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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Mini Budget for 2010

I completed my online enrolment for the MAstron course yesterday, so I now know exactly what the course fees will be ($850 per semester, due in Mar and Aug) for 2010. I won't do a full budget for 2010 as I expect my overall income and expenses will be similar to the past couple of years, and most of my income and expenses are ticking over nicely on 'autopilot'. However, there is some room to make savings in some areas (such as grocery shopping) and I need to reign in my impulse/discretionary spending and also budget for my uni expenses. I spent an hour checking through my monthly credit card statements for the past 12 months and came up with the following 'mini budget' (credit card charges only) for next year:
 (all amounts are monthly)
Item ............ budget '10... prev 12 mo avg .. comments
Petrol: ......... __$140.00 ... __$115.40 ....... The last 6 months have averaged closer to $140
Shopping:........ $1,400.00 ... $1,366.78 ....... I intent to trim this expenditure as much as possible
Medical:......... __$400.00 ... __$406.76 ....... If there are only routine expenses this may be 50% lower
Rates/Utilities:. __$220.00 ... __$219.18 ....... I intend to offset any price rises with reduced water/elec use
Books:........... ___$30.00 ... ___$28.07 ....... A small item that we seem to end up spending on each month
Uni study:....... __$200.00 ... ____$5.42 ....... Only had application expenses this year. Budget for fees and textbooks
Computer:........ ___$65.00 ... ___$65.76 ....... Tends to be large, irregular expenses. Need to watch this doesn't blow out.
Gifts:........... ___$25.00 ... ___$25.30 .......
Income insurance: ___$75.00 ... ___$70.46 ....... Monthly charge is currently $75.71
Hobbies:......... __$150.00 ... __$169.68 ....... Should come in under budget if I avoid impulse purchases
Other:........... __$150.00 ... $1,319.39 ....... See below

Annual total:.... $34260.00 ... $45506.26

This year the 'other' category included irregular household expenses such as car servicing and registration etc. as well as miscellaneous 'big ticket' items such as the new pool fencing, a garden play set, and 200 sq metres of stone cladding (bought because it was on clearance sale, and destined for the holiday house I intend to building on my parent's lakeside farm in the next couple of years). For 2010 I'm only budgeting for an 'other' amount that covers the essentials (car rego & insurance etc) and assuming I won't make any unplanned purchases.

Although this budget doesn't include any of my regular expenses that are not charged to my credit card - such as home loan repayments, investment loan interest charges, retirement savings etc. - those items don't vary much, are out of my control, and are covered by the balance of my salary income, rent and dividend income. The variable (and mostly discretionary) items all get charged to my credit card (and paid off in full each month), so, provided I stick to my CC mini budget, my overall finances should remain on track.

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