budget plannerThursday, February 21, 2013
Over the course of the years we have had many a budget planner. It has taken some time, years actually, but I think we have finally gotten into a groove. Our goal for 2013 is to pay off and down debt. So we wanted to try and use the best aspects of prior budget systems we have used and combine them together to fit our needs.
We melded together Dave Ramsay's cash system and our system. Dave Ramsay teaches to spend your entire income - to have a plan down to ever last penny. Using a cash system and allotting each penny to be paid towards bills, then paying off starting with the smallest bills each month. Once one is paid off you use the funds from the previous bill and pay towards the next highest and so on.
I have discovered that I don't do well with all of our money being spent. I like to feel like we have a safety net so we developed a system that provides a cash system set up with all of the remaining going into savings and then each month we discuss what to pay off. Our cash system uses virtual envelopes, using actual cash doesn't seem to work for our household so we set a budget and keep all of the receipts spent for the category and make sure we don't exceed that amount.
We have three budget meetings a month. Each pay day (we get paid on the same days) and again on the 23rd of each month. There is no rhyme or reason to the 23rd, its a special number to us so it is easy to remember.
In order to keep track I use excel spreadsheets that I created that has what we need to keep track. They include an monthly planner and a register to track daily expenses so my numbers match the numbers my banks reports.
I plugged in some sample numbers so you can see how it looks filled in.
To simplify the bill paying/planning process there are only a couple of areas I fill in which includes our monthly income, fluctuating bill amounts and the bill codes I created. Here is my planner interface so you can see what I see when I am entering our numbers.
Our planner has everything we need to budget effectively every month including:
- monthly income
- bill amounts
- cash system set up for fuel and groceries
- ability to 'check' off once a bill is cleared our bank
- visual on how much is remaining after all bills are paid
- pay dates for the year