OK, now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of this challenge! I figured the best place to start is with the backbone of any home, finances. Some weeks, if I get nothing else done but our finances in order, things are a-ok. I know that this post isn’t about physically organizing but it has been very beneficial in keeping an organized home. While this may seem like a lot of work, it has made life much easier. I just spend about 15-20 minutes a few times a week entering in our receipts. This makes it much easier to see if we can afford something at any point in the month or wrap everything up at the end of the month.
Throughout the years I have utilized Excel to create documents to track our checkbook, monthly budget, spending summary and payment history. While they will always be a work in progress, I think they are pretty inclusive and extremely helpful in keeping our finances organized.
I never really liked the checkbook register. I would always forget something and then have to cross out a ton of entries or ripe out a page and rewrite. This allows me to move things around as needed and the formula does all the math for me :). I use red type for deposits and black for purchases/withdrawals.
Any incoming money goes under the income button. This includes paychecks, gifts, etc…
All reoccurring bills are listed under reoccurring bills. The dates in parenthesis are the due dates and they are listed by the date I plan to pay them. I include how they are paid and if they are automatic. As you can see, automatic is my favorite kind of bill.
Under spending, I list anything we spend money on. Column F is the date spent and the store. I enter purchases with a – sign to deduct the amount from our monthly budget (G). I also include the payment used which helps remind me when I use a different card (like a Kohls charge card or credit card we do not normally use). I can’t stand paying late fees because I forgot about a charge I made. I then categorize the purchase. Common categories are groceries, food, transportation, baby, hobbies, gifts and medical. This helps me look at where we are spending the most amount of money each month and what can be changed to lower our budget.
Throughout the month, I will check our bank and credit card sites and confirm the deposits and purchases This helps if hubby forgets to give me a receipt. Once I have confirmed a payment or deposit, I highlight that in yellow.
This is one of my favorite worksheets because it allows me to see how much I spend on certain categories each month. It helps me predict higher spending specific months which I can then plan ahead for. It takes some time entering in all of the purchases but is well worth it at the end of the year.
The payment history worksheet is a quick way to check if and when you paid a bill. The remaining balance column also allows you to see what accounts you have an outstanding balance. I tend to include credit cards, merchant cards, student loans, conservancy payments and utilities.
I don’t think I could ever have enough accordion folders! I use one to keep current receipts from the various credit cards and bank cards we use. It is extremely convenient to be able to look through one section quickly to find the right receipt. I typically keep any receipt where there is an option to return the item. This system has prevent many breakdowns at the return desk of stores.
I also have an accordion folder that is for memberships and warranties. I have them divided up by category. This has really helped when we need to exchange something because it is damaged etc…
That wraps up day #2 for me! I apologize this is getting out at the last possible moment (only 10 minutes to spare). Things have been quite chaotic around here as things are progressing with the sale of our home and purchase of our new home. Check back tomorrow where I will be talking about meal planning!