13 July 2008

How I budget

Over the last 7 months, I've had a lot of people ask me how I am doing this. Here is one part of it, my budget. I should first point out that I'm really obsessed with, and really good at, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, so that is what I use, but you don't have to do what I do. This is just how I do it.

For each month, I have a column that looks like this:

4 Jul 08 $amount of pay
Savings $.$$
CC Bill $.$$
Daycare $.$$
Phone Bill $.$$

Total Left $.$$

11 Jul 08 $pay
Savings $.$$
Daycare $.$$
CC Bill $.$$

Total Left $.$$

18 Jul 08 $ pay
Savings $.$$
Daycare $.$$
Car Payment $.$$
CC Bill $.$$
Renter's Insurance $.$$

Total Left $.$$

25 Jul 08 $ pay
Savings $.$$
Daycare $.$$
Rent $.$$
CC Bill $.$$

Total Left $.$$

So, depending on what is due that week, and how much I have coming in, I either put money into savings, or take money out of savings. About every six months, I add six months onto the bottom of the spreadsheet, and I start at the latest date with 0.00 in savings and work backwards, so I always have enough in my savings account to pay everything on time.

Now, this is where it gets a little tricky. I actually have another sheet in this excel book that keeps track of what is in savings. I use an excel formula to automatically copy the amount coming in or out of savings into the savings sheet, and if I go in the red on that sheet, I know immediately. If anyone really wants to try this, I can tell you what the formulas are.

Next to each bill is a box that I mark with an X when I pay it, and I add a comment that has the confirmation number in case I need that. To the right of the amount is the date it is due, so I'm not late.

I pay all my bills except my car loan, which is through a very small credit union, online. To balance my checking account, I use Microsoft Money. I import my checking account register into Money, and balance it in Money, which is very easy.

That's it! (Stop laughing at how complicated I made this. I'm a librarian, I like to organize things).

2 comments:

Amy said...

I need to start a budget. You make it sound so easy! My biggest problem is that I don't have enough to budget!

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