Home Management Guide

Building an HMG: Money, Money, Money!

The finance section is directly in the middle of my Home Management Guide. This important section of my book hasn’t been used as much the last few months as our independent contracting has slowed. Regardless, these pages are vital to the household!

First in the Money section is a binder pocket which holds envelopes. In these, we used to keep actual cash earned from side jobs. We would split them up between paying extra on loans, taxes and make sure to gather tithe from the cash earned. Now, we do most of this electronically, however, I put little IOUs in the envelope still, so I know just how much goes where when bill-paying time rolls around.

On the opposite side is a simple spreadsheet I made through Google Docs (my computer does not currently have the Office suite). This tracks only our major bills, and even though I do all of this on this computer now, I still print off the completed spreadsheet each month and add it to the book. That way my husband can take a peek at the progress we’re making on debt, when bills are due, and what new bills we’ve acquired without having to ask to see my computer.

As a side note here, I have seen many relationships ruined by spouses hiding money from each other. I had embarrassing debts before our marraige that I hated to burden my husband with, but being absolutely open about the finances is crucial to our relationship. This keeps me from giving in to my inclination to hide mistakes or overspending. He can see it all in black & white. It also forces me to stick to the budget we agreed to!

Anyway, the next page is another envelope. This holds all of our MANY receipts necessary for tax purposes. For us, that includes gas receipts, supply costs, etc. For your family, this might be a handy place to keep things like check stubs or receipts from day care. In other words, all things the tax man will need to see.

The pocket on the right holds a bunch of miscellaneous junk really. It’s stuff I need and use though. For instance, there’s a checkbook (which I lose since I only use it to pay bills), and a goal list for me to budget groceries from. (I got it off the USDA site, and we’ve actually cut their “frugal” budget in half!)

That’s it. Money Section done. If you think of anything to add, leave me a comment! I’d love the suggestions.

Tomorrow: The Family Section.

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