Mid-Month Budget Check-In with Actual Numbers

{A side note: Yesterday, Dirt Road Daisy hit its first 1000 views! I am so excited and thankful to those of you continuing to return}

Near the middle of each month, I print out our bank statements, comb through them, categorize each transaction, add it to the budget spreadsheet, and take stock of where we stand.  I primarily do this mid-month check-up for one reason: to assess our variable expenses.  We’ve identified the variable expenses as the category that kills our budget for very obvious reasons…they vary. By looking at what we’ve spent so far this month, I am able to grasp whether we are on track to be below, on, or exceeding  our budgeted amounts.

I have this in a nifty 3 columned spreadsheet with some very obvious formatting to let me know how off or on the tracks we are. The 3 columns are: Budgeted, Actual, and Results. I put the values pulled from our transactions into the actual column. The results column contains formulas and conditional formatting built into the spreadsheet so the values and colors are generated automatically.

Green means we are under target, yellow is on target, red is exceeding target.

A quick glance at the Living Expense category will show you a few things: we are on budget for rent and car insurance. Duh, those are fixed and don’t change each month. I overestimated our utilities bill, so we are under in that category. I underestimated gas, so it is red.

The glaring factor in this snippet is that we are $175.06 over budget in the cell phone line. My poor 6 year old Samsung Galaxy finally died on me. The $295.06 we spent here takes the replacement phone I purchased into account.

Here is our mid-month check up:

{ If you would like an in-depth look at our monthly budget, I wrote about it HERE }

Like I said, at the mid-month check-in I’m most focused on the variable expenses. Here are the main take-aways:

  • Groceries: We’ve used about 50% of our grocery budget. I’m happy with this and will just be mindful to shop smart the rest of the month. Status: Good. 
  • Pets: We have $41.30 left to spend for our pets. I anticipate we will go over this by the end of the month. The price of their dog food has jumped, plus they will need their flea/tick/heartworm meds. Status: Meh. 
  • Household Misc: About 50% here, not bad. I don’t have any more purchases planned in this department. We’ll see how well that goes. Status: Good. 
  • Fuel: This will be a close one. Gas prices have risen to about $2.25/gallon here. We were spoiled with the prices hovering around $2.00/gallon for a while. This line will probably have to be adjusted next month. Status: Meh. 
  • Entertainment: We are on track to be a little over budget here. Mr. Daisy spent around $40 at an indoor archery range to practice his craft. He could have worse hobbies 🙂 Status: Over-budget
  • Spending cash: We’re definitely on track to be over-budget here. No rhyme, reason, or excuse. It’s just something we will have to be smarter about next month. Maybe a goal for next month will be to track our (ehemm, my) spending money and see where’s it’s going… Status: Over-budget. 
  • Little Daisy: We spent some money on matching outfits for Little Daisy and her new baby niece for Easter photos. I know, not frugal. But I have justification! These photos will make adorable frugal gifts for grandmas, great grandmas, and great-great grandmas (yes, we have those!). I will take the photos myself with my DSLR. So in the long-run, it may be a frugal win 😉 Status: Good. 
  • Oh $hit: Remember my KFC frugal fail that I talked about HERE?  I threw that in this category. Status: Good. 
  • Other: Another budget buster. I forgot to budget for two wedding showers this month and clothing for a wedding that Mr. Daisy is a groomsman in. There are also a few ATM fees and eBay sales packaging purchases thrown in. Status: Over-budget. 

In addition to the mid-month check up, Mr. Daisy and I have quickie budget meetings, usually each Sunday evening. These last no longer than a few minutes and are not in depth whatsoever. I’m the spreadsheet nerd, him not so much. Since I manage everything financial-related, we utilize these to maintain open communication about finances and where we stand. I’m sure we are all aware that finances are easily a top contender in the category of divorce-causer. We quickly discuss how much is in the checking account, what bills will be paid in the coming week, and any other expenses we assume will come up. For instance, this past Sunday Mr. Daisy let me know that his truck will need ball joints and some sort of transfer case thingy in the very near future. While it will be a hit to our budget, we are fortunate to not have to shoulder full retail prices on parts or pay for service at a shop. The perks of marrying a mechanic and having a dad that’s a business owner.

At the end of the month I will share the final numbers for the month, including our income (which is set to be more than expected, yay for overtime!).

How is your budget looking so far this month?


I am attempting to grow this blog and its audience to form a community of like-minded individuals that can learn from each other.
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  1. Making Your Money Matter | 16th Mar 17

    I love reading other people’s budgets, seriously! You are rocking it with keeping up on it so often as well. I hope my cell phone/laptop/ipad/kindle doesn’t die on me – I hate spending money on that kind of stuff-it really makes a dent in the budget!

    • Mrs. Daisy | 16th Mar 17

      Thank you! I also love reading and learning from other people’s budgets which is why I started to blog about mine! Fingers crossed that your devices stay alive 🙂

  2. Erik @ The Mastermind Within | 16th Mar 17

    Nice start to the month! 🙂 250 below budget is great. Does any excess just go into savings?

    I like the blurb you put in at the end. Building a community of like-minded individuals is something I’m trying to do as well. Thanks for stopping by my blog to check it out often.

    • Mrs. Daisy | 16th Mar 17

      Thank you, Erik! As far as excess is concerned, we play it on a month-to-month basis. If we feel that the money is better served in our savings, it’ll go there. Usually, we throw any excess onto a debt as part of our debt snowball. Thank you for stopping by often as well! I’m starting to make blogosphere friends quickly and I love it!

  3. TrayceeBee | 16th Mar 17

    I think you are very brave to post your actual numbers! I, too, love reading other people’s budgets. And honestly, I’m not a math nerd so it’s much easier to process with “real” numbers rather than percentages. Thanks for the true glimpse into your month! =)

    • Mrs. Daisy | 16th Mar 17

      Thank you! Using real numbers is the reason that I decided to stay anonymous, at least for the time being. I was the same as you. I was stumbling across all of these blogs and I was in such a hole that I needed real, tangible advice and evidence that I could relate to. That’s why I decided to use my numbers. And also to hold myself accountable 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Katy | 16th Mar 17

    thanks for posting your mid-month check in! We are still getting our new budget squared away (new job, no grad school, no student loans) . I think it might take us a while to figure out where things settle out. Because of my new job, we are lucky enough to be able to spend more on some conveniences (cleaning lady and some convenience meals). I’ll be feeling better in a few months once we know where we really stand budget wise!

    • Mrs. Daisy | 17th Mar 17

      Hi Katy! Congratulations on the new job! I’m so happy that you’ll be able to afford some luxuries. A cleaning lady is SUCH a luxury in my mind 🙂 Rooting for you as you get your new-ish life all figured out!

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