January 2009 budget – Part I

February 1, 2009 at 9:46 pm (monthly budget) (, , , , )

This is part 1 of my January budget.

Still working out the kinks, but the numbers are in for the month. I am realizing that my food spending is always going to be my biggest challenge. I also decided that any money not spent in the budget is going to be put in little mini-funds for a few select categories. If I go over in restaurant spending, that overflow will have to come out of the leftovers (to stay with the food theme :), so while I hope to put $1200 towards the car for the year, I may not always be able to put down $100 (the monthly budget for that category) each month as savings, or whatever is left unspent for the month. I think this is going to be the best system for me to have savings that are not  the emergency fund, and are readily available for miscellaneous spending that I expect to have throughout the year.

With that decision made (whew!), here’s my results for the month. Overspending is shown in red. 😦

Category Spent Budgetted
Food $317 $350
Restaurant $123 $100
Gas $101 $90
Bills $1,202 $1,190
Credit Payments $388 $400
Pets $16 $115
Coffee $44 $25
Liquor $15 $45
Entertainment $14 $25
Photo $0 $50
Clothes $0 $40
Fees/Subscriptions $0 $30
Home $10 $40
Car $6 $120
Gifts $26 $40
Unexpected $14 $0
Total Budget $2,250 $2,700

A few things of note: I realized that I don’t have anything set aside for medical necessities (like emergency items from the drug store, or a co-pay if I need to go to the doctor). I don’t really want to put MORE money into my budget; it’s already fairly high, so I think I’ll just let those unexpected, unbudgetted spendings come out of the overall unspent money that I was planning on saving. I don’t ever expect to spend EVERYTHING in my budget in any given month. I mean, I should be at least $300-$500 under, always, for all categories.

I’ve also decided I’ll need to save money in the following categories: car (for large repairs), gifts (xmas 2009!), clothes (expensive shoes or a coat next winter), photo (see my previous post on my upcoming art show for an explanation on framing costs), and pet (for vet visits).

Here’s my entire income/spending layed out:

Income $3437 $3437 starting
Budget $2600 $837 left over
Snowflakes $0 $837 left over
Debt Payment 1
(Citibank)
$1065 -$228 overspent
Debt Payment 1(Line of Credit principal) $0 -$288 overspent
Savings $125 -$353 overspent

 As you can see, I “overspent” quite a bit this month. I had $400 in my checking account to start, plus a little extra in cash, so I’m not actually in trouble, but this was a particularly expensive month due to my laptop purchase and my FSA spending ($300 which will be reimbursed shortly).

My goal is to have about a $400 checking account balance outside of the budget, so when I get my FSA claim check for $300, it will probably stay in the checking account rather than go towards debt. So I may not be able to make any extra debt payments this month, dangnabit.

Part 2 will go into an explanation of the why and how my spending is as it is (ie, my excuses for overspending :).

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