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How to Create a Budget – Part 3 of 4

ParasailingPart 3 – Variable Expenses

Hi gang. So up to this point we’ve talked about our income, fixed expenses and non-fixed expenses or non-fixed fixed expenses, stuff we have to pay eventually but not every month.

In this post we’ll be talking about variable expenses. These are the expenses in our lives that we can most likely control and fudge around so we don’t break the bank.

They include items like:

  1. Groceries – Hot Tamales Candy (awesome core nutrient!!), oat meal, bread, meats, fruits and veggies
  2. Clothing – pants, shirts, socks, etc.
  3. Personal Hygeine – hair do, manicures, pedicures
  4. Pet Hygeine – hair do, manicures, pedicures, you know, the essentials. 🙂
  5. Socializing – eating out, dancing, drag races, ballet, ultimate fighting, symphony, etc.
  6. Home – cleaning, mirrors, carpet, picture frames, plants, etc.
  7. Gas for the car(s)

These types of expenses can really grow quickly because you have a choice. You have a choice on how many groceries to buy, how much clothing to buy, hair do, manicures, pedicures, going out all the time, buying stuff for your home, cutting back on driving everywhere all the time and using up gas galore, etc. etc.

So that’s it for the three different types of expenses – fixed, non-fixed (kind of) and variable expenses. Again, I recommend firing up a spreadsheet program first such as Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice.org Calc or Google Docs & Spreadsheets to get going. If you’re just starting out, then this is a quick way to answer the never-ending question, “Where’s all my money going?”

Ledger Page

If you need help with any of these programs drop me a comment or email (billstevens2000@gmail.com) and I can certainly create a video of how to use some of these programs.

If you feel like delving into some Windows programs that organize your whole financial life and make your bed for you, you can certainly try these two programs that always seem to go neck and neck with each other and they also have trial downloads:

A Google Directory search will also provide you with a plethora of programs to check out if you’d like to do your own further investigation. Here’s another Google Directory search for Personal Finance Software for PDA. Of course we need to include Personal Finance Software for the MAC.

At least we don’t have to do it the old fashioned way using ledger paper, you know when we had to “walk through 10-feet of snow to get to school, with no shoes and we liked it.” I would imagine using ledger paper is a lost art so who knows maybe there’ll be a come back. 🙂

I’ll finish up this series on How to Create a Budget in Part 4 reviewing some of the up and coming online sites to track your moola online.

Here’s the updated super simple fictitious spreadsheet including variable expenses:

Super Simple Fictitious Budget

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