Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days to Financial Freedom, Day 26: Planning

This week, I've been putting together our budget, bills, and menu plan for November.  It's kind of weird how much I look forward to doing this every month!  The first thing I do is put together our expected bills for November, including an estimate of how much they'll be and when they are due.  I keep this as a working Microsoft Word document.  When I pay one bill, I move it down on the document to the December expenses, that way I'm not having to go back through my register to figure out when bills are due.  Here is our November estimated expenses:

November Bills
11/1     Mortgage         $618.54
11/1     A Paycheck     $400
11/1     A Fuel             $50
11/1     K Fuel             $30
11/2     K Paycheck     $950
11/2     Savings            $240
11/2     Daycare           $112
11/5     Student Loan  $62.74
11/6     Satellite           $54.56
11/7     Groceries         $100
11/8     A Paycheck     $400
11/8     A Fuel             $50
11/8     K Fuel             $30
11/9     Daycare           $115
11/10   Internet            $54.98
11/13   Car Insurance  $94.87
11/14   Groceries         $100
11/15   A Paycheck     $400
11/15   A Fuel             $50
11/15   K Fuel             $30
11/16   Student Loan  $59.76
11/16   Daycare           $115
11/16   K Paycheck     $950
11/16   Savings           $240
11/16   Car Payment   $283.61
11/21   Groceries         $100
11/22   Utilities           $180
11/22   A Paycheck     $400
11/22   A Fuel             $50
11/22   K Fuel             $30
11/22   Mom                $50
11/23   Daycare           $112
11/24   Gas                  $40
11/27   Cell phone       $103
11/28   Groceries         $100
11/29   Netflix             $17
11/29   A Paycheck     $400
11/29   A Fuel             $50
11/29   K Fuel             $30
11/30   Daycare           $115
11/30   K Paycheck     $950
11/30   Savings           $240

Also at the top of the page I keep a running balance so I know if I'll have to shift how much we spend on groceries or gas.  I also keep track of how much I have to pay daycare every week on this document.  It's always $100 a week for #2 (unless there's a no-pay-day), but #1's bill changes, depending on how often he gets off the bus there.

After I do our expenses, I create a new monthly budget on Microsoft Excel.  Items change month-to-month, depending on how many weeks are in the month.  For example, I get paid three times in November, and A gets paid five times in November, which means we'll put gas in our vehicles five times, versus the four we normally have.  Make since?  This makes our gas budget for the month go up from our gas budget for October. 

I'm still working on our menu plan for November.  We still have a little meat left, but I need to do an inventory this weekend to see what we have.  Also, a friend I have at work has a freezer full of meat that she's not eating, so she's offered it to us.  She bought a half a cow last year, then all her kids moved out of her house! 

In almost every other aspect of my life, I have always been a planner.  Finances were always a place I feel short on that planning aspect.  Planning out the month in advance lets us know that we're still not completely on track, because we still can't afford to pay our car payment when it's due.  It shows what weeks we'll fall short on, and where we can afford to take some wiggle room, especially for Christmas.  This is the first month in a long time that I'll be able to pay our mortgage payment on the due date.  That feels pretty darn good!! 

So, what do you do to plan out the month in advance?  Have you adopted a budget or menu planning for November?  How about a Christmas spending limit?

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