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Tell me everything I need to know about budgets!

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#1 Monica


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 07:36 AM

DH and I seem to have more going out than coming in and I just can’t get a handle on how to manage our finances.

I guess I find it difficult because he gets paid weekly and me monthly so when doing the sums, I just can’t work out a system.

ATM we pay weekly rent out of his pay, a small amount of saving to Nina’s account and another small payment off a loan. There isn’t a lot left after this.
The rest of the utilities/entertainment )too much of this) comes out of my monthly pay. But there is no system, we just spend what we need when we need to.

I was thinking about drawing my money out each month and paying bills manually. Also setting up a file and dividing the cash up amongst each category (groceries, bills, entertainment, saving etc etc)

I’m confused, I just don’t know. Please help, we just don’t seem to be able to get ahead!

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#2 Lizzie1


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:23 AM

I'll be watching too, we just bought a house a couple of weeks ago and are about to pay the first repayment this month unsure.gif

At the moment we are the same as you and don't have a budget at all, we just buy what we would like to and I would really like to get on top of things and track where it's all going!

Hopefully someone is organised and can give us some great ideas!
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#3 CookiesandCream


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:47 AM

When I was working we had a similar set up in pay. I was paid monthly and DH was paid fortnightly.

DH's pay covered the mortgage and spending money, my pay covered all the bills, car loan, food & pets plus a little bit of spending / saving money.

We didn't have a stict budget but I did have an excel spreadsheet that listed our pays and what would come out of them. If something wasn't coming out straight away (such as the mortgage which is paid weekly) than the money would be moved to our high interest account until it was needed. Everything was done as soon as our pays come into the bank account. So bills were paid as soon as my monthly pay went in and then I didn't need to worry about having overdue bills during the month. Money that we needed later (such as mortgage or car loan which were direct debits) were moved into the high interest account which couldn't be accessed by ATM so we didn't have to worry about accidently spending part of that money, it was then moved back into the main account when needed.

Set up our budget looked something like this (with fake figures)

My Pay - $1000

Mortgage - $400
Car Loan - $100
Shopping - $100
Pets - $100
Bills - $300

I pretty much knew what we would spend on groceys each month, how much the total bills would equal for the month (would always bank on an higher amount for electricty and if the bill came in lower than expected than bonus for us) so I would just work on total figures rather than listing each individual bill. If we spent more on grocerys or an unexpected bill come in than it would usually come out of spending money.

I found paying everything straight away (I did the grocery shopping monthly as well as soon as my pay went in) than whatever we had left we felt comfortable spending knowing that everything else was paid for the month / fortnight.

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#4 Lisa~Lu



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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:53 AM

Back when I got paid monthly, and had fortnightly centrelink payments, I used to pay an entire month rent first. I worked out how much approx my yearly bills were, then paid 1/12th of the annual amount either directly to the company - electricity, phone, daycare etc, or into a savings account for annual bills (ie rego)

Once all my fixed expenses were paid I would use the fortnightly Centrelink payments and any money left over from the monthly pay for things like groceries, petrol etc.

Anything left over at the end of the fortnight was put into a savings account.

In regards to how to work out the budget, you need to sit down and write a list of EVERYTHING you need to pay for. Keep all your receipts, and carry a notebook to record all the purchases you make that you don't get a receipt for. Do this for a month, then add up the total.

Once you have the total, start at the fixed, non negotiable expenses - like rent, and then work your way down the list in order of priority. If this list exceeds the monthly incoming amount, start cutting from the bottom of the list, until you get to a managable amount.

Also, shop around, check you are getting the best deal on things like insurance and phone plans. Sell stuff online. Don't purchase anything that will cost you in interest - so no credit cards.

#5 KiJo


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:14 AM

We have a budget, but DH gets paid weekly, and me fortnightly so I think it's probably alot easier to manage then being paid monthly.

