Posted by: saveafewbucks | April 25, 2011

How do you budget?

I personally, budget like a crazy person. Crazy because 1) my budget’s are intensely categorized, scritinized and revised 2) I NEVER follow my budget.

I set out upper spending limits for various expenses in my life and then do nothing when they are blown. Basically, the entire exercise is useless for the most part. It is however, helpful in letting me know that if I wanted to I could save quite a lot of money. Quite a bit more than I actually save.

As such, my savings at the end of the month is whatever is left over and there is no way to determine how much that would be until the first day of the next month. As you can imagine, this makes it kind of hard to set and reach savings goals or plan for big life purchases (i.e., owning my own place one day).

Enter April and a new way of doing things. This month I’ve set a weekly budget for myself. Weekly, insead of monthly, because it is easier for me to control (see: short attention span and memory). The calculation for my weekly spending is as follows:

+ Income (monthly)
– Fixed/Required Expenses (rent, hydro, cable/internet, car lease, insurance, gas, groceries, etc.)
– Desired Savings/RRSP & TFSA contributions
———————————-
+ Free Cash Flow (monthly)
/4.5 weeks

So far, it has worked FABULOUSLY for me. I’ve been able to stay within my weekly budget resulting in less spending than previous months. But at the same time I’ve been able to do all the things that I’ve wanted without that feeling of “I can’t because I’m on a budget”. For me I find it is easier to say I’ll give up X because I really want Y instead this week.

Mind you, this isn’t the type of budget for everyone. I still indulge in frivolous spending. But I am able to save as I do it. I envy those of you who can have no spend days/weeks/years. Or those who have the self-restraint not to be self-indulgent. If I had these magical powers I would be RICH (well… have less debt at least)!

So I’ll end this post with what I threw my money away for this week. Because I can without feeling bad about it. 🙂

SHOES

Normally I don’t buy more than one pair of shoes in a month (at the most). But a couple times a year I will go to the Petite Feet Sample Sale and I can’t help getting more than one when there are thousands of shoes in my size. If you’re a size 6 (or 5.5 like me) and live in Toronto/Vancouver, I would suggest checking it out at least once. Assuming you’re already going to be buying shoes elsewhere… I personally have a handful of weddings to attend, so this will be a tough saving year.

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