Sunday, May 4, 2008

Progress Report - April 2008

I use Microsoft Money to keep up with our household budget and keep track of our monthly income and expenses. I love this program because I can break down every category and see exactly where our money has gone (bills, household expenses, gifts, personal items, food, etc.)

I sub-divide those categories into even smaller categories so I can get a more thorough picture.
For example:
FOOD - I have these subcategories
  • Groceries
  • Dining Out
    • Tips for waitress (it's very interesting to see exactly how much money we give to waiters/waitresses each month!)
  • Cologne/Perfume
  • Deodorants
  • Toothcare
  • Haircare Supplies
  • Face Cleansers/Body Wash
  • Razors
It is very easy to enter my receipts in to my program at the beginning or end of each day - takes about 5-10 minutes and this helps me track exactly how much we are spending on what and look for areas to cut back on.

During April, I didn't do too well with my goals for the month. Several reasons for this....
1) Greg didn't receive any bonuses during this month and I didn't receive child support for a couple of the weeks so we were several hundred dollars short this month. But, praise God, I did get to work for a friend one week while she was out of town so I actually brought in a paycheck a little over $300 - that made up a little bit of the difference of what we were lacking.

2) Greg had to travel out of town on business and was gone for a week; with us both working for one week; lots of activities during the month - we ate out entirely too much!

Here were my goals for April and how I plan to do better for May-
  • Cook more meals at home - didn't do this - actually did worse at this last month due to the reasons I stated in #2 above. We did spend less on food in April than we did in March (by $7.00! LOL) but we were still in the $600 range. I am going to start planning Weekly Menus to help me in this area. I used to do this but got away from it because...well, because it requires work and frankly I got tired of doing it. But if I want to get my food expenses down then I realize I am going to have to WORK at it a little bit harder!
  • No money towards the Emergency Fund this month - too short on cash! BUT, praise GOD! I applied for a customer service job (working from home) back in January and I found out last week that I was hired!! So, I start training tomorrow - this will boost our Emergency Fund quickly over the next month!
  • I did pay another $100.00 towards our credit card. I am aiming to pay $500 towards that credit card this month.
Since I've done my end-of-April report and can see where our money went I have found several areas I'm going to work on "tweaking" this month. With my new work-from-home job and Greg's anticipated bonus this month I am hoping to make a dent in that credit card and get most of our Emergency Fund funded.

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