories with projected cost, actual cost, and the difference. The red is where actual cost was higher than the projected cost (oops!). The table on the right second from the bottom is the total projected cost, total actual cost, and the difference. The bottom two are my checking and savings accounts balances at the beginning and end of the month. I want to make sure that both balances are going up instead of down.

Now to keep track of it when I'm actually shopping, I came up with this.
Since I am using the transaction register that came with my checkbook, I'm debating whether I need the top section of this. It seems redundant. But I'm keeping it for now because I don't carry my check book with me. It might be good to have that information with me. The second section is what I'm focused on though. These are the subcategories that I will likely be out shopping for. The middle is where I put my budgeted amount for each subcategory. I don't shop for each subcategory every month. Then the last column is where I can track how much I've spent. I don't go shopping a whole bunch so I figure that three spaces is more than enough. I usually shop only a couple of times a month if I can help it.

My whole planner system except for the Goals section is done and printed. I printed two months worth and will be testing it starting in April. I wanted to use the whole month the way it was intended to be used. If I am satisfied then I will print 3 or 4 months at a time on much better paper. I hate how you can see through this paper. I'm really excited to finally have it done and ready for a trial run!

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I would love to know what you think. Constructive criticism is more than welcome.