January: Last Post

Being the last day of the month I can safely say I know how I did this month. This month was worse than the last with no savings at all. We went through a lot this month and I am encouraged to start saving again after finishing our tax return. The tax return will boost our savings account and we are SO close to being able to buy the bigger vehicle that we need. My goal is to save $1,000 for the next couple months and purchase a vehicle in May before our family vacation. This could possibly change once I start visiting the dealerships and cannot get the vehicle I want at the price I want. . But given I have trade in and I am willing to take a small loan out ($3000 max) that should cover an difference. I typically would not want a loan and just buy the vehicle completely but I need to start repairing my credit from 6 years ago when everything had gone into collections. It’s devastating to go through such a financial bind.

With the breakdown chart in the tracking expense spreadsheet I was able to determine I spend the majority of my money on 1) Rent 2) Recreation 3) Going out – now I categorized Recreation as anything that was not a necessity and I wanted to seperate when I went out from that because I knew this month I went a little crazy. Woo eee! I spent more money on frivilaious things than on rent!

Chart Breakdown

  Sum of Cost
Rent 550
Recreation 467.7
Going Out 237.32
Daycare 200
Gas 148.11
Healthcare 127
Toiletries 122.31
Food 109.1
Utilities 104
Insurance 94.78
Phone 40
Grand Total 2200.32

Expenses Sheet

JANUARY
           
Monthly Income $2,500.00 Savings Goal $1,000.00 Monthly Budget $1,500.00
           
Cost Item Item 2 Item 3 Date Category
$40.00 Game for Tony’s Birthday @ Amazon (1/1) Recreation
$39.31 Food @ Copps     (1/1) Food
$23.30 Socks @ Kohls     (1/1) Recreation
$30.36 Shoes & Socks @ Walmart   (1/1) Recreation
$13.17 Food @ McDonalds   (1/1) Going Out
$120.00 Hair Foil & Cut @ Hair by Jill   (1/4) Recreation
$27.00 Badgercare Monthly Bill   (1/4) Healthcare
$39.95 Tanning Lotions @ Amazon   (1/6) Toiletries
$32.03 Pampers DS #3     (1/6) Toiletries
$26.59 Luvs DS#2     (1/6) Toiletries
$42.00 2 16×20 Canvases @ artcow.com   (1/6) Recreation
$130.00 Nolan’s birthday party @ Bowling Alley (1/7) Going Out
$121.33 Packers Jersey for Dad’s birthday    (1/6) Recreation
$12.66 Birthday Party stuff @ Dollar Store (1/6) Recreation
$4.20 Soccer Cleats @ Dicks   (1/6) Recreation
$30.00 4 Bras @ Maidenform.com   (1/10) Recreation
$50.00 Gas     (1/11) Gas
$200.00 Daycare     (1/11) Daycare
$35.00 Water Bill     (1/11) Utilities
$69.00 Electric & Gas Bill   (1/11) Utilities
$94.78 Auto & Home Insurance   (1/11) Insurance
$16.97 Food @ Copps     (1/11) Food
$2.39 Food @ Copps     (1/11) Food
$23.74 Training Pants @ Walmart   (1/11) Toiletries
$50.00 Gas @ Speedway   (1/12) Gas
$18.31 Wine @ Walgreens   (1/12) Recreation
$10.54 Book for Book Club @ iTunes   (1/12) Recreation
$79.00 Amazon Prine     (1/12)  
$30.75 Drinks @ Drafthouse   (1/14) Going Out
-$20.00 Money from Anna for drinks @ Drafthouse (1/14) Going Out
$10.21 Drinks @ Olive Garden   (1/14) Going Out
$39.00 Drinks @ City Bar   (1/14) Going Out
$15.39 Food @ Copps     (1/15) Food
$48.11 Gas @ BP     (1/18) Gas
$7.43 Food @ Copps     (1/18) Food
-$20.00 Money from Marcus for Moms gift (1/15) Recreation
$85.00 Prepared tax return @ Beckett   (1/25)  
$26.22 Food @ Copps     (1/28) Food
$1.39 Food @ Copps     (1/27) Food
$10.69 Food @ Taco Johns   (1/27) Going Out
$10.55 Food @ Subway     (1/28) Going Out
$9.55 Coffee @ Starbucks   (1/28) Going Out
$3.40 Parking for Childrens Museum   (1/28) Going Out
$550.00 Rent     (1/28) Rent
$35.00 Gym Membership   (1/30) Recreation
$40.00 Cell phone w/ Virgin Mobile     Phone
$100.00 Deancare Bill     (1/31) Healthcare
           
           
$2,364.32 Spent of budget $1,500.00      
           
$135.68 Total Savings for  JANUARY      
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Track Expenses to Budget Savings

Tracking Expenses Shared

I’m so excited to share with you the excel worksheet I am currently using to track all my expenses. I can categorize each expense so at the end of the month I can see where the majority of my money was spent. The excel worksheet also allows you to see where you are in your monthly budget (if you are spending too much and saving more than expected).

