Are you trying to get organized for the new school year? I tell you what- things just get so crazy with work, school, sports, dance, friends…. If it isn’t Crazy Hair day it is wear patriotic colors day or snack mom day or class picture day- whew!
I have been working hard to keep us on track this year and one thing that I feel like I finally got a handle on is the finances.
I thought I would mention how I keep track of all the finances and maybe this will either inspire you to get a little more organized or maybe you will share some of your great tips to keep on top of things!
Just click below to get the details.
I do want to say that although I try to make things look nice, this binder is meant to be functional and not necessarily the most lovely thing ever.
The upside to Pinterest is that many of the printables are free and beautifully designed so that makes things easy (all sources I used will be linked at the bottom) but the downside is that I often feel like every single thing in our house has to be perfect (sigh).
Unfortunately perfect doesn’t live here anymore so this is a no fuss and simple binder to pull together ;).
In our house we have a division of labor, my husband pays all the bills and at the end of the month I balance the checkbooks and I enter everything into Quickbooks.
So this is how we keep all that important stuff straight.
I don’t need a lot of stuff for my binder like Post Its and pens and such since I keep this at my desk. So the front of the binder just has a simple little Avery stick on pouch for any misc. items that I am working on. Currently I have a rebate receipt that needs to be sent off, or I might have bank statements I am working on, bills that need to be paid etc… The pouch usually holds the checkbook but I took that out for photographs.
The next section is the calendar. My husband likes to write all the dates in that bills are due- this calendar is only for finances and it isn’t our family schedule so it is pretty empty. I have 6 months printed out at a time so I also jot down property taxes, car renewals and other expenses that don’t come up every single month.
And the next stop is the bill payment checklist. This is just a year at a glance checklist to make sure everything is paid on time. My husband actually pays the bills so he uses the calendar I mentioned above, but I use this when I am balancing the checkbooks just to be certain we didn’t forget anything.
One little tip is that the dividers have a section for notes on the back side, I use Washi tape and make little notes to myself or I stick Post Its on the back. You can kind of see my little Washi tape note in the top left there with a log in I never seem to remember ;).
The nice thing about Washi is that it just pulls right off when you don’t need it anymore.
Next is the monthly budget worksheet. There are lots of free printable budget worksheets out there but honestly I would encourage you to just make one of your own. This might be just pen to paper or I just typed one up really quickly in Word. Every person will have slightly different expenses so I don’t think there is one budget form that will work for everyone.
I print it out fresh each month and just change the month at the top of the sheet. This is the September sheet before it was filled out and underneath is the finished August sheet, July sheet etc… So I have a little quick reference of the year at my fingertips.
I include all the fixed expenses such as the Mortgage, Utilities, School Tuition, Insurance etc… I also include the children’s activities under fixed so Spanish and Dance lessons that we pay for monthly are also included. I have the variable expenses under that and those include Groceries, Charitable Gifts (our tithing etc…), our monthly retirement contribution and then a Misc. category. This is just a little at a glance sheet so any clothing, vacations, dining out and so on gets lumped into the Misc.
My husband and I typically talk a little about what we anticipate spending Misc. money on that month and then we assign an amount. We try to stick to what we budgeted but obviously this is the category that can get out of control really quickly.
There is a total at the bottom for what we plan to spend that month and then when I balance the checkbook, I jot down the actual that we spent. At that point, we can evaluate if we were on track or way off. The last slot is the difference of what we budgeted vs. the actual expense.
Also in this section are the monthly bank statements. I print them out each month and use a highlighter to work down each transaction we made. I enter every transaction into Quickbooks so we have a detailed record of where all our money went. Once the checkbook is balanced, I staple the statements together and hole punch and put them in this section. Really I could probably toss them all out but I like to have them just in case I want to reference back to something later in the year.
And this sounds like a ton of effort but honestly once you set all your accounts up online (in Quickbooks or whatever) it really doesn’t take much time to maintain it monthly.
The next section is just a quick networth summary. Now I am not Warren Buffet or anything but I like to see where our retirement accounts and savings accounts stand at the end of the month.
We did the debt snowball several years ago so the only debt we have is the mortgage and I like to see how that is going as well. California is a very volatile real estate market and our interest rate is crazy low so we actually deviated from the debt snowball on this one point (sorry Dave Ramsey). If you do have credit cards and car loans and such, this would be a great spot to keep track of debts and repayment plan progress.
Oh and I do have some sheet protectors located here and there to wrangle in stray stuff. This is a sheet protector that holds all those little receipts from Goodwill. I just used Washi tape to make a little label for the sheet but for the most part you can see exactly what everything is at a glance.
And the last spot is personal stuff mostly for the kids. I try to keep this just finances and bills but this one section also has important stuff to keep track of. The top is a 2013 calendar and under that is a 2014 calendar. I make notes to myself of dental appointments, medical appointments, shots, eye exams etc…
I have a terrible time remembering this stuff but my littlest wears glasses so she needs to go every 3 months to the Optometrist. When we have an appointment I come home and make a note to myself about when I need to set the next appointment for to help me keep track. The girls just had dental checkups and cleanings recently so I have noted in Feb 2014 that it is time again for all that.
Behind that are a few more sheet protectors with extracurricular activities and school info sheets. The orientation packets for both of my children’s teachers have a sheet protector and then I have one for things like Dance Lessons. We have the little contract, the schedule of classes (in case I need to do a makeup class), receipts for the annual showcase costumes and stuff like that. I try to keep it at just what we really need so the binder isn’t crazy overflowing.
And that is it! How I keep it all organized and together! Now that the holidays are approaching I will be adding the Holiday Gift Worksheet very soon to keep track of the presents I buy for people and tuck away.
And if you are interested in some of the resources for the printables:
- Free Monthly 2013 Calendar from TomKat Studios (Update: Here is the 2014 version)
- Free Bill Payment Checklist from Pinch a Little, Save a Lot
- Monthly Budget Worksheet- I typed up in Word
- Annual 2013/2014 Calendar (tons to choose from here)
And if you are interested in more organizing ideas to tame the paperwork Monster:
And some tips on How to be More Productive Everyday