Sunday, October 14, 2012

Budget Binder

I know I'm a little late, but as promised I want to show you all my budget binder. I was one day googling ways to save money and getting out of debt when I came upon Oprah's Debt Diet Action plan. Now, I have never been an Oprah fan meaning I have just never watched her show, but I may be her new biggest fan as I have fallen in love with this 8 step program. Here is the URL:

The plan has a lot of good information in there to let you know how much you should be spending monthly on things like housing and debt as well as some good templates for you to use. Going through it really motivated me to create a binder and have all my budget information in one place. I printed off the 8 steps and after work I went straight to wal-mart to pick up a binder, dividers, and pencils. Now mind you I have only just started on this binder so It will need some changes, but I am in love with it thus far.

The first thing I did was pick out the most adorable binder that I could find that way there would be at least a little excitement when it's time to look at the finances. I recommend doing something similar while you might not want a binder with a cute kitten on it you could get one and design your own. But alas, due to my strong love of cats I of course chose a binder with an adorable cat on it.

 At the very front of the binder I put the front page of Oprah's Debt Diet so I could see all eight steps listed out. I made tabs for each of the 8 steps, but I think I might change that because it just looks a little busy.

Step 1 has you calculate how much debt you really have and I really liked this step as it forces you to look at everything you owe on one page. I printed out the template and did everything in pencil that way as I paid things off I could erase them or easily make any other types of changes. I'm going to be completely honest this step was pretty depressing. 

Step 5 was my favorite step, because it lays out how much you really should be spending on each category. When I did the calculations I was not even close to the recommended amount. My other living expenses were $525 more than they should be and my transportation costs were $295 more. However, this step got me to realize how much I really am overspending on things.

This step also includes a monthly spending plan, that I do not have pictured, but basically I used the figures above to create an idea of what I should be spending each month. After doing this I was able to find an extra $484 each month which could be really useful if I can stick to my budget. One way I'm going to do this is by a recommendation given to me by my good friend Amanda she said when she was living with her husband and sister they would each put cash into a jar every week and that would be their grocery money. I plan on doing the same thing, but with grocery and eating out money.  

The next three tabs are my budget, spending, and bills. In the budget section i printed out my budget for October-Novemeber and added it in. I am still using the same template I showed you awhile ago and it is still working wonders.

In the spending section I just have a print out of my monthly spending since June that way I can see how much it has changed, what's gone up, what's gone down, etc. I also did an average/total of the past four months where I took the totals from each category from June-Sept calculated the averages, the totals, the highest, and the lowest. This was actually pretty interesting to see.

The last tab is the Bills tab, my least favorite tab. The first page is a print out of a calendar for the current month that I found online. I found all the due dates for all my bills and penciled in when each of them were due. I also penciled in when Jack and I get paid so that way I can easily calculate what paychecks will be designated for what bills. After I pay a bill I simply highlight it.

The last part is all my overdue bills. Bills that I may have just missed a month or medical bills that I just lost track of. I wrote down the total amount of each bill due and listed them in order of which ones need to be paid first. I then got a copy of each bill and put them in the binder. Every time I make a payment I write down the date and amount paid of the payment. 

I still have a long way to go with this binder, but I am impressed with the start of it. I will keep you update with any changes that I may make.

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