You will need Microsoft Excel 2007+ (or anything newer) and you will need to allow/enable macros. If you do not allow/enable macros the convenience buttons I have made will not work but you will still be able to use the worksheet.

When you first open the document if it is not January I would recommend changing the month on top. Then type in your monthly income (after taxes and deductions) in cell B3 or where I have “$2,500” typed. Next type in cell D3/ “$1,000” what you goal is for saving each money. The monthly budget will automatically calculate by subtracting what you would like to save from your actual income. This will be your goal- try to spend as close to this number as possible. And finally on the second page under “Estimated Monthly Expenses” type in each bill/expense you have every month and the estimated amount. As you enter in these bills over in the actual costs area you can delete it (by using the delete key on your keyboard). After putting in the starting information needed save the document on to your computer.

I would try to access this spreadsheet on a daily basis if you want to keep up with it. A lot of smartphones will allow you to use excel, which would be extremely handy for us who are on the go.

After a full month is done and you have entered in all the costs for that month. Click on the worksheet “breakdown & chart”. Next, click on the arrow “Update Table & Chart”. This is a pivot table, so when you click on update it will pull all the information automatically. Voila! A table and chart to breakdown where your money went.

To start the next month click back on the worksheet “January”, click on the blue button “clear actual costs” and change the month name and re-enter all expenses for the next month. Save!

I love Excel… maybe a little too much, so if you have any issues or questions I would be happy to help! Either contact me or leave a comment (this will help if anyone has similar questions they can see the answer below too).

January: Post 1

Welcome January! I was so excited to start fresh and then I realized what a crazy month this will be. I have 3 major birthdays in my family (DS #2, DH, and my dad). I’m low on energy so I will be taking the easy way out, by spending more to make less hassel for me. I am sorry to say this will not really be a big savings month- my goal has been lowered to saving $300 this month and next month $1,300= an average of $800/mo. Next month is an “Extra check” month so I know I can save that much. This month unfortunately is not and I had a lot of major expenses. Granted it’s not a necessity, I needed the pick me up to start the year off right, with a nice hair foil and cut- which came to a gross $120. My sons birthday party will be about $200 (not at home, so no worrying about cleaning, baking, or messes). DH birthday is the next weekend and he wants to go out. That will probably be another $100 and then the day after is my dad’s birthday. *big deep breath*. Sometimes you have to understand things come up and you simply cannot always save as much as you’d like, but I think the point is to keep trying and stray away from those impulsive buys as much as possible.

JANUARY
           
Monthly Income $2,500.00 Savings Goal $1,000.00 Monthly Budget $1,500.00
           
Cost Item     Date Category
$40.00 Game for Tony’s Birthday @ Amazon (1/1) Recreation
$39.31 Food @ Copps (1/1) Food
$23.30 Socks @ Kohls (1/1)  
$30.36 Shoes & Socks @ Walmart (1/1)  
$13.17 Food @ McDonalds (1/1) Recreation
$120.00 Hair Foil & Cut @ Hair by Jill (1/4) Recreation
$27.00 Badgercare Monthly Bill (1/4) Healthcare
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
$293.14 Spent of budget $1,500.00      

 

December: Post 3

This will most likely be my last post for finances in the month of December. I wish I had posted more, in fact it probably would have helped keep me in check with how much I was spending. I’m sure life was crazy busy for you around Christmas just like it is around our house. We made Christmas cookies twice! and both times it was an entire day event. *Sighs*. I will be so glad when we get to start the next year.

