Budgeting - Do you do it?

@rebelmel (1387)
United States
March 24, 2009 11:23am CST
I have been reading a lot of information about budgeting on the internet in the past few days, and it has gotten me thinking that maybe I should put aside a few hours one of these days and create a realistic budget. Do you have a budget? What does yours look like?
1 person likes this
2 responses
@owlwings (40126)
• Cambridge, England
24 Mar 09
Yes, I have a budget. It is relatively easy to do and there is plenty of free advice available on the Internet. If you have Excel (or OpenOffice Calc) there are several free spreadsheet templates you can download, though it's not difficult to make one yourself. Using software to keep track of your income and outgoings is a big help, I find, and saves reams of paper, jottings, calculations and re-calculations (on your fingers or with a calculator) because a spreadsheet can do all the calculations instantly - you just have to give it the figures! I find that the best way to create a budget is to first calculate your essential expenses. This is where many budgeting websites and books can be a help because they remind you of all the things that most of us forget - I find that it's the costs that come up only once a year, like car tax and insurance, that are easy to miss. Even if you don't pay some bills monthly, it is better to spread the costs and put enough by each month to cover those quarterly or annual expenses. Once you have put down your expenses, list your income and subtract your expenses from the total. This is where depression often hits because you usually find that you have precious little left over for the 'extras' ... oh, food is not an extra, is it? Did you put that in the essentials section? Oops! (I have often found that something I forgot to do after all the house, car, insurance and other things!) My budget is a spreadsheet which I update monthly and which tells me how much I should transfer from one account to the other. It doesn't include everything but it does tell me how much I have over for day-to-day expenses like food and luxuries. For things like vacations and those inevitable unexpected emergencies, I put a regular amount down. Once I have made the necessary adjustments to my monthly sheet, I print it off (and save it) so that I have a record. As for food and other day-to-day expenses, I found it best to keep a daily record of everything I bought out of pocket for a month. That gave me, at least, an idea of how much I was spending on each thing - meat, bread, veg, dried goods, tinned goods and so on. The actual budget need not be as detailed but that record does help one to realise where one might make savings.
• Lubbock, Texas
24 Mar 09
I greatly recommend a budget. I've been living on a budget so long, I don't really sit down and do one each month, it's just become a way of life. It's definitely a good way to see where you're spending money unnecessarily and start thinking about how you can improve your life syle. Believe it or not, a budget can actually bring more things into your life and make it more enjoyable. It's about cutting out excessive unnecessary things in order to have the things you really want.