New to BFS? Please click here to get started. See you in the comments soon!

Three Levels of Budgeting

What a fanastic way to think about budgeting, to make sure that you're not missing anything and can cover all of the annoying htings that come up to try to wreck your budget! I love thinking about my finances this way and am going to implmeent the 3 levels of budgeting system into how I manage my money going forward. I can't wait to discuss this with my husband and get him on board too. Our net worth is going to climb this year, I know it!

These last couple of months have been filled with all sorts of unexpected monetary hurdles, so I thought this would be a good time to bring up the three levels of budgeting we use to keep ourselves on track.  Our monthly, annual, and random expenses are all taken into account on our monthly budget. Our Monthly Budget I use three columns of an Excel spreadsheet to list all our budgeted categories, the target amount for each category, and how much we actually spent.  This makes it easy to do spot checks.  It also has helped me to have detailed records of our expenses. It’s amazing how often I want to know how much we spent on food, vacations, or grad school in any given month.  I used to simply be curious and anal, now I have a blog to think about.  Having those records makes blogging so much more fun for me since I don’t have to estimate my numbers.  It’s hard to have full disclosure without having the actual data, right? For non-bloggers, long-term budgeting data is useful in order to see how you are looking overall.  It also can be used to track spending differentiations that may lead to budget changes in … Read more

Multiple Accounts for Easy Budgeting

Budgets, like the people who use them, come in a variety of packages.  Our budget lists our basic expenses and a few different savings accounts we push money into every month (few being like 7…).  As the manager of our budget, I find it much easier if I have separate accounts for each of those goals. Here are the extra accounts we have at ING (currently at 1.1%) and Smarty Pig (currently at 2.15%): Emergency Fund – The cash we have set aside for job loss or anything unexpected that the other accounts won’t cover. Taxes and Insurance – We don’t escrow, so we put aside money every month for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Auto and Home Maintenance – Ever since we paid my car off, we’ve been paying ourselves that payment for future car and home costs.  We upped that amount when we bought our house but are keeping it somewhat minimal since we’re trying to pay off my husband’s car as quickly as possible. Roth IRA and Stocks – We put extra money here even though we also contribute automatically to the Roth IRA.  We use this extra money as an opportunity fund. Vacations – We save here for our … Read more