Monday, December 18, 2006

The Fun of Budgeting

I just love working on my budget. There is something so satisfying about closing out your monthly budget when everything has stayed within your budget goals (or come under budget).

It's even more fun now that I've paid off my credit card debt, because I can increase the budget a bit in some areas. Since I've freed up $185 a month, I can allocate that money to other categories in my budget, like Groceries, Savings, and Mortgage Paydown (which is a subcategory in my Savings category).

I'm always within budget in all spending categories now, but it took a while to get it down pat. In the beginning, I would overbudget and end up with money just sitting in a category.

Now, that might seem like a good thing, but when that money could have been in my savings account earning interest, I consider it a lost opportunity. (You might want to have a category to make sure you don't overdraw your account, call it Cushion or Overdraft protection, and make sure you keep $10 or $20 in it.)

Another thing that I think is fun about working with my budget is being able to watch my savings grow. Since I have a separate spreadsheet within my budget for each spending category, I can keep track of both my spending and my savings totals. And, with weekly deposits going into my savings categories, there's that immediate gratification of watching the numbers go up each week.

Budgeting is fun for me, and it will be for you too, once you get the hang of it. If you have a weekly or monthly deposit going into your savings account, you will feel deeply satisfied as you watch it grow.