Budgeting Sucks

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Budgeting kind of sucks.

Filling out a spreadsheet, putting in all of your expenses, listing all of your income,  tracking all of your spending.   Yuck.

Balancing the fact that you may have $200 to spare, but if your gas bill is a bit lower one month then you have a some more money, but if your electric bill’s a little bit high, then you have a little bit less.  It’s too much work.

Here’s the new plan:

I just opened up a new credit card. This credit card’s got a fairly high limit, not that I care since I’m never going to come close to the limit. It’s got an okay interest rate, not that I care–it’s going to be paid off every month.  It also has a good travel rewards plan, so our family vacations can, to a large extent, be paid for.

Now, with this card, I’m taking all of my regular bills, and setting them up to be automatically paid by the credit card.   It’ll get automatically charged every month.  I won’t have to think about it.  Once a month, I’ll just log on and pay off the card.   All I have to do is make sure the  balance stays under my monthly budgeted amount.  I already know what I have to be paying each month, so, no problem.

This will make it easier to budget and  track my actual spending.  It’ll even make it easier to balance my checkbook, since right now, I’m logging into my bank account a couple of times a month to compare it to Quicken.   Any budget helper is nice.

After this plan takes effect, my bank account will only have any ATM withdrawals that I need to make–which shouldn’t happen more than once or twice a month–and my checks to day care.  There should be just six manual transactions every month plus all of my miscellaneous transfers to and from INGDirect, which should also be minimal– there should only be two of those each month.

This will simplify everything while at the same time giving me the maximum amount of travel rewards I’ve been able to find.  Hopefully, it will work as well as I think it will.

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    1. Good luck with your plan. I’m not a big fan of automatic payments, then again I’m OCD about entering every single penny spent into a spreadsheet. What you may want to look into doing is keeping a moving average of your expenses and create a charge to view the trend.

      -Ravi Gupta

    2. I do auto payments for recurring charges, but paranoid about stuff like credit card payments!

      Discover provides a nice pie chart of all expenses with categories – that is pretty sweet!

    3. I use my credit card exclusively for 99% of my purchases, but is does not take the place of a budget. I still need to control my expenses to meet my financial goals. It does make it easier though and I rack up a lot of frequent flier miles too. Great for the overseas trips.

      • I do have a budget, and it’s detailed, but I’m hoping to ignore it, now. Most of my expenses are fixed. If I can keep my grocery and entertainment budgets to something reasonably close to my budget levels, I can stop worrying about tracking every cent.

    4. I have a problem keeping up with a budget, so instead I just watch my bank account balance at the end of each month and hope it’s bigger than last month.

    5. I hate to budget, so I don’t. But, I have been paying my bills for a long time and I know off the top of my head how much I need for living expenses each payday.

      I think budgeting is critical for people who have no idea where their money is going. For those who do, there is no need to obsess over every cent. Pay yourself first and then enjoy the rest.

    6. this is a good idea but cannot be applied to those trigger-happy people in using card…


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