My Budgeting Method

The big thing going around right now is budgeting. On Etsy and all around the web you can find pre-made and colorful budget sheets. These personally irritate me. Why you may ask? Because they aren’t personal.

These plans that you can purchase or download aren’t filled out. You have to hand write every month, every line item, everything!! I’m sorry, I don’t have the patience for this and I could careless about how pretty it looks; I am all about functionality! That leads me to my best friend…Excel.

I love Excel and have since college. Excel is what I used for planning class schedules, work schedules, and homework. To this day this is what I use as my main planning tool. I use it for trips, budgeting (obviously), grocery lists, and anything that will lend its self to it. So how do I use it for budgeting?

I am lucky enough to have a husband that is salaried. This means for us that every check (paid twice a month) is the exact same. No deviations; minus bonuses and pay increases. This makes my life easy! With Excel I have sat down and made 2 budget sheets. One is my master sheet(s) and the other is my binder sheet.

The master copy is really 3 pages long. Page 1 is the entire month. It has the total monthly income, all the bills, all the credit payments, student loan payments, everything on it. Page 2 is the first paycheck of the month. This page has only the things that need to come out of that paycheck. The specific bills, the specific credit cards, ect. The third page is the exact same but for the bills the second half of the month. Now, have you ever noticed that almost all bills are due at the exact same time? I swear that all mine are due within a week of each other! This can make it a little more complicated.

To solve this problem I looked at the exact date that all the bills are due. From there I sat down with my budget and looked at when was the best time to remove those bills from each paycheck so that when it was due I would have the money for it. Sometimes I end up holding on to money for a week or two till I have the statement so I can pay it. Now, my credit card payments I make when I have the money in the account. This usually means that my payments are made almost a week before they are due; yeah! My print outs are a little different.

Master Budget Example. Bolded items are priority items.

Master Budget Example

For my print outs I have taken each paychecks plan and placed it into an easy write on format. I have also taken my budget and divided it up into my 3 accounts; I will talk about those in a few. With in the three sections are what items (gas, grocery, ect) belongs in that account and how much. Then there are the columns. The columns that I have are budgeted amount, actually amount (what my bill really is), and notes. Typically what goes into the notes are things like confirmation numbers, if I didn’t move an entire amount why, and things like that. I also have a spot for what amount should be left in my secondary checking account at the next paycheck. This typically is things like garbage money; which is paid billed every two months. If for some reason I end up with extra money (over budgeted for some odd reason) I just move that money to my savings account. Which, brings me back my 3 account system.

Paycheck Printout Example

Printable Budget Sheets

I have my Main Checking account (our debit card account) which has the grocery money, gas money, fun money, car maintenance money, and house maintenance money.  I than have my Secondary Checking account which is the bill pay account; this account does have a debit card but, it doesn’t get carried around. All my bill money goes into this account. Pretty self-explanatory right? The Third account is the House savings account. This is where my vacation money, house savings, and auto insurance money goes. On top of these accounts we each have a separate untouchable account(s). I have one for student loans; I would move it over but I get the whole .25% interest rate deduction with it so I am NOT losing. Then I have my Car fund account 😀 This is the account where I put 30% of any paycheck I receive into. My Hubby has his account for projects; car restoration, ect. Make any sense to you?

This is the system that works best for me. I have no idea if it works for you but it’s just 1 more to add to the millions out there. It sums up to this:

  1. Excel is my go to planner. Easy to change numbers, formatting, ect on it. 
  2. It’s free to me! Which I care most about, and it’s functional. I don’t need fancy colors, formats, ect. So why pay for it?
  3. Multiple accounts. Keeps the money for bills, loans, ect safe and out of spending range. I have 3 house accounts and 2 “private” accounts.
  4. Planning! You need to plan out what money comes out of each check for what, and stick to it!
  5. Organize it! I have an entire binder dedicated to my budget sheets. I keep them in month order to easy reference to see the changes in bill amounts.
  6. Don’t be afraid reevaluate when you need to. It’s safer then getting stuck in a bad position. Honestly, I think I double-check it every paycheck just to be safe.
  7. My Hubby pays the bills. He feels involved with the budget this way without the 2 hour explanation of how it works.

I am open to answering questions about my process if you have any!

Enjoy!!!

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About Tara B.
Hi, I am Tara B. and its great to meet you!! I am an outgoing person with introvert tendencies. I have two amazing dogs that I love and adore! You will hear about them and their adventures a lot :D I also have the most amazing husband! Together he and I have Miss Go Go (you'll also see her referred to as Baby B) that was born in the spring of 2015. She is smart, quick learner, and loves to mimic everything she sees. I love to cook, bake, try to stay healthy, and read. I love to explore my area (and the world when life allows), and seek out fun things to do. You want more information just ask! I am horrible at writing "About You" sections...:) If you have any questions, comments, ect I can be reached at CraftsByTaraB@gmail.com.

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