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My husband and I are preparing some goals and a budget for 2012, so the first step was to review where we're at currently.

This weekend we went through our actual spending for 2011. I used Quicken to upload our joint accounts' information and after sorting through and categorizing the data we had our numbers.

Lessons from the Family Budget

It was kind of fun exercise – looking at all this information on the screen. Looking at the budget I noticed a few things about our finances:

  • Our baby expenses are less than we thought (so far). We've heard from others that kids can be expensive, so we bulked up our savings for the baby. Thankfully our baby girl hasn't really affected our budget that much. Diapers are about $37 for a large box that lasts about 6 weeks. We'll adjust our monthly budget accordingly, but we'll keep the baby fund in place should something come up.
  • Automating saving is great. When we looked at our expenses they were about equal our income which at first glance confused me since our savings have grown. However when you look closer, savings is built into our budget, so we were socking away cash.
  • We have more irregular bills than I thought. Most of our bills are monthly, but we do have occasional expenses through out the year, including property taxes for the cars, life insurance premiums, and pool HOA dues. When looking ta the yearly totals and then diving it by 12, it comes out to about $57/month. That's a nice chunk of change!

Of course everyone's budget is different so our lesson are probably different than yours. However, looking at your actual saving and spending habits can be enlightening.

Looking at Our 2012 Budget

Tonight we're going to talk about what goals we have for 2012. In regards to the budget I'm going to suggest the following:

  • Budget more giving. I'm happy to see that including giving into our budget has been a success. I think we can increase it for 2012. How much, I don't know yet. I'm hoping we can see a spot where we can cut back just a bit and instead direct it to worthy cause.
  • Speed up paying down the student loan. We have a student loan that's the only non-mortgage debt that we have and I really want to get rid of it sooner rather than later.

What we decide to do with our budget for 2012, I'll update it here later. If you have any suggestions for financial goals and budget ideas, please leave a comment here today. I'll bring it up when we sit down and chat about our family's finances.

Thoughts on the Family Budget

Have you looked at your budget recently? Did you have any surprises about what you're actually spending?

Photo Credit: mynameisharsha

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

9 comments add your comment

  1. We are wrapping up for the year and it wasn’t bad. Having a house where it’s just getting to that point of needing more work is definitely presenting a need to save more for upkeep and such. There’s always something. Keeping good track of everything is key to being able to update and revise as needed. So many people really have no idea of where their money is going that it’s impossible to plan on where they think they will spend in the future. Sounds like you’re doing great!

    • The fun side of owning a house – taking care of it 🙂 You’re right – saving ahead is the best move. It’s inevitable, things break down.

      Thanks; we hope to improve in 2012. Congrats on getting the camper- just saw your post on it!

  2. That’s not too bad – glad that you’ve found children are not that expensive. I’ve heard they are as expensive as you make them.

    • I know it’s too early to say kids aren’t expensive, but I wanted to give an update for new parents or expecting parents so they can have an idea. We heard all sorts of stories and it was helpful to see what could happen.

  3. I’ve found that I need to reassess quarterly. There always seems to be so much to do and I’d make too long of a list of goals if I do annually. It’s better for me to do a small list over a shorter period of time.