I have never managed to budget money. Once or twice I have attempted to set up a system, but always felt that I didn’t really know how to put it in place or make it fit me. Over the past month I have asked a handful of people on how they budget and it turns out that everyone has their own system. A friend was kind enough to share a sample of her budgeting spreadsheet for me and I have spent a couple of hours tonight trying to get it set up and adjusted to me.
This started off with the essentials – colour coding [priorities!], formatting and formulas, as well as deciding what columns I should have in the outgoings section. That was actually easier than I thought as I just had to look through my online banking for the month. I have settled on the following categories:
- Rent – Self-explanatory.
- Council Tax – Self-explanatory.
- Bills – Self-explanatory.
- Travel – Includes weekly bus passes and train travel.
- Abel & Cole – - Self-explanatory.
- Food – Additional food, like bread.
- Takeaway – Of which I have too much.
- Cigarettes – Self-explanatory.
- Phone – My phone is PAYG, but I top up £10/month to receive unlimited texts plus £20 every six months for unlimited data.
- Toiletries & Cleaning – Self-explanatory.
- Going out – Covering all going out from coffee to restaurants and pubs.
- Clothing – Self-explanatory.
- Presents & Donations – Self-explanatory.
- Spotify & Xbox Live – Includes the £9.99/month for Spotify Premium and MS Points purchased on Xbox Live.
- Amazon – Most of my online orders are through Amazon.
I think the main reason I hadn’t managed to budget before was that I wasn’t sure on how to track things properly and whether I should document what I spend or only spend what I am allowed to. For the time being I am planning to track what I do spend without forcing myself to adjust though I am already shocked that I can’t account for some money just eleven days into the month.