Monday, June 2, 2008

Growing up

I've done it, people! I actually.... created..... a BUDGET!

Well, kind of.

It's not so much a budget as it is spreadsheet (of course, cuz I love me some excel formulas!) for tracking income & expenses. More or less an activity log. BUT, I'm thinking that after a couple of months of logged activity, it might actually lend itself to becoming a budget!

"Why is she excited about this?" you're probably asking yourself. I'll tell you why... I work for a CPA, as a bookkeeper, and I do some bookkeeping/review of a few clients. The dichotomy of helping OTHER PEOPLE get their shit together, and me not even knowing how much shit I HAVE to get together... well, it finally got to be too much. And see, I've been wanting to do something like this for oh - about forEVAH! Wahoo procrastination!

Anywho, I put the fancy schmancy lil spreadsheet together on Saturday, and started entering activity in it as of June 1. I've got all the income & expenses categorized (or lord, I'm even following GAAP....). I've planned it so that I have monthly activity separated in different sheets (and I can even balance bank accounts), and I'll have an ongoing summary sheet that will show monthly totals. I may even do some fancy net worth kind of thing with it, too.

My plan (cuz I've always got to have a plan) is that understanding where we REALLY stand financially will help me to panic less about the BIG GIANT DEBT that I want paid off, like yesterday. I know it's going to take time, and I know it's going to take sacrifice. But my recurring method of "panic and eat mac & cheese for a month so we can send ALL OF OUR PENNIES to the debt" followed immediately by "that month REALLY FUCKING SUCKED, so let's go on a vacation, and then eat at restaurants every night for a week, and then buy some new clothes, and shoes, and tools, and crap crap CRAP"... well, it's not all that fun now.

I want to live "normally" for a couple of months, and see where we really are spending our money. Then we can see where we might be able to make a few cuts to pay down that debt some more. Or, maybe I'll have to finally face up to spending ridiculous amounts of money on absolutely nothing (do I really need to buy a pop or coffee EVERY TIME I stop & get gas?), and put a stop to some of that. OR, maybe I'll see that we don't have to live as tightly as I've been pushing for, and that we can have some fun while still paying down our debt and NOT FEEL GUILTY about it.

So, that's how I grew up this weekend.


Nicky said...

Here from NCLM. I love me some excel financial spreadsheets, too! When we were thinking about buying a house, we spent 3 months just tracking stuff, to see where we were actually spending. During that time, we tried to just act "normal." It helped a huge amount, and made it much easier to control our spending without the drastic swings in habits that you mentioned. Good luck!

Panamahat said...

That's so great to finally do something for yourself that you spend time helping other people with. Best of luck! I got as far as the spreadsheets logging all our direct debits and regular bills. We still spend just as much as we earn though. I was better at budgeting when I was a student living on $36 a week!