Monday, February 9, 2009

Back to money matters: The Household Budget

Inspired in part by J. Money at the highly readable Budgets Are Sexy blog, and in part by the gajillions of dollars we've seemingly spent in the past five weeks of house buying and moving, I'm going to tackle something I've never detailed on the blog before: the household budget.

Big Ass Lesson #1: Blogger doesn't have an easy way for me to do tables. And back when I first learned HTML, tables didn't exist. Then it was coding tables by hand, which I hated. So, screw tables. No tables in this post. Gonna do it old-school and ugly. Enjoy.

Cashflow in: Every payday, soon-to-be-Mrs. BigAss and I put $830 into "our" chequing account. We used to figure things out proportionally by inome, but our incomes are now close enough that it's presently unnecessary to do all that math. It was, I think, about $750 per pay, but our draft budget for the new house settled on $830 as a "make things work" number. Any more and we'd be feeling the hurt in our personal moneys. Anything left over after putting in the "chunk" is ours to do with what we please. For me, I stash a bit away in savings or the company stock program, and fritter away the rest on dumb stuff like cigarettes and cinnamon buns. And transit passes and taxi fare and flowers and such more-important things. It's not a lot, but it adds up if I'm smart (which one would hope that I am, by now).

On the income side, Quicken 2007 tells me that comes out to $1803 per month for "our" chequing.

Expenses:

Auto:
- Insurance: $86 (covers both of us on the car)
- Lease: $327 (yes, I know what PF bloggers will say about leases. I say it too)
Bank charge: $15 (gives us oodles of Interac debit transactions and all we need)
Dining: $150 (generous budgetining for pizza and eating out on Fri & Sat)
Entertainment: $25 (for what, I dunno, since we don't really *do* much)
Gifts given: $40 (to account for xmas, birthdays, parties, etc. throughout year)
Groceries: $435 (I think that's ~$100/week, an average of what we spend)
Housing: $1240 (principal/interest/taxes for mortgage)
Insurance (home): $34 (am I mixing this up with car insurance?)
Maintenance (home): $100
Pets: $50 (guesstimate of buying food for Kitty and Kitty)
RRSP Payback: $150 (paying me back for the $20k from my RRSP)
Savings: $200
Utilities:
- Cable/Phone/Internet: $110 (bundle package; doesn't include long distance)
- Electric: $250 (budget figure as discussed in previous post)
- Propane: $12 (accounts for fireplace tank rental and minimal use)
- Water: $33 (complete guess! we've never paid for water)
Vacation: $200

Total income: $3607
Total expensees: -$3456
Difference: $151

So, if we stick to budget, $500 (vacation, savings, maintenance) goes into "our" savings account and $150 surplus gets added to "our" chequing account each month.

Some notes....
- Water bill is a mystery. IIRC, the number came from loose research at the Halifax municipal web site, but could be way off.
- Paying back $150/mo to my RRSP will pay off the $20k in 11.1 years, versus the 15 years the government requires. IMHO, the sooner it gets returned, the more time it'll have to grow, and the sooner we'll be out of 'debt', even it it's really a debt to ourselves/me that the government would allow some leeway on.
- 'Pets' does not account for Kitty or Kitty getting sick or needing chekups. That'd be Emergency Fund time.
- We hope/plan/have honest good intentions of setting up additional high-interest accounts to make more visible distinctions in the categories for savings. I'm imagining Wedding Fund, House Repair Fund, Emergency Fund and Planned Spending. It could easily be tracked in a spreadsheet, you'll say, but if I can't hack up a table for my blog, how likely am I to manage that kind of spreadsheet?
- Telephone doesn't include long distance use. That occurred to me about 45 minutes ago.

Whew! Thoughts, wise ones? I'm sure 'anonymous' will have something to say...something like my mom or dad would say, I'm sure!

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