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Revisiting our Spending Plan

August 25th, 2010 at 02:46 am

I call it a spending plan because we're not really ones for 'keeping to a budget' like some. I admire those who do it (including the whole thing of not buying XXXX for two days because it will put this weeks budget out, etc etc) but it really doesn't suit us. But, we do have a 'spending plan' which I try my best to keep track of. Up until recently I tracked every cent, but the past two months I have laxed. I was thinking our spending plan is probably outdated a bit, and I think a re-doing of the plan and our weekly expenses was in order. Having an up-to-date plan might spur on my interest in keeping track again. Well, fingers crossed anyway.

So, this is what I have come up with:

Mortgage Payments: $480
Extra Mortgage Payments: $20
Savings: $180
Bills: $200
Groceries: $150
Misc: $100
Fun: $80
Petrol: $70
Personal Loan: $37
Total: $1317.00

This accounts for an average income per week on the lower side with a bit of a surplus after the above expenses. More often than not, our weekly income is higher, but I'm keeping it lower so we don't get our heads stuck in the clouds.

Now, for some explanations. Looking at the expenses, I'm sure you're probably wondering 'where's this expense?' 'Where's that?' etc. I have put everything into very general categories this time. For example:

Bills include the following: Mobile Phone, Internet, House & Contents Insurance, Car Insurance, Life Insurance, Car Registration, Car Repairs, RACQ Membership, Gas, Property Rates, Water, Electricity and Pet Expenses.

Misc covers a variety of expenses that don't occur regularly, such as health & grooming, gifts, bank fees, charity donations, clothing, stationery, electronics and house purchases etc.

I have upped our grocery limit to $150, from $120. Generally it is ~$130, so any surplus we have will flow through to other areas. I just don't want to feel bad or stressed out by constantly going over the 'grocery limit' each week. While to some people's standards our grocery expenditure is outrageous, I don't really care. We cook from scratch, use wholegrain products, buy organic and locally grown produce, and use cleaning & body products that don't hurt the planet or our health and wellbeing. And we're alright with that. It's taken me a while to realise that this is something I truly don't mind spending money on. If I can find the items I normally use, cheaper, then ok. If not, oh well. Life goes on.

Personal Loan: is actually going to be paid off shortly, I just keep forgetting to transfer the remaining money. So this $37 a week expense won't be up there for much longer. We will probably add this amount to our EF savings, and have in mind that we will probably look at buying a new (to us) car in the near future.

Savings: Our total amount per week in savings is actually divided into four categories:
- EF (Goal 1: $5000, Goal 2: $7500, Goal 3: $10000)
- Baby (Goal: $30 000)
- House Renovations
- Short-term
The total amount saved per week goes into ONE account, which I keep track of on a spreadsheet. (It is actually our mortgage account, to reduce interest. No, we don't get charged for withdrawals or deposits).

Most of the savings are self explanatory, except Short-term. Basically Short-term covers all sorts of higher priced entertainment and consumer-ey expenses like seeing a band, gallery exhibitions, ink, higher-priced book purchases, art purchases, electronics, screenprinting supplies, furniture etc.

Fun has been reduced by $60 (Used to be $60 for me, $80 for DF.) Now that we are earning roughly the same amount, I figured now was the best time to reduce it to LESS than 10% of our take home and equal it out. DF's weekly spending has reduced anyway, since he is home-brewing. Basically our fun money covers any frivolous purchases we don't feel like explaining Big Grin or the odd take-out or movie night.

Petrol is generally less than $70 a week, but better to plan for more than less right?

Mortgage Payments & Extra Payments: Technically, our normal mortgage payment pays off extra AS WELL. But I figured it is better to schedule an extra $20 to go in as well. Can't hurt.

The one thing I have not put in there is university costs, because I have no idea what they are. But, our EF should take care of this if our 'Misc' doesn't as I don't think it will really be all that much to get started.

So, that's it. Feeling very motivated with our new spending plan and can't wait to talk it over with DF and get it into action. What does everyone think?

6 Responses to “Revisiting our Spending Plan”

  1. campfrugal Says:

    I do the same, but work my "spending plan" (which is also what I call mine), on a monthly budget. I am always tweaking it.

    Also, I agree with the groceries. We are the same here. I cook from scratch, eat locally grown organic produce, organic from the stores, and buy eggs from a local farmer, which is more costly, and whatever else I can to make sure my family is not putting chemicals in and on their body. I have been trying to forage for more veggies and fruits that are a good deal, then freeze or can the extra to try to get ahead. My goal is to keep eating healthly foods without any antibiotics, pesticides and such, while reducing the amount of money I spend for those items.

    Lately, I also started an envelope system. One envelope with my big ticket items wrote on them, the amount of each individual item and then I divide that by how many weeks are left before that bill is due or when the event comes around (i.e. property taxes are due September 15 of $875.00 divided by the weeks left tells me how much to put in that envelope for that bill; or Christmas - $1500 divided by 15 weeks, gives me $100 a week to spend on Christmas or put in the envelope until I use it). Once I am done with that bill or event, I look on the calendar to the next big ticket item. This is something I just started the beginning of this month and it seems to be working for me. I will stick with it for a while until I pay off a couple more credit cards and build my EF back up.

    I am going to try to get back on track in January by having what I need deducted directly from my checking and put in to my regular savings account for those items. This is what I used to do, but had to stop when my salary was cut in half.

    Anyways, I like your plan.

  2. momcents Says:

    Having spent lots of time on my own plan lately, I like yours and think that it looks good (very similar to mine, might I add) with the grouping of bills and other categories.

    Finally for the first time, I think that my spending plan is realistic - taking care of some of the things that I'd like too (double the dreaded credit card payment) plus having "x" funds every two weeks for the extraneous items.

    Good going!

  3. whitestripe Says:

    thanks guys Smile

  4. Jerry Says:

    I like it a lot. In Oz, if you get all of your insurance policies through one company does it lead to a break in the prices? We did that with our car insurance and our homeowner's insurance, and the company saved us a bundle.

  5. whitestripe Says:

    jerry we have all of our insurance with our mortgage provider and because we have a mortgage bank package, we get a lot of benefits, one being 15% off insurance products. Smile

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