Monday, February 4, 2008

Stage Orange--Working with our budget

So we know how much we spend--and we know what our goals are. Now we need to figure out a way to combine our dreams with reality. This is the first part of Stage Orange.

1) Make a general budget.
1a) Take out the list of all expenses
1b) Next to each recurring/fixed expense write down the monthly price. This is the money that you have promised to pay or owe each month (cell phone, mortgage/rent, cable--anything you get a bill for)
1c) Calculate how much you have left.
1d) This is the tough part...figure out what's the least you can reasonably spend on your variable line items. (food, gas, etc) Write that down.
1e) Write down the rest between your paying down debt or savings goals.

2) Review the budget
2a) Look at your savings and debt payments...are they high enough to reach your goals--and be honest, both in how much you can put towards it and how close it is. This needs to be accurate because we are going to remove that amount from our accounts and put it towards their goals BEFORE we pay for anything else. This is paying ourselves first.
2b) If it's not close enough, which it never is, right :), you need to look at ways to save on your variable expenses (for example, eat out less) and to lower your fixed expenses (get rid of cable). This is the step that Stage Orange revolves around.

Each month on First Friday Financial we will go over our general budget and make adjustments for the upcoming month--typically minor. This may include action plans to lower our fixed expenses or ways to save on our variable ones. We will also look at the previous month's budget and see how we got. I will also update my networthIQ graph at the time.

We gave ourselves some variable spending cash as a compromise between P and me. I'm not sure how it will work out or what we get to do if we go over/under . The decor fund should only last a few months--probably until Thanksgiving when it will turn into our Christmas budget. The "Other" line item is there to make the balance come to equal and in case we mess up by a little bit.

P gets paid twice a month. I get paid every other week. We know how much P makes after his 401(k) and our health insurance comes out. I had to guess how much I will have after taxes, but I think it's pretty close. I assumed two paychecks a month for each of us and put the post tax at the bottom. In March and October I will have an extra paycheck and we will put that towards retirement in an IRA. That's not shown in this budget. Also, in two months I'll start having 401(k) coming out. I'll take away the retirement line item at that time.

Hopefully we can stick to it!

Item Budget
Mortgage Base 2360
Mortgage Over
Assessments 144
Condo Ins 25
Gas 50
Electric 60
Car Payment 550
Car Insurance 85
Car Gas 150
Car upkeep 75
Public Trans 40
RCN 40
Cell Phone 100
Student Loans 140
Entertainment Both 250
Yacht Club (Dues, Events, and Food) 200
L’s Allowance 200
P’s Allowance 200
Day Food L 100
Day Food P 100
Gifts 75
Grooming 30
Household 50
Food 300
Gym 25
Sadie 66
Other 120
Decor Fund 1000
Travel Fund 200
Emergency Fund 1000
Retirement 200
Total 9175


Canadian Saver said...

Wow, you guys have a great income!! I'm working with about 20% that!!

It must be great to be able to fund so many fun accounts, that makes your budget seem so less restrictive!

Good luck :-)

Ryan Williams said...

Welcome to NetworthIQ and thanks for signing up. Best of luck on your plans, and blogging.

Piecake said...

I am so impressed that you can pay that much over on your mortgage. Starting next month we plan to pay $100 extra. It makes such a huge difference, but it's so hard to do!

P.S. Thanks for the comment on my blog!