Balancing Your Monthly Budget

When I was single back in the 1980’s, when my paycheck came I would deposit it and pay all my monthly bills.  I knew what was left after I paid my bills was food and discretionary income. Continue reading Balancing Your Monthly Budget

Budgeting for Christmas

image (37)The average family of four last year was expected to spend between $700 and $1,300 on Christmas, according to We save $40 a month for Christmas, for a total of $480, but that doesn’t include all of our expenses. Here is how the national average breaks down :

Continue reading Budgeting for Christmas

How Do Behavioral Finance Concepts Relate to Budgeting?

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The concept of behavioral finance that most relates to budgeting is mental accounting, which is separating your money into separate accounts.  Doing a budget is mental accounting, because you are separating your money into different accounts where your money is intended to go.  You could also give savings account a specific purpose. Continue reading How Do Behavioral Finance Concepts Relate to Budgeting?

Are Dave Ramsey’s Budget Percentages Wrong?

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This is a consolidation of three widely used recommended percentage budgets from Dave Ramsey, Credit Counseling Advice, and Consumer Credit Counseling Association:

Charitable Giving             0-15%

Housing and Utilities     20-45%

Food                                    5-20%

Transportation                  6-20%

Medical                                2-10%

Clothing                               2-7%

Invest/Savings                   5-13%

Debt Payments                  5-20%

Personal/Recreation        5-10%

When the three are combined for range, the range becomes too wide.  Let’s see if I can justify narrowing it a bit. Continue reading Are Dave Ramsey’s Budget Percentages Wrong?

How Do Americans Spend Their Money?

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics put out the results of their Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2014 this month.  I thought I’d look at the range of spending in the fourteen categories they use, based on household situation, and how our spending compares.  I decided to look at spending based on age, income, city size, employment, and household composition. Continue reading How Do Americans Spend Their Money?

Starting On Our Retirement Budget

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Today is the Day

Today we start our first month of living off our pension income.  Our pensions were electronically deposited today.  For the next four months, we are supplementing our budget  with $400 per month that we saved for personal money and clothing, since it isn’t worthwhile for us to work the rest of 2015 since we don’t want to pay a higher rate of taxes and don’t want to increase our parent contribution for our daughter in college, as calculated by FAFSA.  We plan to work for our personal and clothing money beginning in 2016, since we don’t want to draw on our retirement fund until it is larger.

Our Monthly Retirement Budget: Continue reading Starting On Our Retirement Budget