Monday, January 5, 2009

Method Madness Marathon!! Budget!!

So, did you put together your goals over the weekend? I hope so!

Today, I took the time to put together our budget. So, I wanted to take the time to go over this aspect with everyone, too.

I, currently, use excel to manage my budget. I have done this for years, and it is just easy for me to carry my spreadsheet forward from year to year. Plus, to use my same format just makes it easy for me.

Interested in viewing the spreadsheet I currently use? Click here to view.

As you can tell, it is very simple. I have my Earnings coming in as positive numbers and my expenses I log as negative numbers. Once my husband and I sat down and came with our budget for the year, we entered those numbers in Column B on the Janaury worksheet. It autofills all the other months.

Then, at the end of each month, we log our actual numbers in column C on the actual months worksheet.

All other columns will autofill, with the exception of the Investment worksheet.

For that specific worksheet, I have to enter all our investment accounts. Then, I will fill in column B with actual numbers from the start of 2009. After that, everytime and investment hits, I will enter it. At the end of each month, I will enter the actual value of our accounts. The last column will calculate whether we are ahead or have lost money in those accounts this year.

Now, how do we figure out our numbers? Obviously, from past years, it is easy to see about how much everything is costing us, approx. But, as I go thru all our methods this month, I will tweak the numbers a bit ( for example, if I get any of our bills lowered with providers ) by the end of January.

If you are able, you also want to pay yourself before you begin putting extra money aside for too much Entertainment, etc, etc. And, you want to take a look at your goals now.

If one of your goals was to pay off your credit cards, and to do that, you need to make an extra $200 payment a month.....then, you may want to decrease your Entertainment, see about getting your bills lowered, readjust what you spend on gifts and general living expenses, groceries, etc, etc. Basically, anywhere you can cut your numbers OR make more, you can then increase what you are paying on your debt.

Putting together a budget does not take long. But, you do want to align it with the goals you created the other day.

It is a quick process to set it up, and at the end of each month, it is quick and painless to update it. In fact, I try to update mine daily, as items come thru the mailbox or are updated online.

And, although I have my categories listed, you need to update your Budget to include the living expenses your family incurs. Then, make sure to look at this periodically to see how you are doing and, if need be, keep your self in line during the year.

See you tomorrow as we get organized before we begin working on our methods.


Becky said...

Hi Carrie,
For the first time ever my hubby and I are trying to hold ourselves more accountable for a budget. I'd love to see (and maybe use) your spreadsheet. When I click through your link I am told that I don't have permission to view the document. What do I need to do to see it? If it has the things I'm looking for, can I save it to use too?

Anonymous said...

Hey Carrie,

I tried to click on the spreadsheet link. I got a message saying that I did not have permission to review the spreadsheet. I have requested persmission. Just thought I'd let you know about this. Thanks for sharing your methods.

Carrie @ said...

Can you guys reclick the link and see if it works now?

I am hoping I set it up correctly now, so I don't have to manually approve everyone...that could be time consuming.

Let me know.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie, I just retried and it's working now! Thanks so much for all you do to share with us.

Anonymous said...

I think Carrie is using a gmail. Gmail has some kind of feature where group of people can share docs such as words, excel, etc.

When I clicked on it, it lead me to my gmail acct where I had to sign on to my gmail acct.

Becky said...

Got it! Thanks Carrie! I may have questions later after I look at using it!

Beth K. said...

My husband and I have worked out our budget. I really like your column "actual spent". Do you fill this in on a monthly basis, thus having 12 spreadsheets, or is this filled in on a single year?

Thanks-sorry for the later post, we just created our spreadsheet!

Carrie @ said...

Hi Beth,

If you look on the bottom of that spreadsheet, you will see there are 13 seperate spreadsheets...Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, etc, etc.

Every month ( I will admit, I do get backed up sometimes and do it once a quarter ), I enter our numbers. Bascially, as mail flows across my desk, I update it. So, each month as my checking account statement comes, I enter it into this spreadsheet.

It is helpful to know how you are doing each month, otherwise, you don't really know if you are staying within budget or not.

And, if you find there is an area that you just can't meet ( like when gas prices went up last year...that wasn't in our budget, but nothing we could do about it ), then we had to make some decisions. Try to drive a little less, pull that money from somewhere else....meaning try to spend a little less on our Entertainment category, maybe.

Great job on getting your budget done, by the way! It is one of the first steps in getting where you want to be financially.