How I do Our Budget Each Week…

Posted: April 30, 2013 in Budgets
Tags: , , , , , ,

This question was posed to me last Friday after I posted our budget for the week and I wanted to lay  it all out simply – first though we need to back track on how I come up with some of our numbers:

Simple – I tracked our spending over the course of a year, yes a YEAR everyone! I notated where each dime went and quarterly I took those numbers and averaged them out to come up with what would be allocated for each item weekly – namely the grocery and gas budget figures.  These two items in actual amounts fluctuate each week based on how much we need and the meals we choose – but for the most part we come in somewhere around the $170.00 figure I set aside each week.  This number has grown from the $100 we used to spend each week roughly 12 years ago, increasing to $125/week for awhile, then up to $130 for another few years, growing eventually to upwards of $150 then landing at the $170 figure i use now.  This might change again in a years time if I find we’re spending more than our budget each week.

For gas though, as we all know the cost of gas can swing greatly day to day, nevermind week to week, thus the reason we came up with the averaging across numbers.  I maintain the total size of my tank and figure roughly how much it’s going to cost to fill it – right now I have a  13-Gallon tank in our Focus and gas prices have been floating around $3.50 – $3.79/gallon recently, so therefore it’s best to budget up to $40.00 for a full tank fill.  If I come in under budget WOOHOO!! Rarely do we go over budget as I won’t allow the tank to get less than 1/4 full before racing to the gas station!

Ok that done now, I then developed a spreadsheet, as you’ve seen posted. First things first is to pull in our incoming salaries – this I pull obviously directly from our checks as they are direct-deposit each Friday:

 $572.95 Lara W/E 04/07/13 Salary
 $324.48 Jimmy W/E 04/07/13 Salary
 $897.43

The $897.43 is the sum total of both checks

I then figure out how much we spent on non budgeted items the week before – these are spur of the moment Debit card transactions from our bank account that weren’t accounted for in the budget:

 $13.33 Target
 $8.53 Wal-Mart
 $1.29 Amazon.com
 $10.20 Office Max
 $7.24 Tommy’s
 $8.12 Target
 $5.14 KTC Total
 $1.07 McDonalds
 $54.92

The $54.92 is the total amount spent from our checking account for the week – last week I put $10.00 back into our account from the KTC (Keep the Change) account because we were on the edge of Overdraft.

Next – I take what was left over from the week prior’s budget figures and deduct the amount spent, in this case it’s $44.92 and come up with what’s left in our checking/budget before we’re paid:

 $61.08 Remaining from W/E 04/21/13
 $44.62 Amt. Spent
 $16.46 Avail. Starting

In this case there was a discrepancy between the budget left over $44.92 and what was actually in checking remaining, $44.62 so I accounted for that $0.30 in our check register, leaving just $16.46 before we were paid on Friday.

Next, I take the left over dollar figure amount and add it into our paycheck total:

 $16.46 Avail. Starting
 $897.43 Total Pay
 $913.89 Avail. For Bills

And that is how I come up with what we start with each week to do the budget, this is obviously double-checked against the bank account – as this means ZIP if it doesn’t first match the checking account.

The means of actually doing the budget is taking what you have to start, $913.89 and line by line subtracting the bills, grocery money, gas money, and other budget items to come up with the final left over amount each week.  Bi-Weekly for us that dollar amount is very small, but on the bi-weeks like we’re in right now it’s several hundred dollars that is rolled over into the bill pay week to pay our bills.

Before actually starting my weekly budget though, I sit down and manually balance our checkbook – yes it’s a paper/pen process as I’ve used Quicken in the past and it gets all jumbled and is generally incorrect – this way I can micro-manage the bank account.

Now tracking our bills is another post for tomorrow! But a preview here is that I use a paper and pen calendar 😉

For other budget tips, please also visit the Simply Money Blog – I have found some of their tips useful as well!

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