Great New Budget Binder!

No joke, I am thrilled about this! I saw a great new pin which inspired me to re-organize the way I do our family budget. I’d already moved our bills off an overly complicated Excel document onto a printout because my computer crashes ALL THE TIME. I got tired of having to reconstruct the stupid thing all the time. At one time, I’d used Google docs, but let’s be honest…Googel docs sucks.

Anyway, this new system ROCKS.

I’ll dive right in.

First off, I chose not to have the perfectly decorated and labelled cover. Instead I chose to go with some original Robert Family Artwork.

Anyway, on to business.

The first great new addition to the bill system is the Income Breakdown. My husband is working two jobs now. It wouldn’t be so hard to predict our income if he worked the same amount of hours each week, but he doesn’t. The easiest way for me to plan a budget works out like this:

I take the minimum amount of hours he works at each job, multiply that by his base pay, and then plan on 80 percent of that (after tax money). I write that amount in the “Amt Expected” column for each pay-day. When the actual check comes, I write that amount in the “Amt Received” column. Here’s the bonus, when there is an overage, I write that in the “Difference” column. At the end of the month, we take the Difference and put it toward paying off a targeted debt!

This is REVOLUTIONARY for me. I never have to worry about shorting us in one area when paying extra down on bills. It is a huge relief for me.

I printed this out for 6 months on one sheet.

Next up: The Budget Check-off List. This is the super simplified spreadsheet I pulled off my computer. Basically just a list of all of our monthly, constant expenses. I left blanks at the end because on my previous sheet, as we paid off one bill or added a new one, I had to print off a whole new sheet. Not this time!

The first column (blocked out) is a cheat-sheet of passwords. Those stupid things are hard to change, so I literally have 4 different usernames and 3 different passwords that I have to keep track of. These simple cheats help me not get locked out of my accounts! The next column is the due date, followed by the actual bill title. Next is the monthly minimum due. Then the balance (when applicable). I do have a column to denote if the bill is an automatic withdrawal, though I’m not convinced I need that yet. Lastly, I have a column for each month. I started out just putting an X in each box as things were paid, but now I write the actual amount paid because we are trying to pay things off, so it helps me keep track at a glance.

This is my Budget Breakdown.

For each unpredictable expense that we still have to pay every month, I made spreadsheets too. This is an easy way to see how much we’re really spending on things like non-grocery household necessities versus how much we think we are spending. Again I left a column for the “Difference” so I can see if I need to put more money in that bucket, or if we have an overage that can go toward bills or savings.

I did the same thing for our new, very limited grocery budget.

The grocery budget actually inspired this whole new sha-bang. I have to figure out how to feed myself, 2 boys and my still-growing husband on no more than $75 each week. As you can see, I managed to get this week’s groceries for just $69.38…I wrote it as $70, but still! Yay!

The best things about this Budget Binder, though, is that it majorly cuts down how much crap I have to file! I hate filing. I always put it off and let things pile up on my desk until they drive me so insane that I have to move them or I risk burning down my own house just to be rid of all the papers. No more! Now I simply punch holes in the statement I receive in the mail and put it in the appropriate section of the binder.

Some bills don’t have a section because I get e-statements, though I might add them in later so I can keep track of the confirmation numbers when I pay online. I recently had some trouble with that.

Anyway, I am super excited. Be excited with me, won’t you?

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