I have a new budget!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Well, it's not a new budget, it's just a re-vamped budget. I have decided that since I am a visual person I am switching (partially) to the envelope budgeting system.

As I am a high-fashion gal (hahahaha), instead of using enveloppes I am using the most adorable coin-purses from Espe. The coin purse is the same size as this, but has the design of the birds on the main page. They are very cute. The original plan was to get five of them, but there were only four matching ones (I'm a little obsessive about matching things...) at the store, so I bought the four. I now have a black, white, orange and green one. I'm checking a different store this afternoon to see if they have another one. I have also color-coodinated my budget spreadsheet to reflect the colors of the coin purses.

I combined the sections from my old budget and re-worked them into four new categories:

(The first one is this months (color-coded) and the bottom one is next month's (reworked).
These categories are Food, Transportation/Communication, Personal and Entertainment. I'm still looking for another coin purse for the Misc. category, but until then it rests happily in the "Personal" category.

My Food category constitutes anything I put in my mouth: groceries, eating out, vitamins, drinking out, etc.

My Transportation/Communiation category is anything to do with getting around and talking to people. Right now it covers any bus passes (I won't need another until May) and my $40-ish cell phone bill. I rarely pay gass unless it's for friends for road trips and such.

My Personal category constitutes anything I put on my body as well as put all my other shit in. Things like toiletries, clothes, purses, bags, jewelry, etc. Right now it also contains my Misc. category, which has things like gifts, stationary, housewares, etc.

And, finally, my entertainment category. This includes everything I enjoy. Things like books, admissions, technology and general non-food going out.

I find that having large categories is much easier for me than lots of small ones. I will go months without using the $15 I have budgeted for books, but will overspend by $15 a month in other categories. It makes me feel bad seeing the red, even though in reality, I haven't overspent my total amount.

On top of that, this way I can see while I'm out shopping, how much cash I have left. On days where I work, I religiously put my spent money into my spreadsheet. But at home, since I'm running the stupid Windows Vista, I cannot access my spreadsheet. Just like when I'm at the mall, I can't track exactly how much I have left the spend, and sometime end up overspending without knowing it until I return to the spreadsheet. This way, I can peek into the coin purse, and know exactly how much I have left to spend.

I also have a new budget breakdown. I have decided to break it down weekly, because otherwise, $800 is a lot of money to be carrying around. Plus, I don't get paid until the 15th of the month, so the first few weeks of the month would depend on the last few weeks of the previous month - very confusing.

Here is the new plan:

On Mondays, on my way to work (there's a bank on the train line), I will withdraw $200. When I get back to the office, it will be broken up like this:

  • $63 is Food
  • $12 is Transportation
  • $50 is Personal
  • $25 is Entertainment
  • $50 is Misc.

Fortunately there is change readily available at the office so I can break this down properly.

Another good thing about the coin purses is that they are roomy enough to keep both the receipts as well as my club/savings cards (like safeway card or other non-fee points cards) in the appropriate sections. Cards that have no specific sections (like bank/VISA cards) or cards with more than one section (Air Miles, Shopper's Drug Mart - groceries/toiletries/gifts) go in a little card holder that I already own.

I am very excited about implementing this system. I am looking forward to seeing how it works. Hopefully I will carry it forward to use in London, where I would much prefer to use an all-cash system rather than my Debit/Credit Cards, where, as TD told me, I'll pay a $5 CAD fee (as well as 2.5% interest fee) everytime I want to take out British Pounds. Yikes!


Esme said...

Those are so cute. I have a wallet from them. Anyway, I think the envelope/purse budgeting is a great idea.

I agree it is expensive taking money through the ATM when you are traveling. The exchange rates are crap too. And remember the daily ATM withdrawal limit so you can't even take out a whole lot to save on the $5 fee. Credit cards are a little better. They give better exchange rates and charge 2% on top.

Anonymous said...

I like it! What's your plan when you have just a tiny bit left in a purse (I mean like a quarter or $1.02)? Save it for the next month like you would with the spreadsheet?

I was thinking a cool idea that would work well with this is to take your loose change at the end of each month and add it to your savings.

Then again, it might just sound good it theory. :)

Looking forward to hearing how this works for you, and love the purses!

Canadian Saver said...

Why oh why did you have to post the Espe link? I hadn't been to their site in about 3 months... I love their purses!!! (and wallets too!)

The colors are the best!

Your spreadsheet is very cool!