The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My dad boasts that he doesn't read novels, he reads spreadsheets. I'm am not as well-versed as he is but I have developed an affinity for rows, columns and cells myself. I have taken my new-found love and created a budget for 2011. There are about as many different ways to budget as there are to spend your money and I'll be the first to admit that my budget needs to be modified. As I make the necessary changes to it throughout the year it will become better.
A few weeks ago I asked my dad for some pointers on improving my budget. He gave his suggestions and also said that there is probably a statistic out there that states that those who budget save more. I'd have to agree. Just like the calorie-counting dieter, the budgeter begins to see where to trim the fat from a spending diet. I have noticed that I have been more aware of where I'm spending my money and consequently where I can save it. That's not to say that I don't avail myself of paying a little extra for some conveniences...I love On the Spot renewal at Jiffy Lube. $10 is a small price to pay to avoid the lines at the DMV.
Anyway, this month I am happy to report that I came in $37.74 under my budget goal, I spent 37% less this January over last January, and was able to put a little over 17% of my gross income into my savings account. Initially, it sounds like a triumph but in retrospect those figures could have been even better. Hopefully, the trend continues as I strive to stick to my budget. It's exciting to try and find new and creative ways to save money and eliminate expenses...so, if you have any suggestions, let me know.
Finally, while I geeked out on creating my own budget, there are plenty of budget templates online. Find the one that works for you and stick to it.