April Budget Update!
|May 2, 2012||Posted by under Finance & Budgets|
I finally looked over my expenses for April. If you remember, I started tracking ALL my expenses as of April 1st. I did it with Open Office (Spread Sheet) last month. This month, I am using an App called BACK IN BLACK for my IPhone which is amazing and so easy to use! Only $2.99 to buy it.
Essentially what I am looking for from this budget tracking, are some purchase patterns and ways to cut down on them.
As you know, I spend a lot of time writing in cafes during the day. I knew this was a rather large monthly expense for me. Surprisingly, I spent less than I thought I had. However, I still decided to cut my April total by $40. I was in the habit of drinking espressos, as I prefer them over brewed coffee. But I will have to make due with brewed for now. I will be purchasing coffee cards at the two places I frequent the most, and then have another $10 set aside for other places. I will be purchasing the cards tomorrow and use them till they are empty. If I run out of cash before the end of the month, I will stop going to cafes! This will be a great exercise in discipline.
Another big expense that I’ve noticed, was the amount we spent on restaurants and eating out. My partner and I eat out once a week so we can reconnect and talk. This is important to us and I don’t want to cut down on that part. But for the rest of the week we/I will need to make some changes. The money we spent on restaurants was way over what I think is reasonable. That being said, I know we both had a rough month and we’ve been going out more to decompress. But this month will be better!
This category is for anything we purchase, whether it be for the home or personal use. Surprisingly, I did very well but I know this is due to the fact that I had to write everything down last month. I was afraid to buy things sometimes because I knew I had to write it down and it wouldn’t look good on paper…just saying! So this budget tracking exercise actually made me NOT purchase things this month. The only thing I will do, is limit my spending at thrift stores. I go there almost weekly to pick up pieces for myself and the consignment shop.
Good quality food is very important to me. I know I can spend half of what I do now if I purchase different kinds of foods. But I won’t do it. I used to do that and it’s ok to do when things are really tough financially but we can afford to buy better now. We only purchase local or organic produce and most of the foods we buy are organic as well. Obviously, this does cost more but we’ve noticed that we feel even better than we did before when we upped the quality of our food. We also buy less and waste less. I decided to set a budget for groceries but not cut it by much. Although I know it’s not particularly low, I know it’s worth the money. Good food = Good health!
We spent $188 on gas last month. Usually our gas budget is $100/month but obviously with gas prices on the rise, it’s tough to control. When the prices went up, we actually changed our routine. On weekends, we run errands on one day only and generally stay close to home the other day. We have one car (thankfully!) which my partner uses to go to work (less than 10Km away) and I walk and use public transportation to get around. Not much we can do to reduce gas costs though our country-thrift-store road trips (60km away) might have to be less frequent! We used to go every 2 weeks but now, just once a month.
SET MONTHLY BILLS BUDGET
I was very surprised with the other information I saw. Our monthly bills are very low, which is nice. We have a lot of energy efficient appliances, electronics and lights as well as excellent water savers for our showers. There isn’t much we can do to lower our bills as they are very low already. I believe we’ve done the best we can with this. I don’t think I can beat $60/month for our power bill for a 2400Square foot house! Not bad right? And we don’t have cable. The ONLY set monthly expenses we have are as follows: Mortgage, Insurance, Power, Water, Phone/Internet.
Thankfully after doing all these calculations, I discovered that we do not live beyond our means, but I already knew that. Phew! But we can definitely do better and have more money in our pockets starting this month.
This was an eye opening exercise and I will keep doing it for a few months.
DO YOU HAVE A BUDGET? IF SO, WHICH APP OR PROGRAM DO YOU USE?