The most boring post I write all year.

Regardless of what some may say, I don’t think budgets are sexy at all. In fact, I can’t think of anything less sexy than a bunch of numbers and an excel spreadsheet. This is why I only open up my spreadshet once a year. Now that 2012 is a thing of the past, it’s time to make some predictions on what could come in 2013. Here’s a screenshot of my budget, followed by some explanations 😉

If you want to view the spreadsheet at normal resolution just give it a little click.

Before Tax Income:

Does anyone know why we include Gross Income in our budgets? It’s kind of pointless really. It just reminds me how much of my income I don’t get to keep. I haven’t included Girl Ninja’s gross in this section for a very important reason; I’m lazy.

You’ll notice below my gross income, I have a “Side Hustle” section. This pretty much accounts for my blogging income (and now hopefully MANteresting income). In 2011 I made $13,000 a year from this blog. In 2012, I scraped by with $4,000. I’ve decided to scale back even further and only estimate bringing home $3,000 this year. Hopefully it will be significantly higher, but only time will tell.

Investments:

We’ve finally added Girl Ninja’s retirement accounts to the spreadsheet. It only took being married for 2.5 years for me to get around to it. Haha. Oh well gotta start sometime, right? For as long as we don’t own a house, I plan to contribute at least 10% of my gross pay to my 401k (which gets matched at 5%). If/when we purchase, I may scale back a tad to free up some cash flow. With our savings account quickly approaching $100,000 we might as well use our discretionary income to up our retirement contributions. I’m sure my 70-year-old-self will be happy I did.

Expenses:

Pretty self-explanatory. I include a 15% “random” category at the bottom of the expenses section as it seems most months have unexpected or non-budgeted things come up (household stuff, a weekend trip, birthday parties, etc). Instead of making random guesses how much we spend on cleaning products, clothes, etc each month; we just try to keep all those miscellaneous expenses less than 15% of our net income. We also tithe/donate to charity consistently, but didn’t think it was necessary/appropriate to put those numbers in the spreadsheet.

Left Over:

This is the most important part of the budget, as it really gives us a look in to our financial future. As long as we are spending less than we make, everything is gravy. Fortunately, it looks like we’ll have about $2,400 left after we pay all the bills. I have a few three paycheck months as well, so all said and done we could be adding about $32,000 to our savings account. I’m keeping my fingers crossed all goes according to plan 🙂

Goals:

In the top right of the spreadsheet you will see a section for my annual financial goals. In 2013 I’m hoping our overall Net Worth will increase to about $217,000. This would be a $54,339 increase from our current position. I gotta say, it would be pretty awesome to shatter the $200k threshold this year. What’s crazy about all this is that I don’t really feel like Girl Ninja and I are frugal. I mean we both traveled so much last year we are MVP flyers (booya for free first class upgrades!). We dropped $20k cash on a new-t0-us car. And I funded a new business venture from our personal savings. For as long as the Big Man upstairs continues to grant us a generous income, we’ll do our best to be responsible (and generous) with it. That’s really our only goal after all.

Do you budget like me? Anything I do with mine that you think is weird? What’s your preferred budgeting tool (Mint, Quicken, Excel, Paper/pencil)?

Obviously if we buy a house, all of these numbers are pretty much worthless since we have no clue what our future mortgage will be, how much we will put down (thus decreasing our cash reserves), etc. When we find the right house for us, I’ll make sure to do some revising.

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15 thoughts on “The most boring post I write all year.

  1. We do indeed budget and, like you, it always depresses me to see how much less the “net” income is versus the “gross” income 🙁

    A $13,000 pull in 2011 from this blog is massively impressive! I’d be in heaven if http://www.mutilatethemortgage.com made me that much! I’d also be working 10x as hard the year after to try and turn that in to $130,000 somehow.

    My preferred budgeting tool is Google Drive and their Spreadsheets. I can access it/update it anywhere, any time, as can DW and it looks much nicer than lame Excel. As for things you do that are “weird” I’d probably just say you don’t address your expenses enough. However many people have mental barriers that prevent them from doing this (for example they think cutting expenses = living poorly and being less happy). I’m a big fan of simplifying and making life as efficient as possible which gets you cheaper expenses whilst at the same time improving your lifestyle. Other advantages include saving money, making things quicker, saving planetary resources and so on.

