Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Budget, The Whole Budget, And Nothing But The Budget

How do I save money? I don't spend it. Except that I have to. So here's how.

Every month this is our budget:

$800-- Mortgage payment
$106-- Property Tax
  $55-- Homeowners Insurance
$275-- Utilities

$175-- Gasoline
  $65-- Auto Insurance
  $20-- Auto Maintenance
    $8-- Auto Licensing/Registration

  $69-- Household Supplies
  $60-- Food
  $40-- Clothes
  $15-- School Supplies
  $20-- Fun Activities

  $75-- Personal Care
  $17-- Life Insurance

$1,800-- Total

Any income over and above this total goes into savings.

The amounts have needed some tweaking over the last couple of years, as we continue to get a better estimate of what our average expenses in each category are. For example,  Gasoline was at $150/month, but we needed to increase that when I started delivering pizza.

Our budget works like the envelope system; the first day of every month, the budgeted amount is added to each category. Money not spent in previous months creates a surplus in its category; money spent over the budget creates a deficit that is taken out of the next month's allowance for that category.

More on how we make "budgeting" work in another post. Or two. Or maybe I'll just make a whole series going through each line-item. Stay tuned.

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It seems like everyone else has a disclaimer, so here you go. Consider yourself disclaimed. All I'm claiming is that I only claim what I claim I claim, and disclaim other claims I haven't claimed.

Does "claim" sound weird in your head now? It does in mine.