Posted by: Ms. Crackers | November 5, 2008

{ oh, deer }

Mr. Crackers is actually off hunting today with my father and extended family/family friends.  Trust me, that’s as weird to me as it is to you.  I wished him the best, told him not to get killed, and hopefully I will see him tonight.

I thought it would be a good idea to share my budget with you folks, especially as this sort of show-and-tell can really cement the importance of sticking to a budget, because I’m a wee bit more accountable this way.  Self-discipline is not my strong point, so I will take all the help I can get.

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As you can see from above, I like to put everything into a spreadsheet, which I update regularly.  Our fixed living expenses are $2,286.47, and the rest is made up with debt repayment and less “regular” expenses.  As this is our first month on budget, I’m testing the waters with some low amounts, and hoping to fall within that amount, if not a little higher.

For example, $100 for groceries seems a bit ludicrous, but take into account that Mr. Crackers eats almost all his food at work, plus our deep freeze/regular freezer and pantry full of food, and I think I could make this stretch.  Consider it my wedding diet.  The dog budget is pretty consistent, as it’s a bag of food…but this amount will need to be adjusted around check-up time in March.  The “stupid car thing” was a shitty unexpected check up that came along with our oil change, so that took some money from our debt repayment.

Basically, I am taking $750 monthly from our credit cards and paying it off with our line of credit (which has a rate of about 1/3 the interest of the cards).  Then, I am paying a set amount on the card balances (which is $200, except I will pay the full balance of the $250 card, just to get it cleared) and the rest of our income goes against the line of credit.

According to my calculations, if we do get that roommate by January, we will be debt-free by September of next year.  That is 10 months to clear around $17,000 of debt.

The secret, of course, to paying down debt is to increase income and decrease spending.  I am trying to get a part-time weekend or evening job (reception, most likely, and I’ve gotten one call back for an interview that I will need to arrange tomorrow), and that roommate might mean we could have the whole thing paid off sooner (by about 2 months).  Aside from that, I’m going to keep plugging away at my new job in hopes of securing some good financial gains in the future.

As for decreasing spending, I’ve put this budget in play and frozen our cards (theoretically, and will do so physically very soon).  I have also decided to ignore my inner ecofreak and use the shampoo/body products/toothpaste/etc that I -own- instead of ignoring that and buying new, paraben and phthalate free stuff.  I know, it pains me to even think that I’m using these chemicals, but I figure that the stress of debt is making just as much of an impact on my health, so a little short term usage never hurt anyone too much.  Besides, I eat junk food…now is not the time to be holier-than-thou.

Does anyone have any great budgeting/financial tips that they’d like to share?  I’m always game to learn something new…:)

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Responses

  1. I think it’s very brave of you to share your budget with the internet. It’s kind of like the last taboo subject, even among friends.

    I think this is your budget just for this month, but going forward I would recommend setting aside a little bit for house taxes every month, if you can. We used to get hit with a few-thousand-dollar bill once a year and we’d panic — we don’t usually have $4000 just lying around! Now we have a special bank account where we put a fixed amount every month, so when it comes time for the house tax bill, we have the money ready and it’s not a total crisis to that month’s budget.


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