High-Level Personal Budgeting For 2015

We’re one week into the New Year and I’m trying to see if I can plan more than just my contributions to my RRSP & TFSA for 2015. With multiple vacations and a wedding this year, there’s a lot of big expenses that will take priority over small daily and weekly indulgences.

While I greatly admire endeavours like Anna’s Spending Fast or Cait’s Year-Long Shopping Ban, I’m not one to adhere to extreme methods to manage my spending. I don’t need to, and I don’t want to, so I won’t. Nevertheless, I don’t want to spend $1,000 on coffee that could have been better allocated elsewhere.

For this reason, I’m trying to adopt a full year’s perspective on my spending.

It’s very easy to budget for fixed costs like rent or Netflix, which are the same every month, but what I’m really seeking to manage are things like dining out and spending on clothes. All of my savings are transferred out of my chequing account and into the accounts they belong as I am paid, but my discretionary spending isn’t allocated in any specific amounts, and I have no set monthly limits.

Here is my 2015 Discretionary Personal Budgeting for 2015:

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 4.36.34 PM

(For those that are curious, I use Money by Jumsoft to manage all my finances, and I set this budget up directly in the app and this is a screenshot of it)

 

The yellow indicates that if we were to breakdown the budget on a daily or weekly basis, I’m already edging over in those categories for this year. Thankfully, this is a no spend weekend so I should fall back under budget in the next few days!

Mixed Categories (include personal spending + some joint spending):

Wedding, Vacation, Dining Out, Alcohol, Gifts, Household, Leisure

Personal categories (exclusively my personal spending):

Coffee, New Clothes, Jewelry, Charity, Personal Care, Online Business

I don’t track my fiancé’s spending (he’s responsible for that!), but I do track what comes out of the joint account. We still keep most of our spending separate, except for shared expenses four our household which comes out of our joint account, but occasionally we will buy things like dinner out or event tickets from the joint account. I don’t care for the minute details of my budget, which is why I don’t separate these categories into things like “joint gifts” and “individual gifts”, but it is important to recognize all of these number in the budget are inflated to include my spending plus our spending (and as I said before, his spending is his own).

For the categories that are exclusively mine, I didn’t follow any formulas like taking a percentage of my income. My whole strategy was merely thinking about what I felt was appropriate or comfortable, and putting that number down. This is not necessarily a method I would recommend if you’re new to budgeting, but in my situation I have a good intuition of what I can afford without breaking out a calculator. For the numbers that seem “big” remember, 1) some of these are joint expenses and 2) my fiancé and I are DINKS = dual income, no kids — and dual big incomes at that. I have no qualms about spending $500/yr on coffee, no matter what The Latte Factor says.

So I’m not setting any strict rules of how much I can spend in a week or a month,

but I will check my annual budget every so often to see if I need to scale back in one category. 

For me, this is budgeting enough. I track my money down to the penny but I’m not going to plan down to the penny!