Last week–before 2011 began–Margie and I sat down and penciled out our 2011 budget (well…Excel’d it). We did the same exercise at the end of 2009 for 2010. And while we didn’t stick to our budget as well as we would have liked, we were/are glad to start the year on the same page–financially speaking.
Margie and I don’t like to budget. We’d prefer to live like we did pre-kids and pre-furloughs, but that simply isn’t an option. We have a mortgage and we want to be able to pay for our kids’ college educations. A budget is a necessity.
We discussed travel plans, paying for preschool (Adelaide will start in the fall), home repairs and improvements, and retirement savings, among other things. Very few of our budget categories have changed. We did, however, add a category for a babysitter, allowing me to have some time to myself one morning a week (oh. so. important!).
What has changed, is our commitment to tracking our spending. Over the last couple of months, we’ve been tracking our spending a couple of times a week rather than a couple of times a month. We didn’t save nearly as much as we would have liked to last year and this is primarily due to not checking-in often enough. With the new year, comes a new commitment to accurately–and frequently–track our spending.
So…yes…two nights a week, you will find me (or Margie) curled up on the couch, computer on lap and receipts in hand.