I’ve Never Had A Budget

I have a confession to make. I’ve never, ever had a budget in my entire life.  I consider myself pretty good with money1 and I’ve never in my life been in consumer debt2 and I can count the number of times I haven’t paid off my credit card bill in full at the end of a month on one hand3.  I guess part of the reason I’ve never had a budget is because I spent so many years as a student on a very minimal amount of money, so I developed a knack for spending very, very little money at all times.  Basically my financial plan consists of:

  • automatic payments for my student loan & car loan
  • automatic contributions to my RRSP and 40th birthday savings account
  • pay my bills when they arrive
  • stick a chunk of money into a Tax-Free Savings Account every year4
  • buy everything on the cheap5

However, I think I’d really like to have a more of a, well, more of a planned plan.  I’d like to pay off my student loans a little faster and save a little more in my RRSP.  So I’ve decided that I really should crunch my numbers and see how much more I can put on my student loans each month and how much more I can invest in my RRSP.  My friend Kim has given me a spreadsheet she uses to plan and track her monthly budget and Sarah has given me a spreadsheet for tracking net worth6.  I also use Wesabe to track my spending, but haven’t yet had the time to sit down and look at the numbers7. So that’s my next little project8 – I’ll let you know how it goes.

  1. My mom is a banker and she and my dad taught my sister and me the importance of saving money and suchlike from the time we were very little. []
  2. unless you count my car, although I have the money to pay off that loan outright if I needed to – I just didn’t want to wipe out my *entire* savings to get the car []
  3. 1 – One Christmas when I was in undergrad, I was out of my first term student loan money and the paycheque from my job as a tutor bounced, but I didn’t want to worry my family and I knew I would get my next installment of student loans in January, so I put Christmas presents on my credit card and had to just pay the minimum amount for a month while I waited for that next student loan installment and for the tutoring company to get me my paycheque.  2 – Twice I’ve lost track of the date and forgot to pay my credit card bill by the due date []
  4. TFSAs are a new thing that started last year and so far I’m using it as place to hold my emergency savings. For the past two years, ING Direct has allowed you to put $5000 in an account in October that will become a TFSA on January 1 and they pay you double interest for Oct-Dec.  So I’ve done that the past two years – I think I make an extra $10 or something by doing it []
  5. I buy 90% of my clothes at thrift stores – you can get really nice stuff at thrift stores around here! []
  6. I heart spreadsheets []
  7. plus, it’s not quite up-to-date []
  8. as soon as I finishing marking papers for the class I’m teaching this term []