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bh4rnnr
12-29-2008, 01:53 PM
Thoughts, suggestions, Tips of the trade?

Doing ok with my budget right now, just wanting to step it up a notch. Figure I wont be getting anywhere without a good budget.

tia

:beer::beer:

Romer
12-29-2008, 02:11 PM
To have a good budget you need a plan as to what you want to do.

You need the income

You need to list the must have's

You list the nice to have's

You list the luxeries.

You add in the nice to have's and luxeries until your budget just makes your goal.

Are you wanting to save up XX dollars by such a date, or do you want to save as much money as possible with no defined goal or ??

I hope that helps, thats the logic of a budget, first set the goal and play with the finances to meet it adding in a few extra dollars for emergencies

treerootCO
12-29-2008, 03:36 PM
Pay your rent/mortgage, pay your bills, and buy a beer. If that takes all your money, your done. Very simple budgeting and exactly what I do every month. :hill:

bh4rnnr
12-29-2008, 08:30 PM
To have a good budget you need a plan as to what you want to do.

You need the income

You need to list the must have's

You list the nice to have's

You list the luxeries.

You add in the nice to have's and luxeries until your budget just makes your goal.

Are you wanting to save up XX dollars by such a date, or do you want to save as much money as possible with no defined goal or ??

I hope that helps, thats the logic of a budget, first set the goal and play with the finances to meet it adding in a few extra dollars for emergencies

That's kinda what i'm doing now, though everything is done in my head..

I have goals for saving for a certain date i.e: Cruise Moab, Outlaws Run. Theres also longer term that i've started to think about( more long term for trips than savings).

Just didnt know if theres things that make it better than doing it in my head..

60wag
12-30-2008, 07:13 AM
I've been using the Quicken program for years. I want to know where the money actually goes. It makes it easy to track both your fixed costs and your discretionary spending - although the grand total for the Cruiser is a bit scary.

nakman
12-30-2008, 08:55 AM
Do the whole thing in Excel. Put all your fixed costs in a column, then additional lines for savings, discretionary items, etc. Add up all the -'s, then add up all the +'s, if you're saving the remainder, or robbing from savings when you come up short, should net to zero every month. Then do graphs, pie charts, several what if analyses and experiments. Then later, leverage your Excel & organizational skills to get a job. :D

Jacket
12-30-2008, 09:35 AM
^Same here. Excel isn't the sexiest tool out there, but its simple and it works. First thing would be to get your current expenses documented, ideally over several months to a year so that you have a good baseline of what you spend month to month. And that's all expenses, even when you go out and have a couple of beers.

At that point, you can do the analysis that Romer talks about, and figure out what spending is fixed, what is variable, and where you need to cut back. Compare that to what you bring in, and then you can figure out what your budget should be for the various expenses.

cbmontgo
12-30-2008, 10:13 AM
Bud Light instead of Fat Tire. This has been difficult for me, but it seems to be working so far...

treerootCO
12-30-2008, 02:21 PM
I have a Google doc that I update on a regular basis. There are two basic columns. In one column I put the money I owe Christo, in the other column I put the money I want to owe Christo.

sleeoffroad
12-30-2008, 02:44 PM
Which reminds me, your supercharger is still here :D

nakman
12-30-2008, 03:12 PM
Which reminds me, your supercharger is still here :D
:lmao:

Maddmatt
12-30-2008, 03:34 PM
Yeah, I use Quicken as well, and have for years. On the plus side, it automatically downloads bank statements. This saves me a lot of time, as prior to quicken I was very anal about matching up the monthly bank statements. Doesn't sound like much work, but when it's not you writing most of the checks (why is that women write checks for cups of coffee? $2.61 and you needed a check???:o) it can take an annoyingly long amount of time.

Then at the end of the year you can run a bunch of reports for tax and other purposes - like Bruce said it can be eye opening to see what goes where. We have a problem with going out for dinner too often - it's pretty easy to dial up a report with "dining" as the subject and scare yourself away from restaurants for a couple months. Like everything on a computer, GIGO, so if you don't take the time to record the category on each of your expenses, you're better off just using excel and saving the $35.

But that's all reporting, as in "past-tense". For budgeting, if I was in your shoes (no kids, etc...) I would just do a big picture plan.

How much you make each month, then subtract:
- necessities (rent, food, utilities)
- 2nd level necessities (debts, especially credit card, should be budgeted for and paid off as soon as possible
- 3rd level necessity - emergency savings.

The remainder is expendable - big screens, savings for adventures, good beer, etc...

One thing I've learned, being unemployed for the last 6 months, is that a healthy savings account is essential. Suze Orman says 8 months of expenses, but I can tell you from experience that if you can have 6 months of necessities and 2nd level necessities in the bank, you can stretch it much further in an emergency situation.

One thing this year has taught me is that as soon as I have a "real" job (I have 2 jobs, but neither of them are long term or particularly lucrative) is that I will rebuild that savings account to 8 months or more of expenses even before I pay down the Visa, etc.... I'm fairly well divested into real estate (a desireable house in a desireable neighborhood with a great mortgage) and retirement accounts consisting primarily of mutual and index funds in a different arenas (all of which have taken a beating) but that's all "future" money, none of that does you any good in the here and now. Ready cash is where its at.

So my point is: don't neglect funding a straight up, old school, savings account when you're planning your budget. When the house of cards comes tumbling down you'll be glad you have it.

