As much as I plan our finances and strategize about how and where we spend our money, I have never really sat down and written out a monthly budget. I follow several debt-free blogs and I am constantly reading articles on the subject. The first thing on everyone's to-do list is the budget. Savers everywhere herald the virtues of the budget. The first thing you must do if you are ever going to have a successful financial future- budget. But honestly, I've been a little scared to put our spending and saving habits under the microscope. What if I'm not doing as well as I think? What if there really isn't enough to go around, we just happen to get lucky each month?
Well today, out of pure boredom, I finally sucked it up and broke out the calculator. Cody and I had discussed a couple of days ago the desire to reach a specific savings goal by the end of the year, so I thought I would crunch some numbers to see if attaining that amount would be possible. I am so glad I took the time to do this! Not only did I realize we have a lot more uncategorized money each month than I thought we did, I also found that we might even be able to exceed that goal by December!
We already have a pretty specific schedule of weekly payments so I first included these for each week remaining in 2011. I also calculated in extra money for a possible trip to the beach with my parents in September, the payoff of the loan we still have from my motor replacement, the purchase of a new set of tires for Cody's truck, a Christmas fund (I learned the hard way last year that buying Christmas presents for two branches of family takes some advanced planning), and a significant increase to our "Whatever Club" savings account.
I scribbled all these calculations down on a notepad while at work. First thing in the morning, I'm going to type up our new budget and post it somewhere Cody and I can see it every day. I want to strive to see how closely we can follow it for the next five months. If we stick to it, the results are going to be great! I should have tried out this newfangled budget idea years ago!