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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?
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