Budgeting, part 2

Part one is here: Budgeting

Today I will discuss my budget worksheet.

Ideally, I sit down once a month to work on my budget and I usually budget for two to three months at a time. This helps me plan for the quarterly utility and life insurance bills and the twice a year car insurance. Plus, in late June I typically pre-pay my fuel oil for the winter.

That is a financial gamble, but honestly I don’t even look at the oil prices once I pay. For me the convenience of not having an unexpected fuel bill or an extra monthly commitment is worth it.

So even though I have just paid March’s bills, I am planning April and May and trying to find money to hoard for summer as once I get that fuel oil bill paid, the teenager will be headed back to school.

As a salaried employee who gets paid every other week, if I plan carefully I can use the “extra” pay period twice a year to pay those larger bills. If I had myself on a strict four-week budget, that money could be used to go on vacation or pay down my mortgage but alas, I am not that good.

But what I do do is sit down with a blank sheet of graphic paper, jot the current date on it, and write “start balance” on the top. That is the balance of my checkbook rounded down to the nearest $25 increment.

Last night it was $508 and some-odd cents. So I rounded to $500.

Now, bills, regardless of how it seems, come in predictable cycles. So let’s just start with the concept and not continue with the budget I started last night.

I would start writing due dates and who I need to pay in a chronological list.

3/1 car payment

3/5 mortgage

3/7 electric

3/10 American Express

3/13 PAY

3/15 life insurance (quarterly)

3/20 water (quarterly)

3/20 sewer (quarterly)

3/24 cell phone

3/27 PAY

3/28 savings

3/28 Discover

My first pay day in April is 4/10 so that means not only due I have six months of car insurance due before that check, but I also have car payment, mortgage and electric. This is why I plan so far out.

So when I budget, I also estimate my bills, rounded preferably to $100 increments so when they come in under budget that gives me wiggle room and extra money for groceries. In my March budget for example, I budgeted $100 for electric because February is usually cold and dark and I have electric hot water. It was $80 when the bill came in.

And I do the same with my credit cards. I often use my Discover for groceries so I budget $200 a month to pay that card.

My American Express is my card for everything else, like medical bills or an order for the pets at Chewy.com or Petco. I budget $350 for that. Right now, because of my medical bills, I’m dropping $300 on it each pay period. But the point is, I look at not only what I spent on the card so far but what I anticipate needed the card for in weeks to come.

And again, I round. So I might write phone bill ($115) in the first column, but when I subtract in from the balance, I subtract $125.

Then when the teenager hits me up for lunch money I have it.

Leap Day 2020

Happy Leap Day!

Welcome to the extra day of the year.

Last night the teenager and I killed it at the gym. Two really good workouts at the gym this week. Go us!

At the gym

The teen packed my gym back so I was dressed in one color gray and had no socks so I had to work out in my nude knee high stockings. How old fashioned am I to wear nude knee high stockings?

I blended in with the Planet Fitness walls! I did about five minutes of physical therapy stretches in the locker room, then about 20 minutes of weight training, five minutes of sit-ups on the decline bench with a ten pound plate, and the five minutes of stair stepper which amounted to 25 flights.

And then this morning I did something funky to my neck feeding the cats.

Speaking of cats, Fog (the wildest and smartest of the feral kittens we trapped) was tricked into sitting on my lap today.


Nala is doing well. She barely plucking but been having mini temper tantrums. She’s chasing the budgies right now (good thing they can fly). I have to put her back in her cage as I have an 8 a.m. pedicure appointment and it’s 7:25 and I’m not even dressed.

Maybe today I’ll find my ATM card. Damn thing has disappeared. I don’t keep it in my wallet, it never leaves the house unless I am going to the bank. (That’s one of the ways I prevent impulse spending.)

Okay, I hope everyone has a great day. More soon! Especially since Monday I embark on a new adventure to treat my stress-induced high blood pressure.