So as I said last in my last Wednesday post I have sat down and made our budget for the year. Now as my Mom says, "How can you budget for something 12 months from now?" This is where I feel as though our budget book differs. What I do at the end of each year is sit down and budget out what our monthly bills and compare our electric bill to that same month from the year before.
What this helps me do is see the things that need to be paid on each payday and ensure that they are paid and on time. I make sure that when I buy a new budget book for the year that it is small enough that it will fit in any bag I may carry. And that sucker goes with me everywhere! It helps to serve as a constant reminder that I am a grownup and I have bills to pay before I go blowing money.
They way I have found works for us with our budget book is this:
At the front of the book I always include a list of debts we are taking into the new year, a list of home renovation goals, a list of debt/money goals and a savings plan. With all of these goals I try to be realistic and generally try to complete a debt goal and then reward myself with a home renovation goal. These are all rather personal things for us so I would rather not include pictures of them.
I like to have 2 pages for each paycheck, generally just use front and back, and one page for the day before our next paycheck.
On the back of the paycheck sheet I have listed 4 questions, I like to use these 4 questions to keep myself in check and to serve as a reminder of good and bad things I have done. This is my space to be brutally honest about mine and Chris' spending habits and also keep an eye on how we are performing with goals.
And on the next page, my day before payday check in, is where I will keep track of what our bank accounts look like the day before we get paid. Now currently Chris and I are living paycheck to paycheck and there is very little left over when it comes time to be paid again, although we did very well with setting aside money to spend on Alex for Christmas this year. But this is a habit we desperately want to change for the coming years! So in making this sheet in this year's budget book I hope it will become an encouraging factor to keep money in the bank so that I can be proud to write a number other than 0!
On this page I have also made spaces for me to write in how much is left on both mine and Chris's car loans. Our goal is to have Chris's car paid off before our anniversary in April and mine paid down by at least $6,000 dollars this year. Once we pay off Chris's loan we intend to pay what we were paying on his to mine to pay it off sooner!
That is really it. I try to be as simplistic as possible while still be thorough. So far we are on a good track to start the year off right.
Maybe sometime in July I will try to check in on how our budget is doing.