blogPg06_occExp.html eMONEY: A USER GUIDE

The purpose of this exercise is to tally Occasional Expenditures.


OCCASIONAL EXPENDITURES DEFINED

As mentioned earlier, any expenses that isn't a Monthly Payment is an Occasional Expenditure.


THE OCCASIONAL EXPENDITURES TABLE

Unlike Monthly Payments (which are listed chronologically), Occasional Expenditures are sorted alphabetically, to make an item easier to find. Another difference is that Occasional Expenditures are easier to estimate by amount per year. While accuracy is something to strive for, it isn't critical the first time around. Consider this exercise a preliminary draft.


Let's take a look at the template.



The OCCASIONAL EXPENDITURES table lists all expenses that are not Monthly Payments.

Again, you'll want to confine your entries to within the blue boundary, to avoid over-writing a formula or refence link.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Click to select the first data entry cell in the LINE ITEM column.
  2. Type a equal sign (=).
  3. Select the CIE tab.
  4. Beginning at the top of the list, click on the first Generic Expense Name you want to add to your Occasional Expenditures list.



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Read more, or proceed.




THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT OCCASIONAL EXPENDITURES

  1. An Occasional Expenditure is any expense that isn't a Monthly Payment.
  2. Occasional Expenditures are easier to estimate in amounts per year.
  3. Occasional Expenditures are listed alphabetically.

It is not uncommon to have three to four times as many Occasional Expenditures as Monthly Payments, particularly among growing families. It is important to note that expenses which occur infrequently, say, once in a lifetime, may not show up on your radar the first time around. It is precisely the failure to include an expense or two, or three, or four, or five, at the outset, that drives people to distraction, and to conclude - erroneously - that budgets don't work.

Budgets do work, there's no doubt about that. Why else would virtually every successful corporation on the planet use one? But they work only if and when all the parts are there. That's why people don't try to drive cars with a tire or brake pedal missing.

In case you drifted off momentarily while I droned on, nothing renders a budget useless more quickly than neglecting to include an expense, which is why I urge you to take advantage of the Comprehensive Index of Expenses, introduced in Lesson 3, when compiling your list of Occasional Expenditures. It will save a lot of time and trouble, is a useful tool, and a valuable memory aid.


ON CLOSER EXAMINATION

You will note that the Occasional Expenditures table has column headings for different time frames. This is to make your job easier. But still, it will require a concerted effort on your part. You may need to consult a check register or two. Or a file cabinet. In some cases you may have no other choice but to go with a best guess. The good news is, these estimates aren't set in stone. They can and should be modified as circumstances change. Guesstimates become more accurate, as new information is collected. A Sound Spending Plan is like a living, breathing organism that evolves over time. It both informs and reflects, and is reliable to the extent that it is kept current.

But I feel things getting a bit wordy. Let's just look at the sample template.



The OCCASIONAL EXPENDITURES Template


There are table headings for LINE ITEM, last four digits of the account #, and DUE date (where there is one), followed by five columns (labelled ANNUALLY, QUARTERLY, MONTHLY, BI-WEEKLY, and WEEKLY) in which to enter amounts. I find amount columns for the various time periods helpful because some Occasional Expenditures are easier to estimate over periods shorter or longer than a month. For example, a child's weekly allowance, or a holiday. There are other instances, as well. Sometimes insurance is paid quarterly; dues bi-weekly. Simply enter an amount in the column you find most convenient. The table will convert your entry to a monthly amount. Just remember to keep your entries inside the blue border.

Once you have completed the expense tables, revisit the BOTTOM LINE (the SUMMARY table appears below, for your convenience).



BOTTOM LINE Revisited




WHAT THE SUMMARY DISCLOSES

The SUMMARY table tells you whether you are living within your means.

If the  BOTTOM LINE  is a negative number, you are spending more than you earn - which could be the reason it's been difficult to make ends meet.

If the  BOTTOM LINE  is a positive number, you are spending less than you earn; however, it also means that you have unallocated income. The problem with unallocated income is that it tends to disappear without a trace, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a no-no. A positive BOTTOM LINE is good news, indeed. But still denotes a Preliminary Draft - meaning, you need to soldier on.

If the  BOTTOM LINE  is zero, Congratulations!!! You have yourself a Sound Spending Plan.



"Success is measured not by the scope of our possessions but rather, by the extent to which we are able to live life on our own terms."


Nashville, IN USA

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MONEY: A USER GUIDE

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