Basically we give ourselves a set amount per week to spend on whatever we like - whether that be alcohol, going out for dinner, buying new clothes etc... the rest of our money either goes off our mortgage, bills & into savings. We have it sorted so that our mortgage repayment comes out every fortnight, the day after my pay, so my wage basically pays for that and then the rest gets left in the account as a contingency. DHs wage gets used for our weekly spending money, groceries (set amount per week), then the rest of the money gets transferred into a savings account with some of it being for genuine 'savings' and other part being for bills. When our bills come up we just withdraw the money out of our savings account & pay.

If you are having trouble, I would suggest withdrawing the money out of the account and working off envelopes of cash or something. I find that unless you have a budget, its so easy to spend above your means & its a horrible feeling of being out of control.
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#6 mango


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:45 AM

I agree set an excel spread sheet up with ALL your expenses (it might take a couple of weeks/months to have everything on there,, I know I forgot a couple of irregular things).
What I did was listed all my expenses down one column. Next column = how much (which I have overestimated). Next column how often they get paid (monthly, 3monthly, fortnighty ect.). Next column using excel functions calculated how much that was monthly, next column how much fortnightly (DH pay = monthly, my centrelink = fortnightly).
I then organsied all the expenses in how they get paid. So big bills and DD are all together and a total for them is calculated at the bottom (again I used excel functions) money for these go into an account that I don't touch except to pay bills, Then things that get paid on the Cr Card - totaled underneath - money gets transferred straight there to cover the bills. Then there are other bits and peices.
Off on the side I have DH's and my income. I then have a long subtraction showing where all the expenses are coming out (I used the excel generated totals for each section to do this, and excel functions to calculate each subtraction and running totals). Then I can work out whos pay pays for what and make sure everything fits into our budget. I have then gone back threw and prettied it up and bolded weather I have used the monthly totals or fortnightly, so its easier to read.
Sounds complicated but once set up its awesome because I can update my bill figures and everything else updates from there. I have then set my internet banking to automatically transfer the money to wear it needs to be after each pay so I don't need to think about it all. I just go on and pay the bills when they come in. Its working brilliantly the money is always there for our bills and what is left in the account we have linked to cards is ours to spend on crap.

#7 Lollies


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 10:34 AM

We don't really budget, but we have a system for bills that has really taken away a lot of stress.

Each payday we have an automatic transfer into our bills account, then the next day an automatic transfer is paid to each bill.

eg. Every Wednesday:

$70 Debt repayment
$22 Electricity
$27 Rates
$15 Gas
$15 My Mobile
$20 Hubby Mobile
$21 Landline/ Internet
$60 Daycare
$20 GE card
$** School fees
$** Car loan
$** Home loan

When each bill comes in, I can double check that I've paid enough & adjust weekly payment accordingly.

Anything remaining in that account is our savings.

In your situation, I would probably use the whole monthly pay to pay rent & loans, and the weekly pay for day to day expenses & bills. Obviously you could use some of the monthly towards bills depending on how much was remaining after rent & loans.
Married 7th April 2006 ~ Happily Ever After

#8 Angel_Elle


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 10:42 AM

we do something similar to Jazy, we have a spreadsheet done up for each month. Up the top has an income section where its shows fortnightly payments (centrelink), DH pay (fixed guaranteed amount then on another line his overtime amount). That totals and gives us what we have for the whole month.

Under that is all the expenses. I have it seperated into 5 sections.
Bills (usually have a fixed amount as such and dont vary alot) then monthly direct debits (car repayments insurances etc - seperated as i move the money to a sub-account then have a automatic transfer setup up so it is in the account the same if nto a day before they are due)
Bills to set aside for (rego etc) and move this money out so it cannot be spent but its ready for when the item is due
General Daily expenses (all the expenses that can change - fuel, food, drinks etc)

Each of my expense sections have subtotals then i have a total expenses line and then the net effect (Savings less expenses) which tells me how much i have left over.

