For 2012, I’m focusing on using my Quickbooks reports to design a more realistic budget for the New Year. In the past, I tried creating a “utopia” style budget that was unrealistic and disappointing each month. Yet, before I can take on the task of formulating my budget, I need to really look at where my money went this year. I like how Newlyweds on a Budget calculated her expenses based on every $100 so I decided to do a similar calculation:

For every $100 I spent.

$45 went towards rent and utilities. Ouch! Mock me all you like but that’s the price I pay for living in the second most expensive city in the US.

$8 went towards the car. Much better. Must have something to do with being a one-car family and biking a lot.

$7 went towards the purchase of household items. This was mainly our new couch and refrigerator. Moving often equates to new purchases.

$13 was applied towards groceries. I think we can do better than this in 2012.

$7 was applied towards business expenses.

$4 went towards personal items like clothing and doctor’s visits.

$3.50 was applied towards meals eaten out and entertainment, such as movie rentals (Netflix and Redbox).

$10 went towards a bunch of miscellaneous expenses like my Starbucks, postage, travel, gifts, insurance, etc.

$2.50 measly dollars was applied towards our savings. I think I need to be grounded or placed in the time out chair.

I can definitely improve on groceries, business expenses, household purchases (I’m hoping there just aren’t any this year!) and miscellaneous expenses. I’m sort of stuck in a lease this year, so my rent and utilities will remain about the same. However, I’m giving myself a big pat on the back for reducing my meals eaten out and entertainment by $1.00. I’ve also reduced my Starbucks expense by 90-cents per $100 as well. If I can cut out a few more dollars per category (minus rent/utilities), I should be able to boost that savings amount to $7 per $100 which would put me on target to meeting next year’s savings goal.

Quarterly updates should help.

How do your expenses stack up?