Our 2015 budget update – how did we do?

10 thoughts on “Our 2015 budget update – how did we do?”

  1. Congrats staying under budget for the year! It is funny what a sore subject budgets are. We don’t use one because we’re not wired that way, but we’re certainly not anti-budget! 🙂 Instead we just don’t keep most of our income in a place that’s accessible to us, and force ourselves to live on a more restrictive amount — that’s what works for us! And in retirement, we think we’ll give ourselves a monthly “allowance” to live on, but that could change, too. Like you guys, we’re all about staying flexible. Speaking of flexible, I’m amazed that you manage to eat GF and mostly vegan for $350 a month! Groceries just must be cheaper for you guys, because we still can’t seem to get under $500. Oh well… 🙂

  2. Congrats on a great year on keeping track of your budget and spending what you allocated. Grocery is a tricky one, especially with the increasing food price.

  3. I approach budgeting in a similar way, but apply the ‘1 year of spending broken down per month’ to a more extreme 5 year moving average. That helps capture some big tickets: big car or house repair, travel, etc. When nothing changes in our lifestyle, I just add 2% (for inflation) each year to each bucket. Otherwise I adjust the category buckets as we make changes to our lifestyle. To calculate net worth, I put aside any unused budget money (virtually, in my budget/net worth spreadsheet) in the ‘passive/liabilities/provision’ column. Let say that this year I have no car repair, I’ll add the budgeted amount to the car repair provision. I then adjust budget so the provision buckets remains stable long term (5 years horizon). For instance, I had 2500$ in the ‘car repair’ bucket after a few good years with almost no repairs. This fall, I had a got a big repair on my car (2000$). So I simply reduced the provision from 2500$ to 500$ and my net worth did not change (2000$ less in the active/assets, 2000$ less in the passive/liabilities).

  4. Congrats on accomplishing your budget goals for 2015, its hard sometimes to adjust budgets and cut them down when sometimes its hard to shave some off. I hear you with the whole grocery thing; in my family my father has gone gluten free and it has totally shifted how much we spend on food and what we buy. We like to be able to save money by buying a meal that we can all enjoy !Gluten Free!

  5. Emergencies a our downfall in 2015. We would’ve been on budget for the year if our AC didn’t break in November. That is a worry of mine- right now we have steady income… so a glitch like that is easy to handle. But in a few years, we will only have say an emergency fund with say $10k in it — if we have to take $7k our for a new AC, it will take a long time to fill that emergency fund back up without dipping into our investments. Maybe we need to budget for $3k of ’emergency’ a year?

  6. We “budget” pretty much the same way. Just aim to hit an annual goal and don’t worry too much about month to month spending, other than to make mid-course corrections that will get you to year end without blowing the budget.

    I would hate to follow a strict budget and realize “Oops, I spent our $500 grocery budget by the 27th so we can’t spend $10 on the 31st on fresh fruits and vegetables that are on sale and that are healthier to eat than the canned/packaged stuff we already have at home”. Maybe that’s why people get so burnt out on budgeting – the artificial constraints of a monthly budget make life suck too much in some months when unexpected expenses pop up.

  7. You guys are rocking it with your savings rate and focused goals. We don’t have the discipline to take 1/12 of our annual budget and color in-between the lines to smooth it out. It seems like there is to much change and chaos for us to budget that far out.

    Like I said Courtney, you and Steve are super disciplined and this works for you! Do you give lessons?

  8. That sounds like quite a comprehensive lesson. Congrats on sticking so closely to your budgeted amounts. We gave up on categorized budgeting and just go with weekly amounts, but I’m envious of people who can make categorized budgets work.

    I do like that you put expenses in a yearly perspective. We do put aside money each month toward yearly expenses like car insurance. Doing that has saved a lot of grief this past year, since we weren’t suddenly expected to cover $800. Instead, we just transferred the funds out.

    Last year actually went well for us. With the help of the yearly bonus, we managed to make the yearly savings goal. Now we just have to see what we can do this year.

  9. Hey, Courtney. Congratulations on your 2015 budget. Looks like you guys did a terrific job. But more importantly, I’m fascinated with the notion of a capsule pantry/kitchen. I don’t think I need as much variety as I’ve been accustomed to and I would like to simplify my meal choices. So bring it on. I’m looking forward to your insights.

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