Today is my 200th post on this site. Much like Zac figuring out how to extract urine from a toilet, I'm not sure whether to be proud or horrified. This time, I'm going to go with proud...
...I've recently been inspired to keep a personal general ledger of all of my accounts payable for the house. I blame Amanda D over at the Naked Ledger for the inspiration and the idea that not only could I share my (lack of) lovelife with friends, family, and random strangers - I could share my finances. We can just sit back and let the hilarity of the situation wash over us. Who needs to try and think of something interesting to say when you have $22.83 in savings!?! While trying to raise a kid! HA!! And trying to lose weight and date! And make every third sentence rhyme!! HA! Let the raucous laughter ensue I say!!!
I have never, ever been able to (read: wanted to) keep track of everything that I have going into and coming out of my bank account. Throughout my college and post-Peace Corps years, I've struggled with not bouncing checks, only to bounce them when my landlord held onto them for three months before depositing them, or having to frantically call my parents and ask for money (again!).
Really, it was a combination of factors that led me open up an Excel spreadsheet, keep track of my receipts, and balance it against my online bank account. The results of this experiment made me a little queesy, at best. I'm posting only the expenses that I have any kind of control over. Rent, car payments, car insurance, utilities, credit card payments, student loan payments, and daycare are included in my total expenses for the month and not posted here.
July 2006 Expenses, Naked Ledger style:
Expense: Budget/ Actual
Food & Hygiene: $200/ $213.17
Gas: $160/ $160.32
Misc: $100 /$350.62
Clothes: - /$95.96
Entertainment: - /$58.01
Gifts: - /$68.24
Savings: -/ -
Total: $460 /$946.26/ (-$486.26)
First of all - let's go with the positive. How much do I rock for accurately predicting how much food and gas Zac and I would use in the month? The food & hygiene expense is EVERYTHING that I purchased at a grocery or drug store, including: diapers, wipes, baby food, cleaning supplies, shampoo, milk, bread, etc. At first, I was a little shocked at how much I spent in that category until I realized how many supplies for the house and for Zac's butt I pick up at the grocery store. The actual feeding and keeping us healthy part is really only an afterthought during those trips. The gas prediction was really just a lucky guess on my part.
What killed me were the unbudgeted and miscellaneous expenses. It was a really unrealistic budget to imagine that I wouldn't spend anything on clothes, gifts, entertainment (eating out, going out, anything else that might be done 'out'), or miscellaneous items. Since this was my first crack at budgeting and recording my expenses, I'm going to forgive myself this month. Try not to vomit all over your computer when you think about how much money I'm spending, though.