Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Let’s start with the basics, the nasty B word Budgeting. Even if you just tally your expenses for a month you might be shocked to find out how much extra your spending on non-essentials. Of course it’s important to keep a log of every penny spent regardless of how trivial you think it is, for example that 50 cent Nevada ticket. As stated before even if you just tally one month of expenses you’ll become more conscious of what you’re spending in the future. In my family we found the excess to be your typical dining out, coffee, gambling (bingo as well as lottery tickets) and my personal favorite beer. To the tune of approx. $1200 a month! Not small change by any means especially when you’re trying to support a family of 5 on only one consistent income.

Now I’m not going to try and say, you can go without everything that you enjoy let’s be serious here. It’s just changes that need to be made in order to try to get back on track. Coffee hasn’t changed it did for awhile till my son broke my coffee pot, which I can’t find a replacement for, so back to Timmy’s in the morning. My wife’s bingo habit has went from twice a week to twice a month, brown bagging it to work and dinner prepared at home except on pay day which we treat ourselves, lottery played in a group pool at work has taken it from $15 a week on average to $5 every two weeks and finally beer I try to constrict myself to a case a week. In total our average now is around $500 a month. A savings of $700 a month or equal to our mortgage a month.

We’ve used several programs over the years as we flip back on and off the budget train everything from pen and paper, my own excel worksheet. A great free budget program available on the net Pear Budget which works in excel and of course Microsoft Money which probably offers the greatest flexibility the only thing I don’t care for, is it seems very time consuming since my bank isn’t available on the list I constantly have to go through and reconcile all bank statements. Another program available that I haven’t had the opportunity to use although have heard many great things about the program is Quicken. Again very basic information things we have heard many times over but it is the starting point as the old adage goes a penny saved is a penny earned.

No comments: