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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183 thoughts on “Take a Look Back”

  1. O.M.G.!!!! Last month, I spent close to $1500 on groceries! I had no idea! I realize that costs are rising but that seems ridiculous to me for a family of 3 (myself and 2 sons). I have now separated my groceries and household maintenance costs. It’s tough because I think that there are some clothing costs in there as well. I also need to separate those moving forward. I shop a lot at Superstore so I am trying to be more aware of their points offerings and use those. I am trying to buy some organic foods but I may need to cut back. They’re just too pricey at times. Produce costs a lot and my sons eat a lot of fruit and I eat a lot of veggies. Any tips on cheap, local produce in the Lower Mainland of BC?

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  2. I notice I spend a lot on things we don’t need, such as makeup and McDonald’s and just the I wants, a few hundred I’m seeing.

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  3. Nothing really struck me when I looked at last month’s expenses. My expenses were very typical and they followed the pattern I have observed over the years. One concern though is that I keep spending slightly above my budget, particularly with regard to the variable monthly expenses.

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  4. I spend a lot of money paying off debt and I think that’ll be the case for a couple of months. Less than 1/4 of my pay goes to bills, the rest outside of about 15%goest towards paying down debts. Its a cycle

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  5. I realize I have too many impulse buys…and my grocery bills are way higher than they should be. I need to reel it in when I get excited about things like buying games for my son’s birthday.

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  6. This left me with a bit of a tummy ache! I am spending way more than I make!!!. The only thing that saved me was some side work that I did and the idea behind that is not to survive but to save it. Ugghhhh. I spent so much eating out! It’s crazy. I didn’t categorize but at a glance I could see how many transactions are dining out! It’s crazy. I really need to get my finances together, this has been a cloud over my head, what seems like, most of my life.

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  7. I am definitely spending on too many wants and I do recognize I am the spender in the family. The budget will help me decrease spending frivolously.

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  8. I spent about what I thought but way to much getting food delivered. I had some unusually large expensive since I let myself get behind in my bills.

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  9. As someone who has struggled with impulse purchases and eating out, it’s a humbling and eye opening experience to see just how much I spent on eating out as well as small little purchases I justify to myself. Seeing first hand how much I’ve been spending on these things has opened my eyes. With a proper budget and some sacrifice and discipline, I can become much more intentional with my spending moving forward.

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  10. We definitely spend a bit more than we bring in. The credit card bill is more than we would like to pay and is way too easy to spend with.

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  11. Amazing to see how much money I spent on nonsense, eating out or having food delivered. I love to cook and have Butcher Box delivered every six weeks. Why am I being so lazy and wasting money? Glad I’m getting back to using a budget.

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  12. I spent over 1,400 dollars on eating out, buying gifts, and 60 on gas. I spent probably 400 dollars on gifts, so I’m spending over 1,000 dollars on just eating out and misc. items. Too much money eating out and Door Dashing…

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  13. My problem is I am not saving or donating. I am helping my adult daughter some with living expenses and it is getting really difficult to save for the biannual expenses like car insurance, property tax, home owners insurance.

    Reply

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