Finding the Budget Busters from Last Year

Posted by Madison on January 21, 2010

Each January I like to review all of our spending for the prior year. Since I track everything in Microsoft Money (yes, I’m still holding out until the end of the year to convert to Quicken) it’s pretty easy. I look at the average spending and then project what our spending will be for the upcoming year.

Our spending on the yard and our groceries have gone up. Last summer my husband took an interest in doing some additional landscaping after we got our new patio.

And the groceries is a direct result of shopping at Costco. While we spend a little more, we have been buying better quality food, which I’m happy with. OK, not really. I just said that to be nice. Our grocery spending is totally out of whack! I’m planning to discuss it with Scott tonight… although I’m planning to tread lightly. He has actually been doing our grocery shopping and some more cooking lately, which I’m thankful for (since you know how much I hate to cook!)

In addition, I found that over the past year our electricity bills and auto maintenance have been much lower than we budgeted. So it all just about balanced out in the end. I have done this every year, and by now, as you can see, there’s usually only a couple tweaks to the categories, with the exception of the groceries.

Enough about my budget, let’s talk about yours. Do you have a budget? If so, did you go back and determine how well your budget matched your actual spending?

Any categories in your budget that are out of whack?

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Comments to Finding the Budget Busters from Last Year

  1. I have each month divided into 2 columns one is the budget and one is what we actually spent. I usually look over each month and adjust as we go.

    Our food money is the one that all ways seems to go over too….

    Christina

  2. We are in our new home now and our electricity went up 75.00 last month..we realize winter is a bit higher…we’ve also had some other new costs that we’re trying to get under our budget. Lots of learning these days!

    ken

  3. I have a psuedo budget. I estimate my expenses for each month and put them into three categories.
    1: Have to pay or something bad will happen bills. Mortgage, utilities, etc.
    2: Wiggle room bills. Food, I can cut back on cheaper foods or buy better. Credit cards, just how much over the minimum do I want?
    3: Discretionary. Entertainment and things I can completely cut out.

    As the month goes on and I spend money on #2 I can think more about #3. I try to hold back to have a fair amount saved at the end of the month beyond my budget for some peace of mind that I did a good job lol. I’ve been doing it for so long that I really don’t have to monitor it anymore.

    I’ve been debating to go the Quicken route and analyzing things more. Moving in with the gf so as our budgets become more intertwined I might do so.

    Brad

  4. I, too, track everything with MS Money, and am holding off on buying Quicken until it’s absolutely necessary. My budget busters tend to be big items, like my daughter’s wedding, refinishing our hardwood floors, buying a new car. Even when I have the money in savings for these things, I just have a tough time seeing it show up in the Total Expense column.

    Jon

  5. @ Christina: Glad I’m not the only one who has a food category that ends up being a money pit! Let me know if you come up with some good solutions.

    @ Ken: The shock of the first winter in a new house. Doesn’t it seem like no matter how much we budget for, it’s always a surprise?

    Madison

  6. @ Brad: The fun of combining the budgets! I remember when my (now) husband and I moved in together, my spreadsheets got really complicated!

    @ Jon: When you finally decide to make the leap to Quicken, let me know! I’ll be interested to hear how it goes.

    Madison

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