Monday, February 8, 2010

February Focus : The Budget

This month's focus is the holiday budget.  Recently, I spent some time going over last year's holiday budget and I did extremely well with my spending.  I spent a little over half my original budget and that included gifts, food, decorations, etc.

Although I was under budget as a whole, certain groups I went a little or quite a bit over budget.  For instance my grocery bill was nearly $100 over budget.  I did not realize I had spent so much.  As for buying gifts, I only spent half of what I budgeted.  Those early sales were a big, big help and I got everyone the perfect gift - just what they wanted.  The most I spent on a gift was $100 and that was the Wii Guitar Hero 5 bundle for my 10 year old niece.  The least amount spent on a gift was $3.50. The ladies in the accounting office where I work received alterd jars filled with a variety of chocolates.  Thanks to having most of the supplies already for making the jars, all I had to do was buy the chocolates to fill the jars (6 total).

Now it's time to get the 2010 holiday budget started. My budget is divided into the the following categories:

charitable donations
greeting cards/postage

The first thing I did was assign a budget to each category. I found this site which has some nice worksheets.  There are 5 worksheets: a general budget, a budget for immediate family gifts, a budget for friends and extended family gifts, a budget for grandkids gifts, and a sheet for planning next year's budget.  Of course I made a few changes to suit my needs.  I like these sheets because I can just enter the amounts and everything is automatically calculated for me. 

Now with the gift category of the budget covered, I still needed a way to track my other expenses (food, decorations, etc).  So I created several more spreadsheets.  The spreadsheets have the following colums: Purchase, Storage Location, Amount and Balance. This will allow me to see how much I'm spending throughout the year and that I don't go over budget.

By the end of the year I will be able to see if I need to make some cuts to my budget or if I can lower my budget for next year.  If this year is anything like 2009, I will be able to lower my budget.

1 comment:

Terra said...

Wow, you are really organized! I contribute to a blog about Christmas, and we start new posts on July 5 this year. It is at
We bloggers there wrote a Christmas book together.