finally...the budget discussion

Okay, friends. Here we go. I've avoided the budget discussion thus far for one simple reason: I wanted to start at the beginning of the month. Well, two reasons. I didn't want to do the math necessary to write this post. But mostly because I wanted to have a clean slate to start July with.

My commitment to budgets swings something serious. I'll be 100% focused for a few months, and then all it takes is one weekend off track for me to forget all about it for months and months. But I'm feeling very grown up right now. And I figure that if I'm going to get my life together, I might was well go all in. Besides, if my long-term goal is relocation, I need to have our finances in order.

I'm using Mint to keep track of our expenses and spending. It is a very simple program that connects to all of my accounts to show exactly where we are. I can see where we are under or over budget. It tells me which bills have been paid and which bills are coming up. Mint is my friend.

I also like little charts like these. That I took amounts out of, of course.

I struggled to figure out how to share our goals here but still keeping our actual numbers private. And then it hit me - percentages!

I took the budget that I created in Mint this spring and looked at where our spending goes. Don't do the math too closely, though. It only adds up to 99%. I figure 1% is enough to play with.

This is how I have our income budgeted:

40% -> mortgage, utilities, HOA, insurance

20% -> student loans, credit card debt

16% -> car, auto insurance, gas

13% -> groceries, eating out, sundries

6% -> savings

2% -> charity

2% -> personal allowance

Some of these numbers are minimal payments and some are goals. The mortgage category is pretty fixed. However, the debt category is well over the minimum payments, so it is a goal. I think I'll share more of that with you when I report on our progress for July. Probably be some fun numbers there when I'm done with the month.

Of course, there are changes I'd like to see. As we pay down our debt, we'll increase our charity and savings.

July will have a few diversions. Our anniversary is in July and we already have plans to spend the night in Louisville. So I'll see where I can squeeze that in.

Okay. There's my accountability. Bring on July!