Monday, September 05, 2005

Budget vs Actuals

Saturday was a lot of fun. I know it probably wasn't the sanest thing to do but sanity is overrated anyway. That said, if I thought for a moment that my taking off like that would hurt anyone, or that I would have to cancel plans or stand up someone or renege on a commitment, I wouldn't have done it. As it happened I didn't have any firm plans for Friday night or Saturday, no one to call in particular and I have never been to Canada before so I thought why not.

Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet and novelist extraordinaire, said we travel far and wide seeking the wonders of the world but fail to notice the beauty right outside our own homes. So, before I go to India and the untamed islands of Andaman & Nicobar this Nov I thought I would go see the inner harbour of Victoria.

Not that my decision Friday afternoon was quite so well thought out. It was something along the lines of ... Ooh, I can go to Victoria! And then I was off to Victoria.

But as Jimmy Buffet said, yesterday's over my shoulder and I can't look back for too long. So, I am back and ready to assess the damages.

I checked into a hotel on the harbour Friday night and got a late check-in rate that was pretty attractive. I also spent most of Saturday walking around. Although my poor feet took the hit I did save a bundle by doing this because I didn't have to buy any more gas + I found some nice, tucked away places to eat that weren't too expensive. In the end I spent $196.79, only $40.19 more than what I had spent by Saturday morning. Not too bad for a moment of impetuousness that lasted a day and a half.

On the ferry ride back I made a resolution to run a budget vs actuals report.

* Budget total applies to budget year 7-2005 - 6-2006.
**Forcast and Actuals are for the months of July & August only.

Budget vs Actuals analysis:

My phone usage spiked in Aug because my cousin was visiting and she made some long distance and international calls from my phone. This should self-adjust in the next few months. (for reference I use a prepaid digital service where I deposit a certain amount every few months. When the money runs out I can't make long distance or intl calls from home anymore. This allows me to control my monthly usage. However, a small setback here is that it throws off monthly expense numbers a little. e.g. it didn't show up in this month's expense report because I had deposited $100 in July and I was still using that balance in Aug)

My dining/going out expense was also higher than budgeted but my grocery bill was low and as long as I am coming under budget in the food category as a whole I am not too concerned.

I think I also did okay on clothes & shopping. Most of what I spent ($1394.96 to be exact) was on home decor and I had budgeted/forecasted $1600 for it. On the other hand the "clothes" portion of my forecast was lower but again, as long as I come in under budget I am not too terribly worried. Just have to make sure I don't overspend every month.

Books, CDs and DVDs on the other hand is quite another matter. I do buy a lot of CDs, I buy a lot of books, I buy a lot of DVDs. I don't know what I was thinking setting only a $60/month budget for it. Maybe I should divert $20 from my Monthly Mad Money category to this one. The MMM category is for magazines and other little things I occasionally pick up. Once I switch to magazine subscriptions I will actually have more left over here.

I also didn't anticipate donating $500 this quarter but then I didn't anticipate Katrina. That's money well-spent anyway.

Another good thing, I came in way under my skincare/makeup etc budget despite buying the Chanel lipstick. For the most part this is because I am sticking with my resolution to use up what I have first before buying anything else.

On the whole I think I am doing okay because I am within my budget. The only exception being the misc category which is where I put all the bank late fees/finance charges because I didn't have a place for them. There should not be anything under misc next month.

I didn't include my trip this weekend in the above. That will come out of the vacation & trips budget. I am using my remaining miles + cash to book the Nov vacation and I do not anticipate spending more than $12-1300 out of pocket tops so the $1700 budget can accomodate the $196.79 I spent this weekend and still leave me with $203.21 for future trips.

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