    That “Random” category is quite off the scale I’d say too. If you’re interested, I’ve put together a really detailed multiple-post list of all the major ways we’ve found to cut our expenses right down enabling us to save 70% of our after tax wages.

    Here’s the first part: http://www.mutilatethemortgage.com/2012/11/12/starting-out-on-a-roll-part-i-transportation/

  2. We have a budget that is rather similar, and I do really like it. The biggest relief is just simply knowing where our money is going (which I clearly didn’t when I woke up one day with $65K in debt). I’m wondering if you update this as the year goes on, or use mint or quicken to see if your spending is actually within your allotted limits?

    I love that you said that you don’t think of yourselves as all that frugal because I feel the same way! I live a very full life, and I often marvel as our networth goes up month after month but the fact is that simply living within your means and not upgrading to have the newest car, bigger house, and latest electronics puts you way ahead of the game.

    Good luck in 2013!!

  3. I’ve got a budget spreadsheet I made in Excel, also working on doing one on my iPad now that I have that. Anyway, mine’s set up relatively similar to yours. I have a section for estimated net income each month, estimated expenses each month, balances of debts — revolving & otherwise (CC’s we use for cash back, student loans, car loan, mortgage), assets (checking, savings, 401k, tsp).

    Problem is we don’t follow it. At all. I know for certain our grocery/food spending is significantly more than what I budgeted for more often than not, simply due to the number of times we eat at Chipotle or Arby’s or some such during the week. I don’t have any idea what our household/misc spending is for each month since it’s our first year in our house, and we’re still getting big purchases out of the way (lawn mower, snowblower, rugs, furniture, shelving units, some landscaping stuff, etc).

    The main thing I like about it / use it for is to see the numbers on student loans, car payments, and the mortgage decrease. It sucks that we lose so much money to them each month, but it’s definitely nice seeing the numbers go down. The decreases look bigger considering I only update it once every couple months.

  4. I don’t think it’s that boring. I like your spreadsheet!
    We don’t feel like we are frugal either. I mean we are a little frugal, but we live life pretty full. Eat whatever we want, whenever, always pay our bills. It’s good.

  5. Our budget looks pretty similar. I am filled with jealous rage about your $0 allotments for electric, natural gas, internet, cable, and only $60 for your cell phone plan. I’ll just assume you two live off solar panels and stolen wifi/cable signals.

    Like you, we use Excel to plot our course. And then we use an app called HomeBudget to manually track expenses/income throughout the month. We’ve tried just about every method though, and this one works best for us. We also do a catch-all category appropriately titled “Everything Else” that’s essentially the same as your 15% random. That, above all else, has really freed us from getting weighed down in specificity so we don’t freak out if we’re $3 over on cat food.

    Best of luck in punching income and saving in the face in 2013.

  6. Bear in mind that this is January 2 and if this is the most boring post you write all year, all the posts you write for the remainder of the year have to be more interesting.

  7. Just wonder why, someone who claimed they aren’t going to invest in a ROTH, you included this in your budget? Shouldn’t you be diverting more to your TSP instead?

    Our budget looks pretty similar to yours and we just use an excel spreadsheet too.

  8. I use Excel for a complete financial picture for myself. I’m sure there is something more high tech out there, but I’ve used this for 5 years now and it seems to work fine. I update it pretty much daily since I use it as my check register (I don’t really write a lot of checks, but I code all my spending as EFT, debit or DC, for Discover). I have a tab for my income summary and general budget, monthly balance sheet, 2 week budget by pay period, check register, and then summary tabs showing the balance of my IRA, 401k, other accounts, and mortgage. At one point when I was paying off debt, I used it as my debt snowball tracker.

    Happy New Year, Ninja!

  9. Nope. I’ve got three categories in my budget.
    What I’m paying, what I’m getting and what’s left over.
    Hopefully by this time next year I’ll have some side income from my blog.

  10. What’s not sexy about a budget spreadsheet? It thrills me to look at that baby a couple of times a month!

    Like Mortgage Mutilator, I keep mine on Google Drive so I can access it from anywhere. I have a couple of different worksheets, too: Budget, Debt Snowball, Net Worth, and a Fooling Around one (where I play with numbers if I want to try to work something in, like a special vacation or getting cable).

    I also use Mint because although I try to plan where my money goes in my budget, my actuality doesn’t always reflect that so Mint helps.

  11. Never have budgeted before – what I do every once in a while is list out fixed expenses and try my best to keep those as low as possible.

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