Take a Look Back

Week 1 | Day 3 | GB 101: Budget Bootcamp

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Great work estimating your income yesterday! Today, we’ll move on to the next step in creating a sound budgeting foundation: estimating our expenses.

Estimating our expenses is an important step — we all need to know how much we actually spend so we can start planning what we want to spend. But we also need to make sure that what we’re budgeting for is less than the income we’re bringing in. (We’ll worry about that later, though.) For now, let’s focus on estimating. And remember, this is a guilt-free zone — you’re just collecting info right now. The point is to just notice your spending trends and say, “Oh, I see.”

Today’s Assignment

  1. Estimate your expenses. You’ll need to take a look at past spending in order to estimate successfully. Head to your online bank account and take a look at what you spent last month. If you have multiple bank accounts, be sure to check those too so you can get the fullest picture of your spending. (If you’re already using the Goodbudget app, check out your Spending by Envelope report.)
  2. Without categorizing individual transactions, how much did you spend in total last month? How much did you give last month? How much did you save? Note: Some of your spending might not be “typical.” Be sure to still include those expenses in the totals above. Transactions that are unusual will always happen, and we want to work towards making space for them in our budgets. The goal here is to just accept the numbers we see in front of us.
  3. When you looked at what you spent, what struck you? What are your initial thoughts as you look at the numbers? Did you spend more or less than you thought? Did anything surprise you? Share your reflections with us in the comments below!

Note for couples: You can look up your past spending separately or together; just make sure you both take a look at what you find. By the way, if you have kids spending family money, remember to pull that up too.

Happy budgeting,
-The Goodbudget Team

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68 thoughts on “Take a Look Back”

  1. I do not handle my own money. My parents do.
    I do not spend my money except on very rare occasions. My parents and grandparent pay my expenses.
    I do not know if I gave anything. If I did, it should go to the church.
    As far as I know, all of my allowance (other than what’s given) goes to the bank, so it counts as savings.
    I realize that my parents do a lot for me, so maybe I should try doing it myself.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, Leila! It sounds like you’re desiring more ownership of your expenses and money management. The skills you develop now will definitely impact your future and it’s never too early to start learning how to manage well.

  2. I do not have many expenses, if I do have expenses my parents usually pay for them and I put the majority of my allowance in my savings or checking account.

    Reply
  3. The only times I spend my own money is if I find some clothes I really like or If I am getting food with friends. But, my parents pay my expenses and handle my savings accounts. Nothing really struck me. I have given little amounts of money to my sisters sorority philanthropy, Make a wish. When they are having fundraisers.

    Reply
  4. I spend allowance money on things I want and desire, and my parents pay for basic necessities and a lot of things I get. I do my best to save but still spend a decent amount.

    Reply
  5. I rarely spend my own money on anything. It mostly just goes into my account. I honestly can’t recall spending any of it in the last month.

    Reply
  6. I only pay for food when my parents tell me I’m on my own for eating a meal, so other than that I put my money in a savings account for college, I spend roughly $20 on food a month.

    Reply
  7. I don’t usually spend my money. Maybe if I am out with friends to get ice cream for example, but my parents usually pay for me.

    Reply
  8. I typically spend about $200 a month. I do not have to pay for most necessities in my home like rent, insurance, or a car payment. Most of my money is spent on luxuries that I want. I saved a little less than half my paycheck this last month.

    Reply
  9. Initial thoughts: We eat out way too much! I spend way too much on Amazon. We need to set limits, We are not spending responsibly.

    Reply
  10. I have a family of 4. Myself, my husband, and our two sons, 15 & 12. And I was/still am, shocked by our LATE NIGHT snacking
    There are about 10 x’s more receipts from gas stations and fast food places than I even imagined-and all after 8pm-
    We have always eaten a bowl of cereal at our kitchen table together around 9pm every night-
    But here lately we’ve been busy every night, with each of our boys extracurricular activities. It’s just EASIER to grab random food items on the way home.
    I’m not giving an excuse, just being honest about what has been going on.
    Shocking when you look at ALL the receipts, it added up to an amount i did not like at all!!

    Reply

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