Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail!

We're well aware that we're not going to pay $33,000 overnight, but our goal is to be able to tackle it within the next two years.  That being said, we won't be able to achieve our goal if we don't have a well devised plan.The very first step was gaining control of the cash flow in our household. We need to be aware of where every single penny is going so that we can control unnecessary spending.  It was a bit of a trial and error process, but I was able to find a method that worked for us. You will not believe the difference this has made for us! 

I present to you, our Money Management Binder!

Not very fancy, but it sure does get the job done!  Best of all, it didn't cost me a dime! I "borrowed" (lol) a binder from my main man, and DIY'd some dividers from a scrapbook paper pad I already had.  It took a little old fashioned cutting and pasting, but turned out pretty good if you ask me!

Once I had the skin and bones of my binder done, I took to Excel to make some worksheets.  I have three different worksheets under each month: expense tracker, monthly calender, and transaction log.

In the first worksheet, I put down all the basic expenses that I expect to pay each month (bills, haircuts, dog food, etc..), along with the amounts, dates, and, in the notes section, I like to jot down the remaining balances on our debt after the monthly payment. It's really nice to be able see the amounts getting smaller over time, helps keep us motivated.
*Notice that I don't have a section for groceries. I'll get into that in another post.

*I print mine from here
On the calender sheet, I put down the due dates on our bills, along with the lowest amount due, and any other important dates to remember.

The transaction log, pretty much, covers all our other spending that's not included in our regular monthly expenses.  I know most people keep track of these on their bank statements, but actually having to write them down helps us cut down on our splurging.

I like to keep most of the supplies that I use to make payments in this binder too: stamps, envelopes, pens, checks, etc.  I also have a three-hole puncher on my desk that I use to put all our invoices behind the transaction log.  It's very convenient to be able to cross-reference my calculations with the original invoices.

Now that we have our binder all set up, all we have to do is keep up with it.  We've been using this method for about a year, and I can tell you that it was worked wonderfully!  Like I said, it was a trial and error process, but, after a little tweaking, this has helped us cut down significantly on our spending simply by holding us accountable for it!  

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