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Can anyone suggest a basic budget sheet?

Discussion in 'Financial Management & Budgeting' started by cknmom, May 9, 2014.

  1. May 9, 2014
    cknmom

    cknmom Almost Self-Reliant

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    Since we just closed on a new house we need to figure out a budget. I have found many sheets/ forms to start with but I just want something simple and easy- straight forward. Any suggestions? We have not ever been on a formal budget before. Thanks
    Monica
     
  2. May 9, 2014
    Britesea

    Britesea Sustainability Master

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    The way I did it when I was in college was: I had jars labeled "Rent", "Food", "Gas" etc... going down the list of every bill we had, plus things like "New Jacket" or even "Vacation". When the paycheck was cashed, a certain percentage of each was placed in those jars. The ones like rent were easy as we knew exactly how much that was gonna be. Things like "electricity" were averaged and we hoped for the best. Don't forget stuff that happens on a longer cycle than monthly, like some insurances and property taxes if you are paying it yourself instead of the mortgage company.

    You never ever robbed one jar to put into another (except for emergencies, which came out of savings) If we were halfway thru the pay cycle and ran out of food money, we had to make do with whatever was in the pantry (peanut butter was popular).

    I'm not saying you have to have a row of glass jars sitting in your kitchen, like we did... but if you use something like Microsoft Excel you can have virtual jars. The point is, everyone's lifestyle is different, so stock budgets don't work that well.

    Don't forget to try to set aside some for savings, even if it's just $10 a month. It's scary to realize that 40% of the people in this country couldn't even put their hands on $2000 if they had to for some reason. (I'm one of them, but it's slowly getting better)

    It was really hard at first, but the longer we did it, the easier it got to stick to the budget. Learning to wait for something instead of buying on credit was hard-- especially if it was "on sale".
     
  3. May 9, 2014
    Denim Deb

    Denim Deb More Precious than Rubies

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    The best advice I can give is to make sure you and your OH are on the same page! It's very hard to do when one of you is trying to save, and the other is spending money like it grows on trees-especially if the one doing that is the one that pays the bills.

    I tried something similar to what Britesea did, only I used envelopes. And if you don't want the actual cash lying around in case someone breaks in, you could always use Monopoly money.
     
    cknmom likes this.
  4. May 9, 2014
    Chelsea2258

    Chelsea2258 Power Conserver

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    I just make a word document and, we have 2 paychecks a month, write 1st on one side and 15th on the other and split the bills up depending on due dates and the also put food, gas,and whatever and then put the left over in savings. like this:
    June 1st
    1000
    -150 Auto loan
    850
    -140 Internet/Cable
    710
    -150 Phones
    560
    -200 Food
    360
    -100 Gas
    260
    -160 Savings
    100 - for extra/misc

    Simple and easy
     
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  5. May 9, 2014
    Wannabefree

    Wannabefree Little Miss Sunshine

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    Dave Ramsey budget sheets are the easiest I have ever used and do not leave anything off like annual property taxes etc. that you don't normally think about on a monthly basis. Go to his website and sign up for a 7 day free trial and you can poke around the site and learn a few things during your 7 days and print off a bunch of the budget sheets. I think it's www.daveramsey.com
     
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  6. May 9, 2014
    Britesea

    Britesea Sustainability Master

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    Whatever you use, stick to it. I used to have problems with bounced checks on a regular basis until I started my glass jar thing and going on a cash only basis. These days, I use Excel, but it's the same idea. It's a lot easier and less stressful because I know that even if the telephone bill comes in the mail today, it's not on my list to pay until Next Paycheck. I'm also a lot more resistant to impulse buys than I used to be, because I know exactly how little there is to spare, lol.
     
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  7. May 15, 2014
    hqueen13

    hqueen13 <Insert Snazzy Title Here

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    I use a number of different tactics.
    The BF gets paid every 2 weeks (which I hate) and I get paid the 1st and 15th of the month (which I love). Since the BF's pay schedule is not consistent for the dates, it means that some months he gets paid as far back as the 19th of the month, and that money has to make it to the 1st when we pay the rent. Sometimes the check comes a lot closer to the actual due date of the bill.
    I set up a spreadsheet with the dates of his pay checks, and what bills fall within that 2 week period and the total amount that we would owe. It gives us a picture of where there will be extra breathing room, and which weeks will be tight. In the weeks that are tight, it is pretty easy to pay something early on the previous check rather than end up being late into the following check.
    The second thing I did was set up a pretty fancy spreadsheet for tracking our spending. I actually used the exact same sheet as a budget projection sheet, just slightly different.
    In the left column I have two sections - income and expenses. Each section has categories broken down. Under income I have the BF's job income, my job income, a second part time job income, and gift income, as well as interest earned on the accounts. Under expenses we have a list of categories. These can be customized for you personally but our list generally looks like this: Rent, Utilities, Health Insurance (I pay for mine out of pocket), Groceries, Gas, Eating Out, Eating at work (separate category because the BF tends to spend too much on lunches), Vehicle Maintenance, Health/Wellness, Personal, Miscellaneous, etc etc etc. You can make as many categories as you like, but the more you have the more complicated it is.
    Across the top of the page are the months of the year, so each month the total from that category is transferred onto the annual total sheet.
    On separate pages I have line item entry list, plus a section where all the categories total up. Its a bit on the fancy side, but I found all the information for the formulas I used online by googling what I wanted the spreasheet to do (i.e. "How to get a total from one page of a spreadsheet onto another page").
    The other key for me keeping track of things was that I found I could print transaction records from both my bank accounts and my credit cards by month. I can go in and export the information into a spreasheet, and then print it out easily so that I can use that to apply to my spreadsheet. Plus it gives me a printed record that I can easily keep with my receipts and things for tracking.
    I'm sure this all sounds very complicated, but once it is set up and running, it works pretty well for us. I update at the end of each month once all the transactions are completed and then I have a picture of what we did for the month (and I can easily see where we over spent! Yikes!). If you don't track where you came from, you have no idea how to organize to move forward. Knowing what you are currently spending is the only way you can appropriately set achievable goals.
    If you like how this sounds, feel free to let me know and I can attempt to send you a blank version of the spreadsheet that I designed. I found that it was easy to use and transferred the data for me, which reduced the risk for fat finger errors.
    Best of luck!
     
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  8. Aug 1, 2015
    cknmom

    cknmom Almost Self-Reliant

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  9. Aug 13, 2015
    hqueen13

    hqueen13 <Insert Snazzy Title Here

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    I just saw this, I've been super busy!
    @cknmom The other option is to make savings accounts that are for specific goals, like vacation and improvements, and then transfer an amount into them each week/paycheck. First you have to know where you're money is going, and then second, I have found, you have to be able to put it somewhere else that you won't touch it! I'm still working on the latter part, as I spend most of my time watching it disappear!
     
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  10. Aug 14, 2015
    Britesea

    Britesea Sustainability Master

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    You might try everydollar.com It's free and endorsed by Dave Ramsey
     
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