As we roll over to a new year, it s not only interesting to look at the past year, but crucial for figuring out our budget for the current year. At the end of every fiscal year, corporations look at how money was spent and allocated from the previous year to set budgets for the next year, and I don t think a family s budget should be treated any different.
First, if you have BudgetSimple, and have been using it for the past year, this task is pretty easy. Go to your Reports tab and set the year to 2009 . You ll see a great breakdown of your expenses by category:
With so many categories throughout the year, the point here is to find the biggest standouts. In this case, the largest expense for us is the mortgage. Followed by House Repairs, and Entertainment/Dining Out. It s difficult to do anything about the first two, but certainly if you are spending as much going out as you are on your mortgage, that may be a good target to fix in the new year. What should our targets be in the next year?
Next, you ll want to look at your income vs expenses graph:
Income vs Expenses
If your graph looks like this, then you definitely have a New Years Resolution in store . Expenses exceeding income is how most of us end up in debt and with little savings. You ll want to drill down to each of those months and find if there is a common theme in you going over (car repairs? alcohol? gas?) and set your spending resolutions around those items.