Unrelated to anything I wanted to write about today, how are you referring to the year 2010? It’s been a bit of a debate in our office lately. We don’t have to have an official way to say it, but it’s interesting to see all the variety. This year, 2009, is “oh-nine.” What’s next year? Some people are automatically (and accidentally) saying “oh-ten” which always makes me smile. Just saying “ten” feels weird, so I’ve been saying “twenty-ten.” Not sure what to do about 2011 though. “Twenty-eleven” is a lot of syllables.
But anyway, back to the topic at hand. I’ve been thinking a bit about how I want to setup my 2010 YNAB budget categories. I see two big changes for next year.
First, I want to add a budget category called “running.” Why? Because I spend a lot of money on running related expenses. Things that will go into this category are race entries, of course, but also the money spent on shoes and other gear. Right now, running shoes go into my “clothing” budget, which is misleading. Did I spend $100 on some cute shirts or did I buy a new pair of running shoes. Personally, I think that the new running shoes are a “better” use of my money, as they come closer to a necessity than a cute shirt would.
Second, I want to figure out how to track my FSA. I will probably start out with a budget category for the FSA and then slowly track how much money comes out of the account. I’m not sure if I want to do this or not, because I also plan to keep a spreadsheet with all my FSA eligible expenses to help me better decide just how much money to put into the FSA for 2011. This year, I just had to make an educated guess without a lot of data before me. I know the amount will be low, but I’m not sure how low. I’m okay with that, of course, but it will be nice to make a better estimate for the following year.
This was my first full year with YNAB, and I really like being able to see everything all together. It’s definitely helped me control my money and figure out where the money goes. And perhaps where it should be going instead.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.
I had to create a fitness category as well — it seemed unfair that running shoes interfered with new jeans! 🙂 But cute work out clothing is sort of borderline I think
I love budgeting, it definitely helps me see where I can cut
The way I tracked my FSA money in YNAB was to begin the year with the balance at whatever the full amount was. Then throughout the year, I’d just deduct expenses until it zeroed out. You get access to the full amount from Jan 1, so I just made a supplemental income entry for it, and budgeted it to the FSA category.
Not to be radical, but if you haven’t read the book “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougal, you might want to. It could possibly save you a lot of money on running shoes. 🙂
I am a big fan of hobby budgets – running is healthy for you and you like it, so yay for making room in your budget for something’s good for you AND enjoyable.