Hello, is this thing on? Hi. It’s been a while. Almost a month, actually. And here we are in July, halfway through 2016. Where has the time gone?! Well, we know exactly where it’s gone, but more on that in an upcoming post. It’s July, people! And you know what that means? Our 2016 budgets have already been humming away for the past six months. So let’s talk about. How are your 2016 finances shaping up so far? Whether it’s good, bad, or ugly, now’s the time to take a long, hard look. Where are you now? Where would you like to be by the end of the year? And what do you need to do to make it happen? We’re all for looking forward to those next six months, but in order to look forward, sometimes we have to look backward. It’s time for a six-month budgeting checkup. (This is the part where I start singing a modified version of the Doc McStuffins checkup song because I’m real cool with the three-and-under crowd.) Time to take a look back and assess how your budget is working (or not working) so far. Nervous? We’ll go first. Here’s a little update on how our budget is faring six months into 2016:
Tracking – C
Johnny and I think there’s nothing more important to sticking to a budget than tracking your spending. And it’s something we’ve done without fail (although sometimes not perfectly) for most of our marriage. But since starting our business, it’s been trickier. The sheer lack of time combined with chronic sleep deprivation has made us really struggle with tracking every cent. If I’m being honest, I can hardly remember to keep everyone fed some days (sorry, Persie kitty!). But this is just a stage, and we’re slowly putting processes into place so that our work-life balance is more balanced. In the meantime, we’re still taking a very detailed assessment of our budget at the end of each month (and keeping track of our net worth). So that keeps us very aware of our finances. And we’ve been budgeting for so long now that we’ve been doing a good job of keeping our spending in check, even if our tracking has been sporadic the past few months.
Goals – A
Since we’re still renting and have no plans to buy a home in the next several months, our financial goals for 2016 have been centered around more long-term savings. Our goal is to max out our retirement accounts and finish contributing toward both Sally’s and Wynn’s 529 college savings plans. Because we’re not buying a home anytime soon, we have some extra savings to help make that happen. We’ve been doing well so far and hope to accomplish both goals by the end of the year.
Spending – B
We’ve been meeting our savings goals each month, but our spending still gets a B only because we haven’t been tracking it as well as we normally do. So I’m sure there’s room for improvement when it comes to spending. We’ve been trying to avoid buying anything extra during this time, almost as a way to compensate for our sporadic expense tracking. The only real overspending is happening with our Food budget (hi, takeout!), which I’m hoping will fix itself once our work-life balance finds a good groove.
What Needs Improvement
For the rest of 2016, I think my main goal (and hopefully Johnny’s) will be to keep a daily track of our spending. It will definitely need to be a team effort. Our finances have become much more complicated since starting our business because we now have TWO budgets — personal and business. I think it would really help simplify things if we were more consistent about manually tracking each personal expense.
Now we’d like to know, how is your 2016 budget shaping up so far? What goals are you hoping to accomplish before the end of the year? In what budgeting categories would you like to improve?
p.s. We’ll be doing a full update on life in the OFB household soon. It’s as nerdy and sleep-deprived as ever. We’ve got some exciting OFB announcements, and we’ll be doing an update on how we’re budgeting with a small business. Talk soon!
Awesome update post. I DEFINITELY will start taking a page out of your book with the end-of-the-month budget review with my husband. We are still on track to reach our goal of being 98% debt-free by the end of 2016. It’s been tough recently, but I think it’s because we haven’t been keeping track of our spending (we “felt” like we had money last month, so we spent like we did. Turned out: we did not have that money). I tried two separate times to use the Mint app to help with tracking and budgeting, but I’m a pen-and-paper kind of girl, so it was not effective. Anything you can recommend? How do you do the daily/weekly tracking?
We use a budgeting app called HomeBudget. It’s manual entry and syncs between our two phones so we can both stay on the same page at all times. Major kudos on sticking to your goal! Way to go.
Having a business does make it harder to track your spending because you have to track things for your business too.
Welcome back! I know how crazy life probably is for you right now, but I’m definitely happy you might be finding some time to write more — definitely enjoy this site.
Our first few months of business ownership saw our personal budget go out the window – though, thankfully, we were working so much that the food category blow-out was offset by the distinct lack of spending in every other category! Hang in there – it does get easier and you’re doing brilliantly.
I like the idea of a six month assessment. I think I will make some goals for the next six months and put them down on paper and maybe even check them off as I achieve the goals along the way.