Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year, New Budget

Not so much, though. I pulled out Daniel's last pay stub for 2008 to see what our "annual" income was. It was almost exactly $1,000. more than 2007. I knew it was going to be close. He didn't get a raise last year plus the slow time, which meant not as much over-time. I'm sure the no-raise part is/was related to the crunch the company was going through. Though I never budgeted counting on him getting a raise, it sure did show me to never plan on one! I'm just so thankful that he still has a job (they didn't lay anybody off, but I did notice they took their "hiring" magnet off the work vans), still getting paid, and it's still quite enough for us to be able to live on one income. We are blessed, really blessed. Thank You, God.

Yesterday afternoon I spent a while creating our 2009 expenses spreadsheet and balancing the checkbook (for Nov & Dec). I know one thing: I must be more diligent in making sure that all information is recorded in all places - it makes life much easier. I use a spreadsheet for our budget - on it gets recorded all income and out-go. I have all the categories on it and have it set up so I know if we're in the red in any area. Then I also use Microsoft Money, but purely for the checkbook balancing ease! This means that whenever I go to balance the checkbook I have to go back and enter everything. Yesterday I found about half a dozen things in the checkbook never got entered on the spreadsheet (the checkbook balanced perfectly, but the spreadsheet didn't match the checkbook!). Nightmare... I had to go through it 1 line at a time to find it. Daniel kept asking "how much is it?" and I had to keep telling him "I don't know - I don't know if it's all one thing that I put in as income and it's really an expense (or vice-versa), or if it's multiple things". Turned out to be multiple things. "Grrr" at myself. I started with Dec. 31st, and thankfully only had to go a little into October.

Ahh, that is what New Year's are for, though, right? So I can make a resolution to stay on top of it at all times. We'll see. Hopefully.

Anyway, I just finished our 2009 budget! Yay! I made only a few changes from our 2008 budget since the income was so much the same. I changed our grocery budget to $30/week (I decided to make it $30 since the newspapers for the coupons comes out of that, so I will still be doing $25/week for actual shopping), lowered the amount we put into savings each week, and also created a little spending money for myself. I matched my spending money with Daniel's - $7.00/week :) I know it's not alot, but I always feel selfish and "bad" when I splurge and buy something for myself (be it makeup, cheap jewelry, whatever), and this way I will know that I have a little budget to work with. Daniel usually uses his for tools that he uses for work (they are his, though) but occasionally will buy a gadget or gizmo or whatever for himself. It is something that we talked about, so I knew I could do it. I also had to up our "household" budget a little since our mortgage pmt. went up some. Even with those changes, the money that I budgeted comes out to around 88% of our spendable income (after tithe). I am really pleased with that.

Now the hard part will be to stick to the budget! While I want to continue using coupons, I really need to get back on track with the $25/week budget. So, I am going to do it! I know that if it's possible to do it without coupons, it is possible to do with WITH coupons!

Areas that are also hard for us are eating out on Sundays. Since we are always leaving church around 1pm Sunday afternoons, our breakfasts are long gone and we're hungry. It's always tempting to run by Wendy's, Burger King or Taco Bell on the way home. I don't have that budgeted in anywhere, so it comes out of the food budget, which results in running that in the hole... and the cycle begins. So... we will just have to make our choices! Either pack a lunch (which is a royal pain), wait till we get home (and have something ready to eat or leftovers available - means better planning on my part), or decide if we want to spend a chunk of that week's grocery money on 1 meal!! I haven't talked to Daniel about this specifically, but we have talked about how it is a bad habit and we need to be more careful about how much we do it.

The thing that makes it hard is that in general (as long has he has an hour or two of OT), his paycheck is more than our budget, so it's easy to just put a little extra into the food category to cover what we've overspent. This is SO not budgeting! All the reasons we have for spending less is so we have more money to put on our mortgage, so we're only shooting ourselves in the foot if we're eating that extra money for no reason.

So, New Year 2009, I am going to do my part to help our family stick to our budget 100%.


Tammy K. said... [Reply to comment]

We used to eat out in Sunday's after church but with six kids (three of them teenage boys) it just cost too much. I now make a meal on Saturday for Sunday lunch. I usually cook it in the crock-pot so it is ready when we get home. I cook beef and pork roast over night in the crock-pot and turn them down to the warm setting in the morning. I make rolls and other side's too. I also make chili or soup a lot in the winter. It has saved us a lot of money and we are eating healthier!

Tammy K.

Aliisa and Sundy said... [Reply to comment]

From Aliisa:

We used to be really bad about the same thing. The way we get past it is I either, pull out a leftover meal from the freezer in the morning to thaw while we are at church or I put something in the crockpot to have when we get home. I works out pretty well for the most part. Our only problem comes when we arent ready to go home and we are hungry *lol* cant win them all.

Elizabeth said... [Reply to comment]

I could take lessons from you. I'm really bad in this area but I'm going to try so hard this year!

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Looks good! Sorry you had the headache over the checkbook. That can drive me insane! Hey, here's an idea for the Sun. food issue. #1. Have food that you WANT to eat on hand. Nothing like trying to convince yourself to go home and eat three-times heated over dead squash over Taco Bell. You could have some taco seasoned meat at home to heat in the microwave, plus some chopped lettuce, cheese, onions, and some canned diced tomatoes (that's what I use, anyway) and make your own tacos. That is easier to convince yourself to go home and eat. And, all you have to heat in the 'wave is the meat. The rest is just pull outa the 'frige. Anyway, we do that on some Sundays. Oh, make sure you have some tortillas around, or else a few Nacho chips to make it a salad.

Lisa C. said... [Reply to comment]

Miriam -

I found your blogspot by following other people's "follows" :-) and I have to say I admire your dedication to budgeting. Just reading your post has made me want to sit down and get my check register in balance! I keep thinking "I need to get my act together and keep up on my bills and my check register" so hopefully this year (let's shoot for "this month") will be the year (month). Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more of your posts.