Getting it Together: Week 4 – Budgeting
Properly budgeting bills is a big deal but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. However, when you keep up with your bills and your budget you save money because everything gets paid on time and you have better control over your money. Joseph and I have throughout the years managed to pay off all our debt, save up for a new house and move to a 1 income household.
To get a good budget down, the first thing you need to do is find all the monthly bills you have to pay, how much and when they are due. Put them on a calendar, write them in a list, do whatever will work for you but get the numbers in front of you. Then consider your daily living expenses that aren’t a bill but still take up bits of your money… mainly gas and groceries. Give yourself a larger estimate than you think you will use. As you get this budgeting thing down, you can get to a more specific number but right now we don’t want to run out of money before you get paid again.
For our bills, since Joseph gets paid on the 15th and 30th, I keep a simple spreadsheet that lists out our income, bills and expenses, as well as the estimated totals and actual totals each category comes down too. Since I mark the due dates, I know which bills need to be paid with the 1st pay check of the month and which needs to be paid with the 2nd pay check of the month. See example below and hit the link underneath to download a working template to fill out for yourself.
Now, I realize it is nothing pretty but it really does the trick. A bill is never forgotten, I never pay late fees and I never go in the negatives in my back account.
As I mentioned up there some, Joseph and I, at one point, paid off all our debt and was debt free. Now, that is no longer the case because we purchased a new car last year. But, here is a secret… I HATE owing money. I find myself more secure in my financials when I have less bills to pay to less people. Because of this, I also keep track of our debt and paying it down in an accelerated manner.
Because I budget my money to make all my bills get paid and estimate gasoline and groceries, I am able to play around with the leftovers. I know that the mid month paycheck is going to give me a lot more money in which to play around with. Right now my choices have been pay debt or work on the nursery… and I’ve done both. But what better way to keep track of debt milestones than by keeping a simple spreadsheet showing off your accomplishments?
Look at that pretty spreadsheet. Just put the date you’re paying on your debt (even if it isn’t extra), mark what it is (car, credit card, student loan, etc) the current total, the payment amount and then the new total. Because it is a super simple spreadsheet that I actually print out because I find writing it out more satisfying, I keep track of starting and ending amount so I don’t have to try and factor in interest. No one has time for that!
So, if you have a little debt you want to pay off, print this sucker out and put it to work. You’ll notice it matches the cleaning list and cleaning recipes. Almost like they are made to be BFF in a home binder (hint hint).
Anyways, this is just a quick run down of how budgeting works in my house and could work in yours, if you wanted it too. The most important thing I want to stress is to actually keep track of your monthly bills and about how much they cost so paying them isn’t a surprise or a burden. Sure, emergencies come up, but when you know your bills are paid, emergencies are MUCH easier to deal with.