Monday, October 1, 2007

Monthly Progress Report - September 2007

Well, September is over. I spent the evening going over our financial records to find out how we did sticking to the budget this month.

The first thing I have to report is that I found a great way to calculate the money we spent. (Most of you probably already know about this!) We have been paying our bills on line for a while now and I check our account almost daily to check our expenses, etc. While I knew that we could export our bank info to software such as Quicken (and I tried this for a brief time a very long time ago, but found it too tedious to hand enter the other entries into Quicken) - what I did not realize is that I could export the bank date to Excel!!!! This was quite a revelation for me and made it sooooo much easier to track our expenses. I simply exported the data to Excel, quickly categorized each transaction and then sorted the data by category (which is also something I learned to do for the first time this evening!).

These great realizations are going to help us quite a bit in finding out how our actual spending compares to our budget!

So, what were our results for September?

Well, at first I was disappointed to find out that we went over budget by $400.76. Then I started to think about how that didn't make sense since we came in under budget in virtually every category. Then it hit me. Our debt payments. We budgeted $1,100.00 for debt payments but actually paid $1,668.84 toward our debts! So, this was a good thing! We went over budget in debt payments!!

I decided to make the extra payments on one of our credit cards because we had some extra income (some money from my previous earnings just rolling in now!) , so we decided to pay off our lowest credit card in full! So, we are down to just 2 debts left (not counting the home mortgage). We have 1 credit card left and our HELOQ.

It feels so good to be down to only 2 debts. Although we still have a hefty balance on those debts, it is so much easier to focus our attention on 2 than on 5!

The budget news wasn't all good though. The other category where we went over budget was grocery. This is especially not good since I allotted a hefty $480 for the month, and we ended up going over by $265.20!! So, I definitely need to pay more attention to this category! (and I used to pride myself on my frugal grocery shopping. Need more focus here!)

But, all in all I am very happy with our progress this month. Not counting the extra money we spent on debts, we came in $170.00 under budget. So pretty good.

Earnings this month were not really so good at only $600.00. That's $400 under my goal of $1,000, but I think we are moving in the right direction.

Haven't finished the October budget yet, but will try to get that posted tomorrow.