Monthly income $2,500, Budget $1,500  
Cost Item Date Category
$31.00 Gas (12/1) Gas
$12.26 Wings @ B3W (12/1) Recreation
$5.80 Sandwich @ Subway (12/2) Recreation
$7.92 Newspaper, Creamer, Yogurt (12/4)  
$15.92 Food @ Culvers (12/3) Recreation
$2.11 Yogurt & Salad @ McDonalds (12/5) Recreation
$5.80 Sandwich @ Subway (12/6) Recreation
$1.04 Game @ iTunes (12/6) Recreation
$40.15 Gas @ Kwik Trip (12/7) Gas
$22.60 Groceries @ Copps (12/7) Food
$16.09 Pullups for #1 @ Amazon (12/8) Toiletries
$92.72 Car & Renters Insurance @ Am Fam (12/8) Insurance
$0.58 Mac&Cheese @ Walgreens (12/8) Food
$22.11 Dinner for 4 @ Pedros (12/8) Recreation
$1.57 Mini Marshmellos @ Copps (12/9) Food
$31.64 Birthday Present @ Klein’s Floral (12/9)  
$27.00 Badgercare Insurance  (12/9) Healthcare
$2.86 Newspaper & Bananas (12/11)  
$35.00 Electric/gas bill (12/12) Utilities
$23.67 Hats & Mittens x 3 @ Children’s Place (12/12)  
$37.31 Cell phone @ Virgin Mobile (12/13) Phone
$47.36 Gas @ Kwik Trip (12/14) Gas
$12.63 Clothes @ Goodwill (12/14)  
$6.33 Sandwich @ Subway (12/14) Recreation
$27.04 Food @ Walmart for Chicken Noodle Soup (12/15) Food
$100.00 Dean Care (12/19) Healthcare
$40.00 Dental Care (12/19) Healthcare
$200.00 Daycare (12/19) Daycare
$48.21 Gas @ Kwik Trip (12/23) Gas
$61.09 Food for Christmas eve @ Walmart (12/24) Food
$9.26 Pasta @ Fazoli’s with DS #1 (12/24) Recreation
$8.96 Coolant for car @ Gas Station (12/25)  
$1.14 Creamer @ PicknSave (12/27) Food
$9.27 Food @ Copps (12/28) Food
$9.96 Food @ Copps (12/28) Food
$550.00 Rent  (12/29) Rent
$35.00 Gym Membership (12/30) Gym
       
-$101.40 Left from $1,500 budget    
       
-$79.60 Deduct for overspending Christmas budget    
       
$819.00 Total Savings for December    

December: Post 2

What can I say, I’ve been a total slacker! December is just flying by and I have been so crazy busy! I wish I could say things will get better after the holidays but there are 3 birthdays coming up in January and 3 more in February! Oh boy does my family love being born around the same time. I get a good break of birthdays after February but it really drains me financially.

Speaking of finances, how am I doing with my budget this month you ask? Horrible, horrible, horrible!

For the good: I found a much better quote for car insurance and renters insurance with American Family (about 1/2 of what the other compnay quoted me). I scored some great steals for hats & mittens at the Childrens Place and stocked up on around $3.75 ea since I know we will lose a few pairs. I spent $2.00 out of pocket with a $3.00 register rewards (good for next purchase) at Walgreens for a total makeup steal (neutrogena mascara, revlon eyeshadow, and revlon nail polish). I found hidden the lego box I was looking to get for son #1- 1600 pieces for $30! I thought I was going to have to spend double that to get 2 sets that would equal to 1000 pieces.

Now for the bad: Subway…. I’ve gone out to eat to subway 3 times this month! I didn’t budget in a birthday present (mostly because I forgot about it until that day). I bought a christmas outfit for the upcoming work party (granted it was at Goodwill).

Monthly income $2,500, Budget $1,500  
Cost Item Date Category
$31.00 Gas (12/1) Gas
$12.26 Wings @ B3W (12/1) Recreation
$5.80 Sandwich @ Subway (12/2) Recreation
$7.92 Newspaper, Creamer, Yogurt (12/4)  
$15.92 Food @ Culvers (12/3) Recreation
$2.11 Yogurt & Salad @ McDonalds (12/5) Recreation
$5.80 Sandwich @ Subway (12/6) Recreation
$1.04 Game @ iTunes (12/6) Recreation
$40.15 Gas @ Kwik Trip (12/7) Gas
$22.60 Groceries @ Copps (12/7) Food
$16.09 Pullups for #1 @ Amazon (12/8) Toiletries
$92.72 Car & Renters Insurance @ Am Fam (12/8) Insurance
$0.58 Mac&Cheese @ Walgreens (12/8) Food
$22.11 Dinner for 4 @ Pedros (12/8) Recreation
$1.57 Mini Marshmellos @ Copps (12/9) Food
$31.64 Birthday Present @ Klein’s Floral (12/9)  
$27.00 Badgercare Insurance  (12/9) Healthcare
$2.86 Newspaper & Bananas (12/11)  
$35.00 Electric/gas bill (12/12) Utilities
$23.67 Hats & Mittens x 3 @ Children’s Place (12/12)  
$37.31 Cell phone @ Virgin Mobile (12/13) Phone
$47.36 Gas @ Kwik Trip (12/14) Gas
$12.63 Clothes @ Goodwill (12/14)  
$6.33 Sandwich @ Subway (12/14) Recreation
$27.04 Food @ Walmart for Chicken Noodle Soup (12/15) Food
       
$971.49 Left from $1,500 budget    

December: Post 1

Image Detail

I know this is kind of late for me to be posting my first post in December but after having to tally everything up from last month and categorize it so I know where my money is going I just started to run out of time.

