February budget recap

Thursday, March 19th, 2009
I'm a bit late on updating on the money front, but better late than never. The February budget went great. I also like to use the term "spending plan" as it doesn't sound as daunting or punative. We are telling our money what to do instead of wondering where it went! To recap:
  • $755 extra income through contract work and Craigslist sales
  • Emergency fund is up to $18,800. March goal: $20,000 total
  • Paid 3 mos. worth of car payments in one month
  • Shopped for car insurance. New payment $82.53 instead of $203.66/mo. AND we get better coverage.
  • Transferred home owners insurance. Similar payment but get extra $18,000 home business equipment coverage!
  • Spent $445 less than budgeted. Added extra $$ to emergency fund and car payoff to get close to 0 by month's end.
I've been modifying my tracking spreadsheet month by month for refinement. I know we will never have a perfect budget, but with weekly maintenance and tracking, we get pretty close. If you'd like to see my sample spreadsheet, download it now. This spreadsheet has both a running total budget and a weekly allocated spending plan in one. You will need some Excel skills if you'd like to add new rows and keep the auto-calculations running, but its a really simplistic template overall. Advice is per Dave Ramsey which has you prepare the budget before the month begins and spend every dollar on paper until you reach 0. I use this in tandem with MS Money, which I can download my bank statements to. MS Money tracks spending categories for me to fill into the spreadsheet each week.