Creepers Rejoice

February 15, 2011 · 18 comments

It’s time for all you creepy budget stalkers to get excited, cause it’s time I share with you the 2011 Ninja Household Budget. Are you stoked or what?! Today you get a glimpse in to our financial picture, where our money goes, and how we do things. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below (I’ll do my best to respond to each one). Readers meet my spreadsheet, spreadsheet meet my readers….

Click spreadsheet to make bigger

I know looking at other people’s budgets can get pretty confusing. Let me see if I can help you decipher it.

Gross Income:

I don’t know why I even track my gross income. All it really does, is remind me how much of my money I don’t get to keep. Sad day. I’ve only included my gross income in this section because I’m too lazy to include Girl Ninja’s. You’ll see below my gross income, I have a section called “Side Hustle”. As you all know, my side hustles include tutoring, blogging, and housesitting. This income can vary widely. Some months being near $1,000, while other months nothing. I conservatively budgeted for $200/mo, when in fact it will be closer to $500/mo.

Investments:

I contribute 5% of my gross income to my 401K as that gets fully matched by my employer (for a total 401K contribution of 10% of my gross income). I’ve also made a habit of maxing out my Roth IRA each year ($5,000/yr). This year we will look to open up a Roth IRA for Girl Ninja. I don’t have it budgeted for in the spreadsheet, but it’s most likely going to happen. The goal would be to have a total of 15-ish% (of our gross income) going in to retirement each month.

Taxes, etc:

Getting paid every two weeks makes this budgeting thing a bit more difficult. We’ve decided to plan our budget around only two paychecks a month, even though twice a year, I have a three paycheck month. I basically manipulate my tax number to reflect what my actual net pay is on a regular two paycheck month. We pretend like the three paycheck months don’t exist.

Expenses:

Pretty self explanatory. I include a 10% “random” category at the bottom of the expenses as it seems like most months have unexpected and non-budgeted things come up. Instead of make random guesses how much we spend on cleaning products, clothes, etc each month, we’ve just try keep all those miscellaneous expenses as close to 10% as possible. Do you budget every last purchase; beauty products, coffee, carpet cleaner, etc?

Left Over:

This is the most important part of the budget, as it really gives us a look in to our financial future. According to the spreadsheet, we will save about $28,500 if we stick to our budget. But wait, you’ll also notice the section titled “Additional $$$”, this is where I can account for money I know we will save/earn that doesn’t really fit anywhere else in the budget (like one time lump sum payments). If everything goes as planned, it looks like GN and I should be able to increase our savings by about $40,000 this year. And that doesn’t even include the $12,000+ we will be putting to retirement.

Conclusion:

Who knows if we will actually be able to make this happen, but you bet your sweet bottom we are gonna try! Remember, our budget is not a LAW by which we must abide, but simply a tentative game plan based off of what we think we know/want. A big job promotion, or a crazy emergency, could totally change things around. As long as we manage to save something, I’ll be a happy camper.

How serious is the budget in your house? Does it dictate every dollar you spend like the envelope system would, or is it more of an estimate or your spending patterns? What’s your preferred budgeting tool (Mint, Quicken, Excel, Paper/pencil)? Do you add any additional sections to your budget (like Goals, Payoff dates, etc) that I should consider adding?

{ 17 comments }

1 Kristia@Family Balance Sheet

I have a budget on an excel sheet and I use Quicken to manage it all. Recently, I switched to cash envelopes for a few categories, like groceries and dining out, to help us reign some spending in. But mostly our budget is a guide. At the end of the month, I run a report on Quicken to see how my spending compared to our budget. It is usually in lne.

I also have a separate sheet, our balance sheet. Our assets (savings, retirement accts) are listed as well as our liabilities (mortgage, student loan). I updated at the end of the month and it is a good visual for us, especially as we see our assets increase and our liabilities decrease. I do list pay off dates, for inspiration to payoff the loans early. I also list our 2011 financial goals and I have a place for 5 year goals, 10 year and beyond. I like how you have a credit report check; I’m going to add that to my balance sheet.

That picture gives me the creeps!

2 CommonCents

My budget is a set figure, since it has since recently been written bi-weekly. But starting March I am moving to a monthly budget. This will make it a bit more varied. I am paid the same as you and get 2 months with 3 pays. I want to have my system set up so that I don’t ‘notice’ the extra 2 pays so they can go into student debt. I have a vet bill fund since I have 2 cats and these things often come up. So if you ever get animals consider a vet bill fund.

