Monday, March 19, 2012

Budgeting - Part 1

I’ve spent the last week on this post, and after a week I decided to break this up into a few posts over the next week.
Today is part 1 – part 2 and possibly part 3 will be posted each Monday till I think I'm done.

Last Sunday was such a great day! We went for a 12.5km bike ride in the afternoon. Gray got a new bike helmet and got to test out our new running stroller/bike trailer as a bike trailer for the first time. He loved it! He didn’t love his helmet but he loved the ride and tolerated the helmet long enough to get through the ride.

What happened to my wonderful washer?
We got home and went to tackle the large pile of laundry in our bedroom. I started a load in the washer – and then the day went a little downhill. During the rinse/spin cycle the washer started making a horrible noise. HORRIBLE clunky very bad noise to be coming from a washing machine. And then it got worse. Brian being the awesome handy man he can be started taking the machine apart and google-ing and watching YouTube videos and he found the problem. A piece of the very bottom of the machine had disintegrated and needed to be replaced.

That google-ing and YouTube-ing took about 3 hours though; and let me tell you during every minute of  those 3 hours my mind was going – I can’t afford to buy a new washer, I cannot afford a new washer, I do not want to afford a new washer.

And then I got a reality check.

Brian working away fixing the washer
We have a budget – and the whole point of the budget is to help us with things that just pop up. Now realistically we just put $4000.00 into our SUV to repair the transmission – but in the long run the SUV has still been less expensive than buying a brand new SUV 2 years ago, or buying a new car now. But we’ve already taken that into account and decided that a second vehicle is more important than a vacation this year (more on that later).
I’ve seen a few posts, like this one, lately about budgeting and how some fellow bloggers feel like they could do a better job at it. So I thought I would share a bit about how we budget. Disclaimer right here! We are not experts on budgeting! But I feel like we have been able to find a balance that works for us.

First off – I think sometimes budgeting gets a bad rap! That if you have a budget you don’t get any money to spend on what you want, that you’re locked into arbitrary numbers and it sucks the fun out of life. Umm, not going to say it’s the most fun I’ve ever had but I also know where we stand any day of the month and I see us accomplishing financial goals that we weren’t before we got serious.

Second – I feel great knowing that if I decide to run out at lunch and see something I love for Gray that I’m okay and within the budget – and know that I don’t have to try and explain to Brian, or justify spending 10 or 20$ on Gray.

So how do you start? It’s really easy – decide that you want to! It’s just that easy.

Brian created a really good excel spreadsheet for us, and I just keep updating it.

Okay really – to start you have to know what money you have coming in, and what money is going out.
So what’s your income? For budget purposes use NET of taxes.
What’s your rent or mortgage payment? Hydro, water, gas, cable, internet, taxes.
Who do you owe money? Do you have a balance on your credit card? Do you have a loan for your car?
And then find out where you are spending your money.
Go through your bank records and credit card records and see where the money is going. How much are you spending on groceries? On eating out? On clothes? At the salon? Make a list of where your money is going on a regular basis and the average you’re spending in a month.

Then figure out if what you’re spending in a month is more then you’re making in a month – if it is – FIRST problem. Living outside our means is one of the biggest issues facing our generation these days.

Check back next Monday for what to do next.

Thanks to Beth from Through the Eyes of the Mrs for letting me link to her post. Blessings Girl!

did you find this helpful? Let me know I would love to anwser questions if you have any.

oh - and the washer is working great and cost us under $100.00 to fix - and that included the tools we needed to use - which we'll have for the next 20 years :)
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  1. I've been wanting to get a budget in place. I'm currently unemployed, but want to have a good grasp on how to create a budget (and stick with it) once I have a steady income again. Thanks for the tips!

  2. This is a really good/helpful post. I've been meaning to create a budgeting spreadsheet for awhile now but haven't ever gotten around to it. I think I'm making it my new goal for the week! :) I look forward to reading the rest of your posts on this topic.

  3. That looks like a great spreadsheet! my husband did the same and it helps so much !