I’m in a pickle, I’m starting to get back into the habit of going out to eat again. It’s a week into and I’ve gone out technically 5 times (it is the 8th today) and I have plans to go out today and Friday. Not good! Why don’t I just stop then, you ask? I feel bad for cancelling plans of going out with my friends… it’s nice to have a break in the week and it seems we need and “excuse” or “reason” why to meet up… like having margaritas and chimichangas. And what is with the alure of fast food? Is there something in the food Image Detailthat is addictive or are we addicted to fast and easy. I keep forgetting my lunch… because I’m getting up way to late in the morning so we are super rushed. And then I’m at work…. thinking well I’m hungry and it is definitely not good to starve myself. I now wish I had remembered about the turkey and gravy I left in the fridge at work… or the backup can of soup I have hidden in my drawer. I seem to have amnesia… all other food sources seem to vanish from my memory and all I can think about is a chicken chipotle flatbread sandwich from subway… even now at 8 am just thinking about it is making my mouth salvate. I never cared for Subway until I tried one of those… and so my addiction draws me in.

I will have very little money for any extras outside of the bills… and Amazon just notified me that my free prime membership is expiring this month. That means no more free shipping for my diapers… The membership is about $80 for a year or break it down to an estimate cost of 7 a month. If you add $7 to the normal cost for diapers do they still come out cheaper vs using coupons and going to the store?

So my diaper expenses are going up… and now my insurance expenses. I am required to get my own car insurance and decided to add on renters insurance. The car insurance has gone up to $140/mo + $30/mo for renters insurance. That is twice as much! Time to start getting other quotes.

I wanted to share with you my experience at the grocery store yesterday- although I did not spend less than $20 I ended up getting a bunch of things for free. I received 6 cans of progresso soup for free plus received $2.00 of the rest of my purchase thanks to a rain check, a new store promotion, and coupons. At retail cost my total purchase was $71.19 and I paid $22.60, that’s 68.3% in savings! I think that is awesome! Granted I’m still a newbie and made a big no-no in the coupon world, I bought 3 items not on sale and without a coupon. I ran out of steamables/steamfresh vegs and really need some (my kids looooooove vegetables and sometimes it’s the only thing they will eat at dinner). I’m hoping to see them on sale coming up and stock up big time.

Do you have a great grocery shopping experience? Any tips for us newbies?

Image Detail

I’m now entering my expenses in a spreadsheet on excel, I might attach a blank copy if anyone is interested in starting to account for all their expenses. My monthly income comes from several places and is not all in one bank account so it’s not as easy as looking at a bank statement to know what I’m spending and what I’m saving. This really holds me accountable when I have to enter in the expense and see the money dwindle. I also have an estimated column that has the entire month’s expenses and an overestimate on how much they will cost. As I pay them off I just delete them off the list and put them into the area where I actually spent the money. At the end of the estimated column it shows a calculated amount saved or overspent. Right now it says I’m ahead $105 besides the $1,000 I already planned to save. Everyone needs some fun and since Christmas is just a few weeks away I am sure that money will be spent. Either way it is nice to be able to quickly glance at that number as see how close I am to over spending. I will not be showing the estimated column since it’s based purely on estimates. Oh and I forgot the best part of this spreadsheet is that I can easily copy and paste it right into the blog and categorize it. So at the end of the month I just sort everything by category and it will total the amounts for me. Sweeet!

Monthly income $2,500, Budget $1,500  
Cost Item Date Category
$31.00 Gas (12/1) Gas
$12.26 Wings @ B3W (12/1) Recreation
$5.80 Sandwich @ Subway (12/2) Recreation
$7.92 Newspaper, Creamer, Yogurt (12/4)  
$15.92 Food @ Culvers (12/3) Recreation
$2.11 Yogurt & Salad @ McDonalds (12/5) Recreation
$5.80 Sandwich @ Subway (12/6) Recreation
$1.04 Game @ iTunes (12/6) Recreation
$40.15 Gas @ Kwik Trip (12/7) Gas
$22.60 Groceries @ Copps (12/7) Food
       
