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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156 thoughts on “Take a Look Back”

  1. I have noticed that i have spent a lot more money on food then i thought not groceries fast food wich is not good I have spent more money then I panned for. the money I made this month was spent

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  2. I notice that I don’t really spend my money on anything. I usually save it up until I want to buy something that’s pretty expensive

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    • Like with most people a lot of money is thrown away on nonsense like cigarettes, ordering food (especially since certain companies have raised prices), medicine, and gaming.

  3. I don’t have many expenses but I noticed that I do spend a lot of money on food. I would typically spend an average of $35 a week on food. That isn’t a lot but it adds up over time. I didn’t save any money because there was not any income for me last month. I was surprised by the amount of money I spent without even realizing it.

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  4. I spend my money on food and clothes mostly. Im not surprised with how much I do spend. I also save money each month and put it into saving.

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  5. I realized that most of my money either goes towards doing things with friends or in my bank account. However, doing things with friends can cost a lot depending on what you do.

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  6. I spent more money than I thought, but what surprised me was how much of it was spent on items that I didn’t need and weren’t important.

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  7. I spent a lot last month on clothes, and things I didn’t necessarily need. It was actually shocking to me on how much I had spent without realizing, even with me not saving as much as I normally do.

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  8. I spent a lot last month on clothes, and things I didn’t necessarily need. It was actually shocking to me on how much I had spent, even with me not saving as much as I normally do.

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  9. I spent a lot of money on food, like going out to eat with my friends, and also on clothes and things I would buy if I’m out shopping. I did end up spending more than I expected though.

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  10. I spent around $70 total last month on food and activities with friends. This amount does not surprise me because homecoming was last month so I had to spend on food for that and other activities with friends.

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  11. I spent way too much money on fast food. I spent way more than I thought I did. I should probably not go to get food in the morning every day before school.

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  12. I was shocked knowing that our expenses is double than our income! I noticed, these expenses are most on food, dine out, entertainment.

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  13. I did not realise how much money we waste on takeaways and could be using in a better way. We could reduce our debts with the money we use buying takeaways. I can’t wait to see what we can do once we see how much we spend without caring

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  14. Other than my bills which are related to my house, life insurance, call phone, internet, home security, i spend a lot on food and gas. I have not been holding back in these areas. I pretty much know what my expenses are; not surprised at all.

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  15. We spent a lot of our income on food last month, as well as gifts since it was December (Christmas). We spend too much on takeout food.

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  16. We’re usually spending what we bring in and sometimes a bit more. We spend a fair amount eating out and we also give at least 10% to charity.

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  17. I have been spending a lot more in the past month due to us moving from WA to TX and all the hiccups along the way. I also have been really undisciplined with my spending during this time. I need to create a budget for eating out since I do it so much.

    Reply
  18. The greatest variable that we have control over is food and household goods… and that is where we are losing the battle. We hope that by the end of this month, we will see that we restrained ourselves… so far, so good…

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  19. This was not a surprise to me, I know what our expenses are. My husband spends more than I would like on eating out due to the fact he works on the road and may just be a touch lazy when it comes to making meals ahead of time….
    Otherwise our expenses are mostly gas, utilities, mortgage and the odd kid item needed as they grow or destroy items! I would like to see a way to decrease the little extra spending my husband does and put more away into savings every month if possible.

    Reply
  20. I spend a lot of money on snacks even though I already brought groceries just because I don’t like to cook. And buying snacks is a very big part of my expenses. I also realize that I’m very bad at savings.

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  21. I have spent so much on ordering food and random unexpected stuff and I have used more money than needed . It is amazing that I have room for growth and I am grateful for this app

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  22. I spent a lot on ordering food and random items not necessarily needed at the time . I am more conscious of my financial health and I am grateful for that

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  23. I spend much more in eating out than I thought, even eat alone. It surprised me a lot and start to think whether the money pays off. Cause eating out is a more social activity to link with friends. It reminds me to contact my friends more and eat out together more.

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  24. We spend way too much on Utilities – Phone, Electric, Water, and Internet. Will be trying to bring those expenses down.

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