Budget Category Rework

Based on the successes and failures of the February budget, I have decided that I want to change it up again… I like the move to actual monetary values, but I want to display more… or maybe just keep track of more?  I’m not sure, but I feel like some categories just don’t make sense… so I’m going to split up some of my categories, and start keeping track of some “funds”.

It’s going to be a bit messed up starting out, because I don’t have anything designated to the funds yet, but I hope that this will help us going forward.

So, first up, I’m going to review all of my existing categories:

  1. Mortgage & Property Tax:
    This is a fixed monthly expense.  I will leave this as is.  I was budgeting a little buffer in here, but really I shouldn’t bother.
  2. Utilities & Home Insurance:
    These are all things that don’t get paid every month, so this should definitely be turned in to a “fund”.  But other than that, this category is okay by me.
  3. Savings & RRSP Contributions:
    This category included TFSA, RRSP and planned spending.  I think I am going to split up my RRSP/TFSA and the planned spending accounts… planned spending is not really saving, it is just deferring the spending until later.  They are sort of like the “funds” for other parts of the budget, just not as regular (I’m not going to have a Wedding Fund every year.  LOL)  So, this category is going to get split up for sure.
  4. Life Insurance, Medical & Family Expenses:
    Most of the expenses in this category are fixed monthly expenses, but there are always those variable things that come up (like the dentist stuff we’ve had recently), so I think that a “fund” for that might be a good idea.
  5. Cable, Cell Phones & Internet:
    These are pretty much fixed. Unless we somehow go over our minutes or data, this is it. No “fund” needed for that.  And this category is fine with how it is I think.
  6. Car Insurance, Maintenance & Gas:
    I don’t think I need to rework what is in this category, but we definitely need a “fund” for this one. For sure. Maintenance repairs come up and they will cost more money than a monthly allowance will allow. And fuel costs will vary month to month based on activities and the price.  I paid my annual car insurance all at once last year instead of monthly (some computer issue they were having at the time didn’t allow the monthly payment to be set up), so I haven’t paid car insurance in a while, but it is coming up for renewal soon. A “fund” would be helpful for that, though I will probably go for monthly payments again if I can…
  7. Food (& Liquor – including eating out):
    In our internal budgeting documents, I currently include eating out with groceries, and have liquor separate.  This won’t make any difference for the overall category, but I think for our tracking purposes, I want to split out groceries with eating out.  I would like to see if I am actually being successful at being frugal with groceries or not…
    As for a “fund” for this category, since we have been totally over budget each month so far, I don’t think a “fund” would help us.  I want us to spend within the budget that we give ourselves, and that is it.  End of story.  Wish me luck, I’ll definitely need it for this category.
  8. Household Goods & Toiletries:
    I think that a lot of purchases and expenses that are supposed to be in this category end up on grocery bills, and I’m much too lazy to separate them out.  I’m not going to stress about it too much, but I think that this category would do well with a “fund” to save up for bigger household items (like our toaster purchase last month).  When I start getting my garden together, I will need to pay for seeds and such, this will be the “fund” where those come from.
  9. Fitness & Sports:
    The fees for each of my sports teams (I play on multiple…) happen once a year, and then the rest of the year is pretty low for me (other than the occasional race fee).  My fiance’s expenses are a little less structured, so it is hard to predict, but he does a lot as well.  I am going to turn this one in to a “fund” as well.  That way the big fees that I have to pay once a season don’t make too big of a dent on any one month.  As a bonus, if there is lots of extra in the “fund”, I may be able to splurge on some drop in fitness classes with my friends.
  10. Clothing & Personal Care:
    I am probably going to spend more in this category than my fiance does, but I am going to start a shared “fund” for this.  Hopefully I don’t spend it all… But I need to save up for a few items (like new runners) and having a “fund” in place will allow this to not put us over budget.
  11. Misc. Others:
    This category just covered too much stuff.  For example, travel was in here.  I think that travel is more like planned spending, so I will work to move this with the other planned spending funds.  Also, my work expenses were in here, but really those just get reimbursed, so I shouldn’t really include these at all.  (I discussed this in the comments on my post yesterday with C from theSingleDollar.)  I also included my pet expenses, but honestly, the cat food just gets purchased either at the grocery store, or at the same time as vet bills, and vet bills could sort of fall under medical & family expenses (yes, my kitties are part of my family).  Other things that were in this category are gifts, charity donations and entertainment/fun (like movie tickets and the like).  I think those ones still fit in here, so I’ll leave that as my Misc. category.

I’m not exactly sure how we are going to keep track of these “funds” because I don’t want an actual separate account for each “fund” and so they will all be lumped together, but will also be split between my account and my fiance’s account.  (No, despite my long discussion about combining finances, we haven’t really gotten very far in to actually implementing it yet…)  It looks like I might have to get fancy with my spreadsheets… In any case, I think that rework of the categories will help me keep track of things a bit better.  I’ll post tomorrow my March budget with the re-worked categories.

How do you keep track of your “funds”?  Do your budget categories sort of follow what I have here?

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3 thoughts on “Budget Category Rework

  1. I’m very impressed with your discipline here! My husband and I have been struggling to follow a budget for more than a year now. It’s a constant source of stress between us. I’m kind of a little jealous that you and your fiance still keep your finances separate. It might be something you continue to do after your wedding, especially if your ideas about money/budgeting/frugality are different from one another…

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    • It’s not so much that our ideas are different, it’s our enthusiasm levels I think. Plus, I have this blog that keeps me accountable… and he doesn’t actually know I have this blog… or I don’t think he does…

      I would like to get our finances combined because of the future where he will be in school and I will be the single bread winner for a period of time. He also wants our finances combined because he says that if he knows that I’ll be looking at the expenses, he’s more likely to be responsible. LOL.

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      • Oh, I get you on the enthusiasm levels, for sure. My husband has a really hard time staying committed. It’s great that your fiance wants to be more responsible! And it’s so great you two are talking about all of this before the wedding 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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