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Old 06-30-2012, 10:28 AM   #21
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We are going through a pleasant transition year because (1) have started SS just a few months ago and (2) DS graduated college and actually got a job. So this year we will spend around 4% of current portfolio. Maybe a bit less.

I do keep a spending spreadsheet. At the end of each month I log that month's spending and that takes maybe 10 minutes. Each tab on the spreadsheet is one year's budget. This has evolved into quite a helpful tool. I don't track all spending categories in detail, just major discretionary purchases and taxes and vacations.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:20 AM   #22
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DW and I are doing okay at the halfway point. We've spent a little more than planned but nothing that's going to break the bank. Some of the expenses are once a year things that will not have a corresponding expense in the second half of the year so overall things look pretty good.

2012 will be out first full year of FIRE so we're in uncharted territory for our household. Looks good so far.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:43 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by lemming
Just want to say what a lousy POS I think Mint is. It combines info from my mortgage with checking so it double books things. and adds in my reinvested dividends as negative expenses. I'm ready to give it up and set up my own ss, now that I've got access to google docs.

I've been pretty close to my monthly expenses. Actually under for medical, groceries and utilities.
Ill second that. I thought it may be informative and maybe somewhat interesting to track things this way, but it was a PIA. I quit using it. I haven't tracked my monthly budget in over a year, so I wrote down every expense for June. It came a few bucks under what it did 2 years ago, so things are fine. I have become so set in my ways I don't need to budget.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:59 AM   #24
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Don't have the cc bills in for June expenses, but I expect we'll be right on track.
I forgot to add....

Even tho I got these diamond flip flops...we'll still be on track...and I didn't have anything in the diamond budget.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:02 PM   #25
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Ill second that. I thought it may be informative and maybe somewhat interesting to track things this way, but it was a PIA. I quit using it. I haven't tracked my monthly budget in over a year, so I wrote down every expense for June. It came a few bucks under what it did 2 years ago, so things are fine. I have become so set in my ways I don't need to budget.
I can relate to being set in one's ways and not needing to budget. I do track my spending anyway (in an Open Office spreadsheet), because I always have and because I find it reassuring for some reason.

You two are making me feel glad that I never started Mint. I was tempted, but I didn't because I just don't like giving the passwords to my financial accounts to too many software packages. I'd prefer to enter the information manually and I"m not sure Mint allows for that.

For me, the ideal software package would just deal with spending. It would let me do all the entries, and yet would provide a pretty, fun, pleasing user interface, do summaries and comparison with how I did in the past, would provide charts and graphs, and wouldn't require any further monthly/yearly fees after buying it or revealing my personal financial information online either. Haven't seen one like that, yet. So, I just use a spreadsheet.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:21 PM   #26
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I'm at an average of $1330/mo thru the first half of the year. My budget is $1250/mo so not doing the greatest but i'm confident i'll get it down there. Summer electric bills are usually under $50/mo and canceling cable will save me $100/mo. I may be down to $1250/mo by the end of Septmeber.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:46 PM   #27
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Budget?
That is my system. I never had a budget in my life, so I don't feel much need to begin now. I just try to be sure that when I spend money, I get satisfaction.

Barring really bad luck, I believe that I have a perpetual income generation system. Since my divorce, I have not had to withdraw any money from my investment accounts, beyond the monthly income falling into them. I did withdraw principle to buy my condo for cash. I did not like to do this, but it seemed like the least of various evils. The cash offer did help me close a harder bargain with a frustrated seller than I otherwise might have. In retrospect, at least with this short followup, it worked well. Two smaller, less attractive units in my same building have since sold for more than I paid for a much nicer, corner unit-and one of these was in the basement, and 25% smaller than mine.


I don't spend capital gains- although if my plan changed to one that relied more on CGs I might have to modify that.

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Old 06-30-2012, 02:15 PM   #28
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I am at 25% of my allotted yearly amount even with a few big ticket items ( had the pool resurfaced ,went on an expensive vacation and pre paid for another expensive vacation).So I guess I can loosen the financial reigns a little bit .
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:20 PM   #29
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I need to spend a little more, it looks like.
I'll be over later to give you a hand with that. Just being neighborly, you know.
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:30 PM   #30
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I suppose we don't "need" to budget, but I do so because otherwise, DH would be afraid to spend a dime and I like knowing where the money is going, tracking trends and forecasting.

