How I Make My Budget Work?

by Vinaya HS on May 9, 2011

in Finance

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I don’t recollect specifically writing about my budgeting techniques. So here goes.

I used to have a detailed budget for my monthly expenses. I used to put specific targets for each expense item — salaries for domestic help, groceries, eating out, clothing, entertainment, fuel, cellphone bill, utilities and what not. I used to track and chart each expense item in a spreadsheet. But I used to miss most targets each month. Consistently.

I switched to a different system — the BIG picture budget.

Now, I set aside a certain amount of money as my monthly expenses. I dip into this pool as and when I need to meet an expense. Salaries for domestic help and groceries go out within the first couple of days of a month. Everything else happens as and when they happen during the month. What I chose to spend on consciously adjusts during the course of the month. In one month, I might have spent more on entertainment and in another month, I might have spent more on eating out. But so long as I’m within the BIG picture budget, it really doesn’t matter where I spend more and where I spend less.

I’ve been using this system for quite some time now and it works well. I don’t recollect regretting not doing something just because I didn’t have the budget for doing that. And since most of the mandatory expenses happen early in the month, there are no “Oops!” moments towards the end of the month. I also keep aside a teeny weeny buffer, you know, just in case…

Now, how about you? How do you budget?

Thanks for reading this article. I'd love to hear your opinion. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts. I frequently write new articles that also cover several other aspects of personal finance including credit cards, financial goals, health insurance, income tax, life insurance, mutual funds, retirement planning, and much more. You can Subscribe through Email and receive new articles directly in your Inbox or you can Subscribe through the RSS Feed and receive new articles in your feed reader.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Mohan R May 9, 2011 at 9:05 PM

My Budget is very simple and controlling very disciplined manner. i just calculate average amount for each expenses and pay through credit card and pay full due amount on every 1st day of month.

Vinaya H S May 10, 2011 at 12:00 AM


Does that mean you charge all expenses to your credit card?

Irshad May 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM

I too tried to have a expense report but its difficult to do that. My expense are paid mostly by cash. So my common tracking of monthly expense is the amount i withdraw each month + sodexo coupon utalised.

Vinaya H S May 10, 2011 at 3:23 PM


Yeah. I remember trying that too. Printed an expense report template and carried it in my wallet. Always forgot to enter the expenses!

By the way, do you transfer a fixed amount to a different account each month and then withdraw from that account?

Jagbir May 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM

After trying few software/sites, I formatted one Excel spreadsheet to record all transactions and allocate expected budget for each section/group in beginning of month with a view that it should be easy enough that a non-tech person can update it. Its has been almost an year and I’ve clear picture of all income/expenses. I’d happily share it in case anybody interested to have a look.

bhaskar August 5, 2011 at 10:05 AM

I have subscribed to your blog via feedburner and diligently read through all your updates. First and foremost I must thank you for being so transparent in sharing your thoughts, ideas and actions with us. I did not know about the extreme retirement concept and many other such things. Though I too try to follow a very frugal lifestyle. I have subscribed to other frugal blogs but sadly have not come across a pure frugal Indian blog.

After a chance conversation with one of my colleagues, I came to know about the GNU Cash software. Its a wonderful way to track your budget. It takes a little used to at first but is very useful. It follows the double bookkeeping concept. I have started using it from last week and have been updating it daily. You may try it out and write about it for other readers.


Vinaya H S August 5, 2011 at 3:32 PM


Thanks for your kind words. It’s what makes my writing worth. It’s wonderful to hear that you’re adopting a frugal lifestyle. Maybe you could share your experiences with readers of this blog?

Rohit Garg August 25, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Hi Jagbir
Could you please share that excel sheet. its high time, i need to track my expenses !

Thanks in advance’

Jagbir August 25, 2011 at 3:04 PM

@Rohit, Please download the sheet from here: because of the size I’ve compressed Excel file in zip, so you need to unzip it first. Let me know if you have any query.

- Jagbir

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