Now hubby and I keep track of everything that goes in and out of our accounts. I'm sure there are some fancy apps or free software to do this for us, but I literally log receipts into a Word doc and check it against our online banking. That's all. Money in, money out. Then, at the end of the month, we sit down, review what went well, what didn't, and what we want to do for the next month.
January looked like this:
Income: $3760.81 ($1975.40 without extras)
Rent: $1500.00 (double to cover February)
Stuff: $227.00 (usually defined as supplies or non-grocery)
Health: $377.50 (unusually high because Mike got glasses)
Cars: $0 (this category stands for repairs, parts, oil changes, ect)Gas: $195.41
Income was all over the place this month. We had some gift cards, a small amount from selling an item on Craigslist, a parting Pampered Chef check, and then the loan for rent. Also, it was the last month that I'll receive my teaching salary. All in all, that's twice as much as we'll be getting next month (not counting on Mike's GI Bill).
- All of the meal planning and bargain shopping at multiple stores really paid off for groceries. We spent roughly $85 a week on food. That's pretty awesome.
- Gas is much better now that A) I'm not traveling to Waterloo once a week and B) we only have one car. This is $100 less than previous months.
- Entertainment is less than 1% of our budget, and that's pretty good for two movie addicts.
- Clearly we ran into some issues and had to take out a loan for rent. Not totally our fault, but still unfortunate.
- Around $180 went on the credit cards. Not going to help us reduce debt.
- Our supplies category is modest, I feel, but still something to get lower.
- Be modest about purchases the first half of the month. Most of our bills come out then and we need to be "aggressive" the second half when there's more to play with.
- Continue to work on smallest credit card to eliminate a payment in March. There's $100 left on the department card. Two payments each payday and that baby could be gone.
- Cut restaurants down. While $150 is totally modest compared to what we used to rack up, it's still a little much for what we actually earn. Half of our balance was from little stuff, a lunch here, snacks at Caseys there. So we decided to make Friday date night and go out for a nice ($30) meal. Excluding the weekends Mike goes to drill, that means we can justifiably go out 3 times, spend a total of $90, and still save money.
Part 1: How do you keep track of your monthly budget, if at all?
Part 2: What are your goals for February?