Beyond that, you probably don't have much in the way of medical bills, but if and when you do, check them carefully. When our babies were being born, (there are lots of doctor visits in the year before and after babies) I was finding billing errors, often in real dollars, at least once a month. Lots of medical billing is outsourced to the lowest bidder (Make millions as a medical biller from your home in 30 minutes a day!) and errors are rampant. After much arguing I've actually had doctor's offices write me checks. Boring work, but checking every line item pays off.

Anyway, that's my opinion.
-Matt

bh4rnnr
12-30-2008, 08:27 PM
Bud Light instead of Fat Tire. This has been difficult for me, but it seems to be working so far...

Funny, I've been contemplating going to new areas. Dixons has a lot of good looking babes. Friday night, I brought 10people down for a few rounds at Wynkoop, cost me 8.25 for the whole shebange,

And why do I go anywhere else?

bh4rnnr
12-30-2008, 08:38 PM
Which reminds me, your supercharger is still here :D

Wow......

sleeoffroad
12-31-2008, 09:02 AM
Wow......
Perry, that was for Treeroot, not you. :D Why would you need a supercharger for chasing chicks at Wynkoop? Or maybe you do :D

bh4rnnr
12-31-2008, 06:30 PM
Perry, that was for Treeroot, not you. :D Why would you need a supercharger for chasing chicks at Wynkoop? Or maybe you do :D

That could go either really good or really bad...........


And thanks all for the suggestions, going to look into some this weekend:cheers:

PabloCruise
01-01-2009, 10:33 AM
Just didnt know if theres things that make it better than doing it in my head..

So plenty of people have already suggested that yes, there are options besides doing it in your head.

Writing down or entering in a spreadsheet, or otherwise giving tangible form to your expenses will have a real impact. It is easy to get a paycheck, think "I'm rich!" and then make decisions that do not serve your long term goals. When you get paid, compare that amount to the sum of your fixed expenses before making any discretionary purchases.

Defining your goals is important. Your original post indicates you want to change your current situation. Putting your goals in written form is importatnt as well.

There is a book out there called Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. He spent around two decades studying the most wealthy people of the early 20th century. One thing he discovered is that anything worth accomplishing is worth writing down. The book deals with "persistence in the attainment of one's goals". Some people swear by this book, others laugh at it. It is worth getting from the library and evaluaing on your own...

Glen
01-01-2009, 11:03 AM
Yeah, I use Quicken as well, and have for years. On the plus side ...
Great post. I like that you are speaking from a place of having done it.



I often think I know of what I need to do but when it comes down to finding out what really works it's often a different story. Something maybe others have come across when trying to figure out what budget style works the best, is also trying to figure out a way to create a budget that actually gets used. I've started a budget many times but one thing or another comes up and I end up not following through. For those of you that are good at making a budget work what kinds of things are you creating in your mind to help keep yourself motivated and focused. Or are there things like the "Think And Grow Rich" book that have been your learning tools for the motivation and drive to stick to the budget? IMHO the concept of budgeting is pretty simple. The mental tools to learn how to create the motivation to follow through on the budget is the Everest.

Romer
01-01-2009, 12:03 PM
My tool is Excel for planning. I use it for Loans, what ifs figuring out college, retirement planning, etc. Excel has a lot of built in functions and you have to spend some time learning them.

I use MS Money to manage and track my finances, but Excel as a budget and planning tool as it is so easy to tweak with changes and then copoy and make a slightly different plan. I sometimes have several worksheets in the same file with different scenarios.

PabloCruise
01-01-2009, 01:30 PM
For those of you that are good at making a budget work what kinds of things are you creating in your mind to help keep yourself motivated and focused...


Not saying I am good at budgeting at all.

My biggest tool is not in my mind at all. It is a sticky note with a 12 month avg of each monthly bill I pay. At the bottom is the sum of my monthly fixed costs. I look at that when I get paid...

bh4rnnr
01-05-2009, 10:36 PM
:beer:My tool is Excel for planning. I use it for Loans, what ifs figuring out college, retirement planning, etc. Excel has a lot of built in functions and you have to spend some time learning them.

I use MS Money to manage and track my finances, but Excel as a budget and planning tool as it is so easy to tweak with changes and then copoy and make a slightly different plan. I sometimes have several worksheets in the same file with different scenarios.


Again, thank you all for the thoughts/advice. I got something started through Microsoft Word. Simple, Basic. Just a matter of stiking to it..... I'm getting a feel for savings, just need to be more hard core about it I guess.... Quiken looks interesting, as does a more in depth spread sheet.......

Thanks again..


:beer::beer:

Hulk
01-05-2009, 11:57 PM
Perry, if you don't have Excel, you can get the same basic application for free by using Google Docs. They provide a basic spreadsheet. Plus, if your computer crashes, you won't lose anything, because it is all online (secure and secret). I have started using Google Docs for lots of stuff in place of Microsoft products.

bh4rnnr
01-06-2009, 09:54 AM
Perry, if you don't have Excel, you can get the same basic application for free by using Google Docs. They provide a basic spreadsheet. Plus, if your computer crashes, you won't lose anything, because it is all online (secure and secret). I have started using Google Docs for lots of stuff in place of Microsoft products.

Thanks Matt, i'll take a look at this.

Hulk
01-06-2009, 11:29 AM
http://docs.google.com/