Thursday, March 8, 2007

Monthly Expenses

We've finally pinned down our monthly expenses into a workable spreadsheet. The wonderful people over at let us download an awesome budget tracking utility spreadsheet. We went through our checkbook and wrote all the transactions in the budget tracking sheet.

My biggest reason for doing this was to check how much cash we were spending each month and budget that cash into a real number. Before we did this, we were basically hemorrhaging cash out of the ATM machine, without keeping track of what we are spending it on. The next step is to isolate what exactly we spend that cash on. We've isolated gas and groceries already and budgeted enough money for those. Other expenses like dinners, movies and general entertainment need to be isolated.

We also discovered that now that we have an expenses budget tracking system, we can load the check writing account with an extra $500 to create a good "new 0" for our account. Between paychecks, our check writing account would plummet in the middle and end of the month to near 0 balance. Now we have put a $500 buffer in and will use $500 as the "new 0". Before that was unthinkable, because we didn't know how much we were spending per month. Now since we have our monthly budget tracked and locked down, we'll be able to keep that buffer there and not go under the new 0.

I am VERY happy to have put a cap on the amount of cash that was hemorrhaging out of our account.