Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year, A New Budget

Every year at this time I pull out all our bills and do an annualised budget/financial calendar for our family. I plot out how much money needs to be put aside each pay in order to meet the big bills as they arrive throughout the year.

I factor savings into this budget, and consider all of the bills and expenses that can be expected throughout the year. I also allow for day to day living expenses, and usually the amount left over gives me an idea how much I should be saving each pay.

I have a negative number this year. Each fortnight, after I put money aside for all my expenses, I have -$36. I am so shocked, it's the first time in years I haven't had a surplus, even if it's small.

We don't have heaps of area's that we can cut back, our grocery budget is slim, our entertainment budget is non-existent as we have been lucky to have lots of tickets and opportunities through the blog lately that have become our "fun", so that leaves the kids extra curriculars. Much as I hate to do it, this is one of the main luxuries that we spend our disposable income on, so we are having to scale back.

This frustrates me enormously, because by cutting back in this area we are impacting a couple of small business owners as well as the kids. Our budget stresses flow through to the wonderful people who make their living nurturing our children's talents. Having become close to some of these people over the years, I know how much small business owners can struggle to make ends meet themselves. But the flip side is that I've seen families who have not made the decision to scale back when they should, and have ended up with, and walking away from, a debt from their kids activities. This is horrible for everyone, so I am pulling us back to a level we can honestly afford.

This is not a boo hoo post. We are not in hardship - we can afford to feed our kids, we can afford to cloth them, and each kid still gets to do a class of something they love. We are super fortunate still and we know it.

Many bills have crept up, our insurances seem to have skyrocketed in the last year or two, and Maddy's braces are a big chunk of cash each pay. If you haven't reviewed your finances this year, make it part of your New Years Resolutions. It's always better to know what you are dealing with, than keep paying everything blindly and hope it all adds up.

Have you been stung by rising costs this year? Do you review your budget on a regular basis?


1 comment:

  1. I do a budget, and yes we have a negative surplus, but we do the best we can each week that goes by. My aim is to look at private health insurance because we no longer need some of the services we pay for.

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