3 Mo D.

Our budget doesn’t dictate every dollar that we spend, but we use it as a stringent guideline as far as the variable spending goes, especially for groceries. We use Excel and envelopes; works for us. We are now looking to aggressively pay down our mortgage; if we buckle down, we should be able to have it paid off in about 6 years (and our 25 yr. mortgage is only 7 years old).

Your creeper kinda looks like Kip from “Napoleon Dynamite” LOL!!

4 Melanie

We use an Excel spreadsheet. I might be one of the only people around who hates Mint. Excel is way better! I do track all of our spending and track where I spend the random money so I know if it’s frivolous or not. For instance, making three trips to Costco at over $100 each trip is probably frivolous. But that same $300 spent on registering my kids for soccer this summer is a necessary expense.

I have a separate spreadsheet where I keep track of all our savings accounts (general savings, vacation, Christmas, etc) and I refer to the 2 quite often. Then obviously a net worth statement lets me know that we’re headed in the right direction (trying to top 200K this year!)

5 Austin

My wife and I use Quicken to do each month’s budget, and we stick to it pretty rigorously. Each receipt is entered and around 20 or 25 budget categories are tracked. Fortunately our budget each month always has some wiggle room so that if anything comes up it’s not too major.

Love your blog. Just started my own and will be doing a “net worth” and “budget” post soon… Eek! All this transparency and I didn’t create an awesome pen name to keep it anonymous!

AT

6 jessica

I think your yearly net outflow number is wrong since it is higher than your annual net income.

7 Stu

I noticed this as well…Looks like your Yearly Total Net (71k) is equal to your Monthly Total Net * 12. Yet if you add up DN and GN Incomes it’s several thousand less (40.6k+26.4k = 67k). I can’t see the formulas in the individual cells to check, so the engineer part of me is freaking out. :)

Either way (and more importantly), your potential savings are awesome and this site is one of my favorites. Keep up the good work!

8 Ninja

good catch, I did some tweaking of the budget last night before the post, and forgot to make those corrections to the annual section of my budget. I’ve reuploaded it, so all the numbers work out now :)

9 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

I use Excel and I track every dollar I spend, as well as a monthly net worth update to the penny. I also track gross income because I like to know how much I spend in taxes. The more I know, the better I feel.

10 finco86

Ours is in an Excel spreadsheet. Very detailed. I use it as a budget and cash flow planning tool. We also use envelopes for about 8 categories of spending. This really helps us keep on budget. We use Quicken to track spending and keep track of savings and investments. This gives us a pretty complete picture of our financial condition.

11 modernhamlet

I use Mint now. Used to use Quicken Online, before they merged. QO was more useful, if a little more cludgy.

Much to my chagrin, I haven’t really made the transition from “tracking my spending” to “managing my budget” yet. That, plus getting GirlHamlet’s finances integrated (we married in Oct), are priorities in the new year, particularly with major life changes upcoming like a home purchase and potentially a child.

12 Jenna

I just moved in with a friend of mine. We made a tentative budget and figured out how we are going to split costs. Will be interesting to see how successful we are at the end of the month!

13 krantcents

My budget is more of a guide to achieve my overall financial goals. I have payroll deductions for my 403B, IRA and Roth IRA, so we live on what is left.

14 Melissa

I actually write down every dollar (and cent) that I spend, as a daily reminder to keep things in check (I lost weight using a similar tactic, writing down everything that I ate). My budget consists of targets/limits in each category of spending, as well as a certain amount of overflow cash that I can use to spend on incidentals.

15 Kluhm

I tried to set up something like this at the beginning of the year. It was complicated, however, by the fact that I am planning on going back to grad school in September. My income will be about half of what it is now, and I don’t have a good handle on how my expenses/taxes/etc will change, but I guessed they would be similar rates and amounts. So I budgeted for the year as if I averaged out my expected income by a factor of 0.875 (8/12*1 + 4/12*0.5), and didn’t include any bonus or expected tax returns, and figured whatever was left would go to savings or investing. It’s a little more complicated than I want, though!

I use Mint to aggregate and track my purchases, but I haven’t gotten the budgeting tools to work exactly how I want and you can’t plan out a year of spending, so I have a companion excel sheet. For example, for utilities, my cell phone and cable bills are pretty static, but other utilities vary a lot, so on Mint either I have to budget for each mini category or them all together.

16 Jeremy C

So how much money do you earn monthly from “punchdebtintheface.com”. Not that I’d normally ask, but seems you’re laying it all out there.

My wife and I use an excel spreadsheet to budget for stuff as well although it ends up higher than I anticipated a lot. Maybe a higher “random” category would be a good idea. Why is your tithe twice as high as your “10% random” column? Not that I’m at all against giving generously, but seems you’re not at 10% for “random”.

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