I literally just this moment decided to post a February spend report. Why? Why not!
I love the first of the month because it’s the day I get to pat myself on the back for last month’s spending and create a new budget for this month. I use Mint.com (FREE!), which won’t let me pre-populate budgets. It’s ok; patience is a virtue. A lot of people use Personal Capital (also FREE!) and like it better because it handles investment portfolios better than Mint. Not a huge concern for me right now. I’ve been using Mint.com for at least 6 years, so the thought of moving to another system freaks me out.
I have to admit that I tweak my budget every week. (HA! Blatant lie there…I do it every. single. day. Is that legal? No idea. It’s how I roll. I’m a nerd.) A case when I tweak my numbers: I initially budget about $100 – $150 for gas every month, depending on the price of gas and which car I’m driving every day. This month I only used $67 for gas (hallelujah!), so I took the extra and applied it to another category in which I was over budget, such as Shopping.
Often there is an unexpected item that I didn’t budget for at all, such as auto plates (because I didn’t realize that I had an illegal plate on my car – for THREE MONTHS! – and needed a new one). When that happens, I take money I had budgeted from Groceries to create a budget item for Plates. My Groceries category possibly should be renamed “Slush Fund.” I don’t micromanage my spending, so toilet paper, dog food, hair color and basically anything I can buy at Wal-Mart goes here. The same applies for Restaurants and any unplanned shopping (both items that I always intend not to spend on every month but usually do). I also have a stash of savings from my part-time job to pay for these types of extra expenses.
Looking at my budget, you can see that there’s probably a lot missing, especially in the sinking fund area. I have no car payments, but I should be contributing to my sinking fund for repairs or a new car. This is definitely going to bite me in the ass. But I’m pretty intent on feeding everything I can into paying off my parent PLUS loans right now.
Here’s a reminder that your Credit Sesame score is updated on the first of the month! I was up 4 more points today! Don’t have an account yet? Sign Up At Credit Sesame For Your Free Customized Financial Profile.