Saturday, August 2, 2008

Money Tracking for July

I was really, really bad about money tracking last month. I try to write down and categorize every expenditure, but last month it just went awry. The beauty of my monthly budget system, however, is that each month I can start out fresh. I am determined to do far better in August in keeping track of numbers! Here are some things I do know:

I was under by both gas and electric this month, but only because I am counting those bills in the month I pay them - not in the month they occur. It works out far easier to do it that way for reconciliation at the end of the month. This month all I had to pay for was utilities used in the apartment. Now that I am in the house, that will jump up dramatically.

I actually was way under my gas budget for the month. Probably because I was so busy in town I spent very little time up north. Also, I can't help but wonder if my new route home is making a difference in my mileage. In any case my budget was $150.00 (which I went through last month) and this month I spent $82.26.

I was over my grocery budget by about $50. Some of that is because I am slowly restocking my pantry. I love to cook, but in the apartment I had very little room to store staples. Now that I have more space I am filling out my pantries. In addition, I bought goodies for the garage sale - not much of which got eaten (so I am using it up myself) but it did add to the bottom line.

Once again, I came way under in this category. I am hesitant to change it because I know come fall I will be seeing a lot of shows and so forth.

Miscellaneous is just that - all the weird things that don't fit into any category. I was WAY over in this area. I budget for $50.00 - I spent $326.84. Ouch. But that included the new lawnmower, the parts for toilet and freezer, big spray and bug bombs for my shed which has been infested, my ironing board, some home gardening and home repair tools, a couple of small gifts... and so on. It is obvious to me that I am going to need a new line item for home repairs. The question is, how to fund it?

This month I had several small windfalls - the garage sale, the eBay sale of my mother's footstool and my security deposit from my apartment. I also got another $72 in a refund check from my home insurance because I am no longer paying extra to insure my exes computer and camera gear. Despite all the money I spent, I still came in way over budget. I want to keep most of that in my checking account as "rainy day" insurance, but I am using $100 of the garage sale money and putting it towards my credit card and another $50 and starting a Home Improvement account.

In the future I will fund my new Home Improvement account by with money from my end of the month reconciliations. In June I would have added $23.52. This month, because I went over, I wouldn't add anything. Of course, this is only assuming that all other goals are met for the month.

Of course, the downside of starting fresh for August means that my $900 meter gets reset. As of today, I don't have any extra income or job opportunities planned, so that means I need to hustle!

Photo by _ES

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