And also in each month sheet (iv done for the whole financial year) its also split into columns - Budget and Actual cost with a difference - helps us when we review each month and see if we need to adjust budgeted figures. Also have a third column to keep payment reference details - easier to refer to my spreadsheet then get the file out.

And i also have a seperate sheet just for taget goals - savings so it automaticly calculates where we budget savings to be at and where we are at. Great for us to realise we are behind and can top it up.

Hmmm after typing that up i just realised i go to alot of effort to keep on track financially. But also the way i have the spread sheet i can adjust figures as i get bills so once we get paid its only a matter of refering to the sheet not each bill.

Hope this helps
Sean & Mechelle 28th Oct 2006

Amylia 29 Oct 2007 Liam 17 Mar 2009 Daniel 21 Feb 2011

#9 kisma


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 11:19 AM

Sit down with a pen and paper and list everything you possibly can that you need to pay over a year. I would probably then split all the costs fortnightly with the way you are paid. Include everything, haircuts, wax, swimming lessons, birthdays, etc and see where the money needs to be going.

I budgeted best when we had sub accounts to our main account. And then we split everything up into categories and into each account. Ie one was water/elec/rates etc, then another may have been food/haircuts/entertainment etc, another rego/insurance/maintenance. I think there were six sub accounts? Then each pay would get split up into each account, so when a bill came in there was money sitting there to pay it off.

I need to get back into doing it after years of not, but can't get into the groove of it yet. I am however trying to meal plan for a fortnight and stick to a budget for food. Man that takes some time and effort, does my head in. But im sticking to a budget for the first time ever with food. Im sure Im doing it the hard way (getting the menu decided then jumping on woolies or coles and doing an online shop, then if need be seeing where I can cut back or what I can add in), but at the moment I cant figure out any other way of doing it.

Best of luck. Honestly I think its going to take a bit to get used to/get a 'system' that works for you happening.
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#10 Rosita


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 11:25 AM

Monthly pays are hard, as every three months is a five week month. Can you put your pay in an account and draw on it weekly?

Is there any felicity in the world superior to this?

#11 Jaydee


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:19 PM

We do a budget off a weekly pay, which sounds far easier than monthly. I'd be likely to just pretend it was weekly and work a budget you can stick to.

You really need to list ALL of your expenses. How much you want to save each week, rent/mortgage, insurance, rego, how much petrol you need to buy each week... we do a 'spending money' category as well which covers things like birthdays, haircuts, meals out etc as they need to happen.

And it's never going to work if you're not realistic. Our grocery budget is $200 per week. DH would love to see that down to $150, $120 even but the reality is that $200 is an accurate limit for how we like to shop/cook/eat. Better to be realistic and create a budget you can stick to rather than constantly being over and then wondering what the point is.

For us, another important thing is that our savings each week are the first thing to come out (into another account)- and once they're out, they're not touched. But we are saving- madly- for a house deposit so it's our primary focus.

For quite a while I used to withdraw the cash allocated for our weekly groceries, and then whatever was leftover was my 'extra' money, or I'd use it for bread/milk/wine wink.gif later in the week. I also used to withdraw the amount set aside for 'spending' at the start of the weekend (DH was paid on a Friday and also, that's really when we would have things like meals out/takeaway/DVDs/etc etc) and once that was gone, that was it. That really helped adjust to living off a strict budget and, when it's cash, you really see where it's going rather than using EFTPOS for everything and then realising you've gone over without meaning to.

And then it's just a matter of sticking to it.

#12 aChocLover


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:21 PM

I'm married to a spender, and whilst we did a budget way back, we're bad for following it - however, some things we did that were associated with the creation of the budget are worthwhile. It also made us have a reality check about what we were spending our money on and where we could cut/save. I can only talk from experience - this is what worked for us...

