Today I’ll start going through some of our results, but due to the length of the details I’m going to break this up over two days. Today I’m going to looked at fixed and variable expenses while tomorrow I’ve cover occasional expenses.
Spending for March 2007
Mortgage Insurance $21
Cell Phone $11.10
Gas for Car $60
My RRSP $100
Bank Fee $6
TOTAL = $1601.64
This category expenses were all know to me previously, so there are no surprises here or nuggets of wisdom. What I did find is that I should have put my power, natural gas and water bills also in this section, but instead I just dumped them in Variable expenses when I started this.
Dining Out $83.61
Home Related $522.68
Natural Gas $139.05
TOTAL = $730.00
This category by far has been the most useful to track. Initially I was concerned with a few of the numbers, but as I discussed them with my wife we came to realize a few flaws in our tracking method. We have a disconnect from what is tracked in the budget and what was tracked here. In the budget there are three main pools of money that are not tracked. Spending cash for the wife and I for $320, cash for the kid $120, and a misc section to cover little things on Visa for $150 (total $590/month). From these funds we buy the milk in the middle of the month or junk food so that ended up in the Groceries section making it look higher than the regular budget amount of $250.
Some notes from the other categories include:
– Books was at a yearly high because we renewed our book discount card
– Dining out was all paid from cash and included a night out at the pub for me
– Home related looks high, but that includes two new chairs for my living room and a set of sheets for my bed
-Power is high because I get two estimate bills followed by an actual reading for the third, so my estimates are always high and then I equal out in the third month to my average of $45/month
-Natural gas was also an estimate bill, so I’m not sure how much my new furnace is going to save me
So overall I would move the water, natural gas and power to Fixed and then add a few more categories to Variable like milk runs, junk food and entertainment (to help separate out pub nights from eating out as a family). What I did like about this tracking exercise was I kept Misc down to a small value for those odd things like shoe polish.