I budget monthly. For Jan through June, we spent less than came in - except for April - that month outgo exceeded income. I'm changing our withdrawal the second half of the year in order to have funds for a replacement vehicle.
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Old 06-30-2012, 03:09 PM   #31
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That is my system. I never had a budget in my life, so I don't feel much need to begin now. I just try to be sure that when I spend money, I get satisfaction.
...
The Excel file I keep is called "spending", not "budget". I'm thinking that there is a tendency for one to be too conservative in ER (my issue) so I need to keep myself honest in spending down the nest egg. DW likes to have fun and so I have to hold the reins, so to speak. It's nice to know we can afford what we're laying out. Then I can relax and enjoy the ride.
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Old 06-30-2012, 03:32 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Lsbcal
The Excel file I keep is called "spending", not "budget". I'm thinking that there is a tendency for one to be too conservative in ER (my issue) so I need to keep myself honest in spending down the nest egg. DW likes to have fun and so I have to hold the reins, so to speak. It's nice to know we can afford what we're laying out. Then I can relax and enjoy the ride.
The mind is a mysterious thing isn't it? I only spend about 75% of my monthly pension income and that will drop to about 60% in about 2 years when my daughter is off the books, plus I have a 2% yearly cola. You think I wouldn't have a worry in the world, but now I worry I need an emergency fund for a new car, roof, a/c, collapse of the dollar, world wide famine, etc. So I have a part time job that I don't mind to put my over imaginative mind at ease.
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Old 06-30-2012, 03:40 PM   #33
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Hi Mulligan, well bad things can happen. I have an overactive imagination too and that's why the Excel file is called "spending".

We only have to look at the obits in the local papers to remind us of our ultimate destination.
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:24 PM   #34
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I'll be over later to give you a hand with that. Just being neighborly, you know.
Oh OK! I do need to bump it up this year. Don't get me wrong; buying nice things does make me happy if it is something that I want. That's a big "if", though.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:18 PM   #35
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Oh OK! I do need to bump it up this year. Don't get me wrong; buying nice things does make me happy if it is something that I want. That's a big "if", though.
Don't tell us you haven't got a buy list W2R. You could always spend it on someone special in your life.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:29 PM   #36
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The Excel file I keep is called "spending", not "budget". I'm thinking that there is a tendency for one to be too conservative in ER (my issue) so I need to keep myself honest in spending down the nest egg. DW likes to have fun and so I have to hold the reins, so to speak. It's nice to know we can afford what we're laying out. Then I can relax and enjoy the ride.
Yes, mine is called spending too. I've kept careful spending records since the mid-80s. I started with regular ledger paper, then in late 80s my older son wrote a basic program which helped very much. It was also a double entry system with chart of accounts, etc. Lately I have simplified it, and use Excel.

There are always things or experiences I would like to have, so it is important to me to keep track of outflow.

Ha
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:57 PM   #37
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Yes, mine is called spending too. I've kept careful spending records since the mid-80s. I started with regular ledger paper, then in late 80s my older son wrote a basic program which helped very much. It was also a double entry system with chart of accounts, etc. Lately I have simplified it, and use Excel.

There are always things or experiences I would like to have, so it is important to me to keep track of outflow.

Ha
I think of my "budget" more as a monitor of current and previous spending, and predictor of future spending, and less as a regulator of current spending.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:45 PM   #38
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I forgot to add....
Even tho I got these diamond flip flops...we'll still be on track...and I didn't have anything in the diamond budget.
I usually just spend whatever's left over in my pedicure budget...

And, yes, you WESTPAC Navy & Air Force veterans know all about those Subic Bay pedicures!
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:58 PM   #39
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I think of my "budget" more as a monitor of current and previous spending, and predictor of future spending, and less as a regulator of current spending.
+1 We pretty much spend what we want to so the "budget" is more for planning purposes (what is the level of our annual living costs and how it relates to a nestegg WR) and to monitor how we are doing at a high level.
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:47 AM   #40
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Interesting. I am also planning on 70k-100k annual expenses until age 95. I am quite frugal (annual expenses now : about $3k a month), and for some reason I am still worried about FIRE, probably because I am useless at budgeting.
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I expect to keep total annual expenses under $70K. Once I've got a full year under my belt I will use the results to develop a budget. However I don't plan to slice and dice it into too many categories.
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