$1,355.40 Left    
       

November Recap & Breakdown

$3,000 earned, $1.584.25 Spent, $1,415.75 Saved

————————————————————————

$14.95      Photo Canvas (11/1)

$1.04        Greeting Cards (11/1)

$0.00       (40) Free pictures from Walgreens (11/1)

$35.02     Gas (11/3)

$13.42     Copps Food (11/5)

$11.77     Copps Food (11/5)

$10.47     Halloween Costumes @ Walmart (11/5)

$28.00     Health Insurance (11/5)

$0.00       College basketball tickets and parking pass (11/5)

$26.24     Wings and Drinks @ Buffalo Wild Wings (11/5)

$2.00       Newspaper (11/6)

$13.45     Baby Wipes & Costume Acc. @ Walmart (11/7)

$37.00     Electric Bill (11/7)

$19.35     Drinks at Buffalo Wild Wings (11/8)

$39.69     16X12 Canvas, (3) 8×10 collage, (1) 11×14, (8) 4×6, (8)  5×7, (7) 8×10, (5) 4ct wallets @ artscow.com (11/9)

$50.00      Gas (11/9)

$32.04      Water bill (11/10)

$9.96        Shredded cheese @ Copps (6 @ $1.66ea) (11/11)

$100.00    Dean Care/Medical Expenses (11/12)

$13.14      Grocery shopping @ Copps (11/12)

$15.96      Grocery shopping @ Copps (11/12)

$11.50      Drinks @ Legends (11/12)

$37.31      Cell phone w/ Virgin Mobile (11/13)

$1.93        Apples @ Copps (11/14)

$11.66      Yoga pants @ Kohls (11/15)

$22.30      Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/16)

$41.47      Gas (11/18)

$5.80        Subway (11/18)

$4.21        75 printed pictures @ Shutterfly (11/18)

$11.70      Walmart (11/18)

$24.04      Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/19)

$23.46      Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/19)

$0.00        Car Insurance (my parents owed me money so they paid for my insurance) (11/20)

$200.00    Daycare

$26.59      Diapers for #2 @ Amazon (11/23)

$31.03      Diapers for #3 @ Amazon (11/23)

$52.53      Black Friday @ Walgreens for toiletries & Wine (11/25)

$16.65      Roasting Pan @ Walmart to cook the turkey 🙂 (11/27)

$3.57        Coffee & Paper @ Kwik Trip (11/27)

$35.00      Gym Membership (11/30)

$550.00    Rent (11/30)

I actually earned $3,000 this month instead of the $2,500 I normally budget for. I make my budget on a basis of 4 weeks in each month (4 paychecks), this means every 3 or 4 months I get a bonus when a 5th paycheck lands in that month. There are usually a few extra expenses like additional food costs and daycare expenses but I still come out with some extra money. This month looks pretty nice but it was actually due to that bonus check 🙂

BUDGET                                                     ACTUAL

120.00 Childrens College Savings (automatically transferred)

*my monthly income of $2500 is after this is taken out of my check so I will not include it

– 200.00 Daycare                                      200.00

– 130.00 Healthcare expenses                  130.00

– 200.00 Gas                                             126.49                                           

– 200.00 Food                                           135.98

– 70.00 Car Insurance                               0

-150.00 Utilities                                         69.04

– 550.00 Rent                                           550.00

– 40.00 Cell Phone                                   37.31

– 35.00 Gym Membership                        35.00

0 Other                                                    300.43

Although I gave myself a hard time for not planning out my grocery trips quite as well as I hoped I saved $64 in grocery expenses uses coupons and I was able to go shopping every week and start a stock pile. If need be at this point I have enough freezer and cupboard food we could make the majority of our meals for a week or two on it alone. This month should be even easier and I’m hoping to get the grocery bill down to $100 a month!

I saved on gas the month but I think that had a lot to do with the Thanksgiving holiday and not having to travel to and from work, daycare, and daycare. I will be staying at work for lunch more often to save even more on gas expenses.

I saved quite a bit on utilities because we have not turned on our heat yet but I’m sad to say that will probably end this weekend. We are supposed to get some snow in and the house is already pretty cold. We all have to wear sweaters right now and usually cuddle under a big warm blanket before bed time 🙂 I will be trying to find other ways to save on energy and ways to make the electric heat work more efficiently.

Now for what I did wrong…..

$59.89 on photo needs and I have to reorder the canvas and some 8×10 because they did not turn out correct. No returns or exchanges…

$115.42 on going out to eat/drinks.

$93.29 on practical needs like newspaper, wipes, diapers, etc

$31.83 on miscellaneous stuff.