No, this post has nothing to do with the federal government, although I would like to see a breakthrough there as well. This post is to show how I actually kept track of our budget in time for it to affect my spending in the month of October.
In my defense, I didn’t have to pay rent the first 5 years post-college, so we saved lots each year without trying too hard. And we did make budgets, we just didn’t keep track of our spending quite in time for it to affect our further spending.
Anyway, the situation is different now, and I needed to learn to keep a budget and adjust my spending accordingly.
I had tried to keep track before, but gotten behind on the records. I think the problem was that I was trying to keep track of every piece in, and every expenditure, including bills, some of which only come once or twice per year. This time I started out the same: I made a chart of spending I wanted to keep track of, but I simplified the list of payments to only ones that were optional, i.e. no bills. Maybe someday, the amount spent on bills can affect the rest of my spending, but we had to start simple.
Here’s the chart: Monthly budget sheet
If you have a set income, you can put the number in the first column which is the max spending in that category. Mine was a little trickier, because other than food, I was trying to limit my optional spending to money I made in odd jobs that month, so the amount I could spend changed.
I put the chart right next to my computer on my desk, and every day or two added in the new expenditures. For October, I just added each expenditure individually, but then I had to go back with my calculator every once in a while to total things up. For November, I’m keeping a running total, which is working much better.
Regardless, I made it to the end of the month with $3 extra. Haha, not much, but I also had an additional $40 that I had worked for and would get paid in November. That’s all. Not too deep, but it’s taken me a while to be successful.
Let me know if you are good at sticking with a budget, and any tips you have. Hopefully this can help some of you!