I'm trying a new paradigm in budgeting this year. I'm using someone else's spreadsheet. (gasp)
I know. But I came across the Pear Budget on the Get Rich Slowly finance blog a couple months ago. You can enter data online for a fee or download the spreadsheet. I was reluctant to abandon my 12-worksheet monstrosity, but the Pear spreadsheet was so pretty, I knew it was the work of someone who loves spreadsheets as much as I.
When I began designing my own masterpiece, I was working in the finance department of the local newspaper and had no children. I had all kinds of time for detailed records, trending charts, and analysis reports. 6 years and 3 children later, I've been finding it ever harder to find time for updating.
When I'm feverishly entering receipts twice a month, it gets difficult to keep details like 'light bulbs, batteries, new sippy cup' in the Housewares budget. And despite telling myself that I would need these details for analysis, I have yet to go back and do a breakout comparison of restaurants vs. babysitters in my Entertainment budget. As a matter of fact, the only details I have gone back for are tax deductible expenses (donations, tax preparation software, business expenses). Everything else just comes down to a final 'over budget/under budget' number.
So it is with trepidation that I leave behind my comforting minutiae and test drive a new spreadsheet. I can always go back...