About 6 months ago, I started keeping the bills after they were paid.
No, they weren't filed away 'neatly', just put in a folder in a drawer in the desk. Which has come in handy as there have been a few times (damn Comcast) where I had to pull out the previous month bill to find out what the heck they were charging me for differently.
I have a GOOD idea of what the monthly bills are, give or take $15 or so dollars. Everything fluctuates, even though its shouldn't. So I went ahead and made myself a REAL BUDGET and even made them a little higher in the end.
Ready for the REAL DEAL? Here it is:
FPL (electric) $400.00 ($4800 a year!) NOTE: This is hopefully an average. With one kid gone and another only home occasionally, I'll be curious to see how much it changes!
AT&T $35.00 ($420 a year)
Tmobile $200.00 ($2400 a year!)
Sprinklers $45.00 ($540 a year)
Water $125.00 ($1500 a year)
Bugman $24.00 ($288 a year)
Netflix $23.00 ($276 a year)
Gym $43.00 ($516 a year)
Comcast $110.00 ($1320 a year!)
Credit cards (total) $400.00 (applying the snowball effect at the moment. Pay all but the lowest balance cards minimum payment first and remaining balance of $400 is applied to the lowest balance card. Once that balance is zero, that payment is applied to the next lowest balance. This will eliminate a bill periodically and hopefully done by the end of May 2012). ($4800 a year!)
Medical $50.00. This may need to be re-evaluated ($600 a year)
Food $300.00 ($3600 a year)
Gas $80.00. May be too low but will try to do with the figure ($960 a year)
That's a total of $1,835.00 out the door. Should be noted that Mark pays the mortgage, insurances, taxes, etc.
Then we add in the savings of $574.72 (Rule #8) which I suppose SHOULD be above and added in to the total balance which would make it $2,409.72. But this would also equate to a nice savings at the end of the year for $7471.36
Income should be:
$1081 x 2 = $2,162.00
$143.68 x 4 = $574.72
$400.00 x 1 = $400.00 (not sure how long this will be for)
$250 to $500 bonus a month so lets say $350 average
Total income for month is $3,486.72
Which should give me $1,077 left at the end of the month. Hmmm. That would sound about right IF I was to keep my spending under control.
What I really want to be able to do is sweep the account at the end of the month (before the 1st) to the accessible savings account and start fresh with that paycheck that comes in on the 1st ($1081) to pay all the bills with. The $574.72 savings is hopefully being deposited directly into the no touch savings account with Chase (out of my way to get to for withdrawals and not an online accessible account).
It really looks completely doable, in my opinion. There’s plenty of wiggle room if needed. Which will be needed as I’ve not included the cost of classes and books for The Boy or Princess as those vary semester to semester and I don’t have anything yet to really budget by. Plus, hopefully they will get some financial aid (not loans!) to help offset some of the cost.
Gosh. Looking at this makes me realize just how much waste there must be in my budget currently. Wow. Makes me scratch my head wondering why I am struggling so much at this very second while I type this.
I would really like to give this a test run for December but it's just not going to work that way. I'm starting the month off borderline negative with the family trip over and property taxes being due (Mark and I split this large bill).
Have you set up your budget yet for 2012?