Friday, March 30, 2012

The B Word

You probably know by now I'm not a very good budgeter. Yesterday, I had $23 to my name. Thank goodness today was payday. I have a lot to do with not a whole lot of money, so it's time to buckle down and analyze my spending habits.

Some financial experts (I use that term loosely) recommend carrying around a small notebook and jotting down everything you spend money on for the month, but I'm not disciplined enough to do that for more than two weeks or so. The good thing is having a PNC Virtual Wallet account almost elimimates that need by offering a "Spending Zone" tracker where I can catagorize my purchases.

First, let's look at where my money should be going. I used a budget calculator which figured out the max I should be spending in each catagory:

(click to make it bigger)
The only catagories I'm "under" the limit are Housing and Transportation - sometimes Food. Yikes!

Now let's look at what I'm actually spending money on. I'm primarily basing this off February's spending because March was really a fluke with the whole bats in the attic mess, but I'm also taking into consideration the fact that our electric bill isn't $300 every month and I'm also contributing more money towards credit cards.
Here's the corresponding number breakdown:
   House: $640 ($600 for the mortgage, $40 water/sewer)
   Auto: $85 ish for gas & EZPass - I probably should raise this number to about $100 per month to factor in oil changes. Hubs pays the insurance so it's not included
   Debts: $470 for credit cards & student loans
   Utilities: $200 for phone & electric ($90 cell phones, probably an average of $100 for electric, although in the winter this number can climb a lot higher) I did not include cable b/c the hubs pays for that on his own
   Food: $500... MUCH higher than I expected
   Everything Else: $345 (mostly stuff for Molly, ATM withdrawals, & Wawa coffees)

For a total of about $2,285 or $185 over budget every month. And Savings didn't even make it onto the pie chart (good thing I opened that credit union account to have some automatically put away!) Obviously something's got to give and it's clearly food. I really need to get serious about coupons and shopping the sales.

It's kind of depressing to see yourself in the red after trying so hard to stay in the black. Hopefully I'll hit the Mega Millions tonight ($546 million dollars!) and I won't have to worry about it. But in the mean time, I'll keep working for a fatter wallet.

Day Thirty Two Spent:
$20 ATM withdrawal (work raffle, lottery tickets, coffee)
Day Thirty Two Saved: $50.00

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