My pen and notebook budgeting system is really hardcore. It comes down to the last day of the month every time to see where things will net out. We have all kinds of factors that come into and out of play:
- – Did either of us travel this month and therefore do we have an expense report or two that needs to be reconciled?
– Were our monthly bills lower than expected? (Ours are almost always lower than we expect and instead of lowering that budget I use this as “found” money which certainly isn’t the best system but it’s a system none-the-less!).
– Did we go over our fuel budget? (We almost always do)
– Did we over/under spend our food budget?
– Did we over/under spend our everything else budget?
– Did we over spend last month and need to recoup extra dollars to put towards savings in this month?
Then comes the fun stuff. What do we get to ADD back into our numbers? This past month has been especially fun:
1. I got a gift card from work for doing my annual health screen.
2. I did a really weird video survey in exchange for $100 through our insurance company.
3. We got reimbursement from a doctor for an appointment that was 8 months ago (Kirby says this isn’t “found” money since we paid them initially but I disagree. We accounted for the expense last November and now we’re getting credit back, so that counts as “found” to me and I’m running this ship :))
4. I got money for my birthday. This is the best kind of money – appreciation, celebration money.
5. We cashed in on a reward from a survey site that resulted in a free tank of gas. I’m a little bit obsessed with the concept of using my in-between-other-projects time to make money and this is SO easy to do it’s ridiculous. If I had more time lying around I’d probably be able to earn a tank of gas a month, but I’m on an every-other-month system right now which equates to an extra $300 in savings a year. Nothing to sneeze at!
- How do you track you “found” money and how do you spend it?
Where do you find money in your budget?
What is your philosophy on new found money?
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