This is my summer of organization! I know most of you are thinking summer is the time to relax and take it easy. I plan on doing that! But I also think summer is a good time to do a little organizing since I do have more free time and I will have more hands available to help me did do some projects. So my first project was to re-organize our finances (you’ll find out why as you read on) and I made a budget binder! I also have a list of free printable financial planning pages at the end of this post.
I know that most people set up a basic budget in January for the year. I always did. There’s nothing like a shiny New Year to get you motivated to make changes and be more organized!
The only problem I realized is that, for my family at least, I would often have to re-do it mid year because my husband’s company has our medical insurance running June – May and every year the options get worse and the cost is more! It’s also the time that our mortgage company re-evaluates our escrow account for taxes which affects our mortgage payment. I never know how these two things will go! Sometimes things stay pretty much the same and sometimes, like this year, we’ll be paying close to $200 more per paycheck for medical (plus a high deductible) starting June. Yep, an extra $400 a month!! I almost cried when I saw that!
So now I’m going to try setting up our basic budget from June-May and see how that works. We’ll continue to re-evaluate it each month and tweak it as necessary.
I know it’s “old school” to use pencil and paper but that’s how I like doing it. I have tried other budgeting methods. Some people keep their budgets in an Excel spreadsheet, some use online programs like Mint or YNAB, some use Quicken, some use the envelope method and some people don’t care and do nothing and it all works out for them… or not
I would say do whatever method that engages you and really makes you aware of your spending and saving. I’m not completely old school…I do pay all the bills that can be paid online and I use Quicken as my check register and just download our transactions every day.
My Budget Binder
My budget binder is a 1 1/2 inch binder with various inserts from different places on the internet. It contains:
1. A pocket for receipts that need to be filed – that way they don’t accumulate in a pile on my desk. You may want to keep stamps or something else in it.
2. A monthly checklist to make sure bills are paid (that way my husband would know what bills need to be paid & when should I be unable to). I’ve been using free printable calendars.
3. Debt tracking sheet – a place to list debts that have a monthly balance and get excited watching them go down!
4. Annual Expense sheet to keep track of those expenses that happen once a year and then break them down into a monthly cost for budgeting. For example: Termite Bond Renewal, AAA Membership, Warehouse Club Renewal Fee, Membership/Subscription Fees, Property tax if it’s not included in your mortgage etc.
5. Total Income & Expense worksheet with Financial goals for the year. That way you can see where to cut if you have more going out than coming or if you have certain financial goal you want to reach.
6. Monthly & weekly budget planner pages divided by monthly tabs. Weekly pages are so I can keep track of groceries, entertainment, personal spending money etc. that I budget a weekly amount for.
7. Some people might want to keep check register pages in their planner but like I said, I use Quicken plus I rarely ever write checks. Some people might want to use cash tracking pages if they use mostly cash. Use whatever sheets apply to your needs in making your budget planner.
My daughter sells really cute Home Management Binder Cover Sheets in her etsy store here. There are lots of people that sell budget planner kits on etsy so check there if you want to save time.
Here are some places for free budget planning sheets to help you get started. If you offer some on your blog or know of others, leave the url in the comments and I’ll add it to this list. I’ll keep updating this list as I find more free planner pages so be sure to bookmark this post to see any changes.
Resources for Free Printable Budget Worksheet