Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What's Wrong with My Budget?

Let's play a game called what's wrong with my budget. Here's what it looks like. Tell me what you think is missing. What's too high? What's not high enough?

Note: the below percentages are for post-tax income. I put 6% of my pre-tax income into my 401K and I've been doing that since I was 21. *patting myself on the back for that one*

Tithes - 10.0%
Short Term Savings (for CC debt repayment) - 29.7%
Rent - 22.9%
Living Expenses - 6.6%*
Student Loan 1 - 8.2%
Student Loan 2 - 2.1%
CC Payment 1 - 4.8%
CC Payment 2 - 1.3%
CC Payment 3 - 1.3%
Laundry/Cleaners - 2.2%
Groceries - 3.4%
Gym Membership - 2.5%
Discretionary Funds - 5.0%

*Living expenses include: Cable, Internet, Netflix, Cell Phone & Electricity

Here's what I think:
Problem 1: I have no long term savings.
Problem 2: There is no budget for trips, gifts or dining out. (I know good and hell well I'm not going to stop taking trips, going to weddings and baby showers or eating out with friends. No matter how hard I try). That money will come out of short term savings and then I won't reach my CC debt repayment goals. As usual, I'm trying to do too much, but I can't really see it any other way. I always aim high and fall short, rather than being uber-realistic.

Most financial experts say pay yourself first (savings), but I have a very hard time putting money away when I owe money. It seems silly, but it's the honest truth.

So, who can talk some sense into me? Do any of you have budget templates/expert formulas that work well (or seem like they would work well)?


South Loop Social Light said...

You could possibly get rid of 2 of your credit cards and just use the one with the best rate/limit. The money you're using for your short term credit card repayment isn't bad, but you're probably still using your credits so why not get rid of that.

K to the... said...

While I don't have any templates to help, I can say I do put money to the side every paycheck. $50 is automatically moved to my savings before I wake up in the morning on payday...been like that since graduating from undergrad. Even if it's only $20, something should always be put to the side because it does build up. You'll be amazed.

Natalie said...

I agree stop using the cc or close at least two of them if you cant control yourself. Try using cash and if you dont have the cash maybe you dont need it:) Good luck

Product Junkie Diva said...

Dang I see my idea is already taken..lol After reading your list I was immediately thinking that once you pay off those credit cards just leave them alone. You can then put what you used to pay on the cc bills into a savings account. Although some financial experts say get rid of cell phones, I won't go that far but maybe you can get a cheaper plan....perhaps. I don't know what Netflix will cost you each month but maybe that is a treat that you can go without along with....cable...yeah I said it..lol cable. Now forever but maybe you can get rid of the extras just until you get things under control and you feel that you are in a position to have those extras without draining your pockets. If anything take a look at what you could be saving if you get rid of those items and maybe it will be worth it to you. Ok too harsh? Well instead of getting rid of cable maybe you can get a very basic plan.