House Budget: What to Expect

When I first started my search for my house back in November 2009, I did a lot of research online (as well as offline… thank you friends and family for putting up with all my questions… lol!) as to what I should expect my monthly budget and house costs to be, and wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t find a thing! Nothing! Zip! I guess people are not very willing to share their monthly budgets or expenses.

First off, I found this frustrating. I am the planning type, and I wanted to know exactly what to expect.

Right then and there I made a promise to myself that I would help out young, first time home buyers by offering up a copy of my monthly expenses/budget.

I realize finances can be very personal to some, but I know the feeling of fear and frustration when you first move into your new house and you do not know what to expect what-so-ever in terms of how much your average gas bill will be, or how much electricity you will use.

So now that I have been in my house for a little over 3 months, I have a pretty good idea of the average costs of my variable and fixed expenses.

Monthly House Expenses:

Mortgage/Rent $640
Electricity $43*
Gas/Oil $140 – $185*
Water Heater $15
Phone/Cell $42
Cable $65
Internet $50
Condo Fees $280
Property Tax $143
Contents Insurance $20
Improvements $0
Other $0

There are a few things to keep in mind with these expenses. Number one, the electricity bill is paid bi-monthly, so the bill is about $86. Number two, my furnace is 35 years old, and these costs are from December to April (the coldest months of the year in Canada).

I put “Improvements” and “Other” in there because I technically do not have an ongoing budget for them. These are the things that come up unexpectedly, and the way I have my flowchart set up, it ends up coming out of my savings.

I also keep track of everything I spend. I do this in a Google Spreadsheet. I use the Google Spreadsheet rather than Excel because I can access it anywhere; at home, at work, and on the go.

I break down everything into sections; Income, Home Expenses, Daily Living, and Transportation. All the cells are formatted so it does all the calculations for me automatically (which is awesome because I absolutely suck at doing this type of math!) At the far right you can see it calculates all your expenses, minus your income, and you are left with the amount you should have in your savings account at the end of the month.

Great Right??

Lucky for you I won’t make you go through the pain of re-creating this spreadsheet, you can access it here using Google Spreadsheet.

How to use this Spreadsheet
Make sure you are logged into your Google account. Once you open it in Google Spreadsheet, you cannot edit it right there, you must choose “File – Make a Copy”. You will then be able to edit and put in your own numbers. If you do not have a Google account you can choose “File – Download as…” then choose the file type you would like to work with (Excel, Open Office, etc)

Spread the Love
I hope that this post makes it way around the internet and is helpful to those first time home buyers who don’t have a clue what to expect! I also hope that it inspires others to share their experiences because making such a large financial commitment can be scary, and for some of us, like me, needs to be well planned out in advance.

So tweet, digg, and link away! And if you do, come back here to let me know.

If you have any questions leave them in the comments section and I will get back to you…. I promise!

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