the first month with a budget was October 2008. of course as with any first time budgeters, stuff came up that we had no idea would come up and that helped us refine it (...still some stuff comes up now 4 months into the process
) Anyway, October 2008 our goal was simply to learn how to budget. because we knew where each cent was going (even if it was unexpected in some way we were able to cash flow some car repairs. we did not save or pay down debt, but we put all our account current (less the mortgage which we negotiated a repayment plan) and cash flow these repairs.
before even creating the budget I knew one of our black holes for money was food. I could go to the supermarket on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and spent 70 each time and still not buying everything we needed (again, no planning) plus I would get my daily coffee (because it was "just" 1.50) and lunch out a couple of times a week for 7 to 8 bucks. Mu husband is a chef, so we love good food and having good ingredients so we felt that we deserved to have good food in the house because you know, we dont have any other vices.... so yes, we "deserved" it. When I decided to go back into our bank statements and run the numbers for a couple of months before we started budgeting I was flabbergasted when I saw that some months we spent 800 to 900 in food (groceries and dining out) for a family of 4!!!!!
Well, this is what our monthly budget looks like now:
Groceries - 300 (cut down on eating out, the daily coffee, bagging lunch for me and the kids, shopping sales, using coupons, etc.)
Gasoline - 150 (thank God for gas prices going down, learning how to drive effectively, carpooling, etc)
Giving - 550 (for a while here giving 10% of our net instead of the gross, though we prefer to give 10% of our gross)
Daycare (pre-k for daughter and before/after school care for son) - 1,050 (this will go down to 600 come september 2009 when DD goes to full day kindergarten)
Water/Sewer - 55 (varies through the year as low as 40 as high as 65)
Electricity - 150 (varies as low as 75 as high as 225)
Cable/Internet/Phone - 125 (just went up from 105)
Cel phones -105
Car Insurance - 87.61 (just went down from 135 last year)
Life Insurance - 33.75 (my hubby's)
Homeowners insurance - 41.58 (this is for when stuff around the house breaks down, still debating whether it is needed or not)
Mortgage - $2,825 in repayment, goes down to $2,225 in June 09
Total - $5,473
My take home home pay - $3,986
DH's take home pay - $1,500 to $2,500
minimum take home page $5,486
(I get paid twice a month and I am salaried, earning the same amount every paycheck, health/vision/dental and my life insurance are deducted from my paycheck). DH's get paid twice a month and his paycheck varies depending on the overtime, so we created a budget that would work with the bare minimum.
I am debating whether or not to shave off about 25 dollars for the landline, since we both have cel phones, I am not yet sure about that.
As you can see, we are house poor. even at the regular payment amount (which includes taxes and insurance) it is 40% of our minimum take home pay. I must confess it was even worse (I recently received a promotion with a 5 k annual raise). we knew this when buying the house, but again, not a wise decision. we are not in a position to sell right now since we are upside down (value is around $260k)
Well , once we saw where our money was going and established some limits, it was easier for us to tackle paying down debt and establishing short/mid and long term goals.