Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tools for the Journey – Budgeting Worksheets

Yesterday I had the privilege of co-teaching a seminar on budgeting and creative money saving tips as part of the Tools for the Journey workshop at my church. They recorded most of the seminars, so you can look for those here sometime this week.
The main way that we budget right now has evolved from using the Crown Financial Ministries method for many years. This is what we’ve come up with to personalize their great system. If you have never taken a money bible study like Crown or Dave Ramsey, I would strongly recommend it!
Here’s my budget board that hangs very visibly by our coat closet (ignore the fly swatter :))
2011-02-27 Budget Board
First, the color-coded main budget page on the bottom right. This helps keep track of all the categories that need to be paid every month, whether I’ve paid them, and if we were over or under budget.
Monthly Expenses
Next is the tracking sheet for all debit card purchases. I pull out about half of our monthly general fund in cash, and when I do, it goes on this tracking sheet as well. We have found that a combination of cash and debit card without a lot of categories (like groceries, personal care, diapers, etc, etc) works best for us.
Monthly Cash
Then I have a separate sheet to keep track of spending out of savings. This includes things like getting the furnace fixed or other things that were intentional expenditures out of savings. I also have our date night on there, but I usually pull this out in cash as well. This just helps if we go out before I have a chance to do that.
I also made a “Hey Dude, Pay Up!” sheet. This is just for when either I buy something for someone (like at CostCo) or they do the same for me. It’s come about because otherwise *I* would forget. Not at all a reflection on my friends/family who end up on there :-)
Pay Up
Other features of my budget board:
  • All of the papers are in sheet protectors so that I can write on and erase them every month.
  • There are two wet erase markers, a calculator, and a pen velcroed to the board. This way I have *no* excuse not to write down expenditures.
  • I also have a few categories that I pull out in cash every month, like car license. These envelopes are all clipped together and hang on the upper left. The front envelope is for if I have cash that needs to be redeposited (like when I pay the car license) or any random checks that need to be taken to the bank. I try to only go to the bank once or maybe twice a month.
Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of our handout/notes from the seminar!

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