Firstly - we started an excel spreadsheet. At the top, we noted our income. I created one that showed each fortnightly pay cycle. I grabbed all our bills and sorted them. (It took a few months to sort through and note each bill and the amount). For those quarterly bills, such as electricity and rates or annuals such as insurance and rego - I divided the expense (we did it fortnightly due to our pay cycle but it depends on how you want to manage your money). I included once-off and randoms (vets, presents, christmas etc) and little things that you don't really think of such as overdue fines, interest on credit cards etc.

Secondly - We created some different bank accounts (ours are sub accounts to our main). We have 4 - the total of 4 all offset against our mortgage. We have -

Main account (where our income comes into)
#2 - Bills Account
#3 - Schooling & Tuition Account
#4 - Savings

Finally - Same as kisma, I added up the column of expenses from the excel spreadsheet and whatever that amount was, I immediately set up a transfer the day after pay day, to the bills account (or when it was school fees/sports fees etc for the kids, to that account). Then after I had a bit of a balance in there, I started scheduling bills (on their arrival) to be paid from the bills account the day (or 2) before they were due.

That way, anything in the main account could be considered for entertainment/slush or alternatively redirected into savings. Although I'll admit I should transfer money to savings as I do with bills, as it's a battle of the wills to not over indulge because the money's there!

Hope you get enough ideas from everyone to find something that works for you smile.gif

#13 Cole29*



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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:44 PM

DH is paid monthly and me fortnightly. I have a word doc set up (purely because Excel shits me laugh.gif ). Every second Wednesday when I get paid I go and look at my doc and it remidns me what is to be paid and then I pay those things. Every fortnight has loan payment, groceries, train ticket, and then bills like internet, mobile phone, insurance are split between the fortnights depending when in the month they are due. Daycare fees always come out of the first fortnight in each month, so I then allow for petrol and other things to come out of the second fortnight so it all balances out. When DH gets paid on the 15th of each month I know to put aside enough for mortgage payment, and monthly payments on water/gas/electricity/rates - I find making monthly payments on these works so much better than waiting till the bill arrives - and again the leftover is split between savings and spending.

I then allocate a certain amount to savings and a certain amount to spending.
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#14 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:53 PM

This is my favourite budget planner, from the AMP website.


I've been using it for a few years, once you enter your details you can save it as an excel sheet (which is what I've been updating, not doing a new online on all the time!) so it's really handy.

#15 drom


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 01:12 PM

Like the other girls we also use an Excel spreadsheet. Ours is setup to list:

Due Date:
Expenditure Amount;
Income Amount;
Payment Type (Automatic drawing/deposit or manual payment we need to make)
Running Balance

Our spreadsheets starts with a column that has an Opening Running Balance. Say you have $3000 in your account. Then it lists (by due date) for a 12 month period (we work on financial year with our budget - so 1st July 2011 to 30th June 2012):

all expenditure (bills and other outgoings) and
all income (pays and other income)

With the running balance being updated accordingly

Bills that are due quarterly, 6th monthly or annually, I either allocate them to the date they are due for the full amount. Or split them into their monthly cost if choosing to spread the cost. Eg our house rates are due annually and I normally divide the total by 12 and allocate a monthly payment to a date and transfer the $$ on that date etc.

I find it works well to see all our incomings and outgoings and how we are tracking at any given stage. Especially if unexpected things occur...


Item______________Pymnt Type_____Due Date____Expenditure___Income____Running Balance
Opening Balance __________________15thOct_____________________________$3000
Mortgage__________Monthly________17th Oct______$500___________________$2500
ADSL Bill__________Monthly________19th Oct______$70____________________$2430
Salary____________Fortnightly______20th Oct___________________$5000_____$7430
Insurance_________Monthly________25th Oct______$400___________________$7000
Groceries__________Weekly________26th Oct______$250___________________$6750
Petrol_____________Weekly________27th Oct______$100___________________$6650
Electricity Bill_______Qrtly__________1st Nov_______$500___________________$6150
Rates_____________Annual_________5th Nov______$1000___________________$5150

Hope this helps.

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