January is always a time of reflection and organization for me. One of the first things I like to do at the beginning of the year is to organize our family finances and set up a budget for the new year. One of the most important tools for this job is my Budgeting Notebook.
I’m sure you are familiar with creating a Home Management Binder. I use a similar concept, but create separate smaller notebooks instead keeping one big binder with everything in it. That’s what works best for me…
I would be lost without my Budgeting Notebook! It helps me stay on track with our financial goals, pay bills on time, and determine how we are spending our money.
To make a finance notebook, I use a slim 3-ring binder that has pockets. I also get a few dividers and page protectors to organize the printables I use.
What I Have in My Budgeting Notebook
Calculator – Unless you’re a math wiz (which I’m not!), a calculator is a necessity for proper budgeting. Mine has holes in it to put in a 3-ring binder, which is perfect for a budgeting notebook.
Envelopes – We don’t get reminders for our rent, so at the beginning of the year I address 12 envelopes to our landlord and write a month in the corner where the stamp will go. I put them in chronological order and store them in the front sleeve of my binder. This way I don’t forget to pay rent and can quickly determine what month I paid for last.
Calendar – I like to have the entire year on one sheet, so I can highlight Matt’s paydays to keep track of when we will have money coming in. Also, it’s nice to have an idea of what holidays and celebrations are coming up for planning ahead for purchases. I am currently using a year-at-a-glance calender from Confessions of a Homeschooler‘s free blog notebook printables.
Bill Checklist – This is a list of bills we owe every month, when they are due, and space for a check mark each month. This allows me to see very quickly which bills have been paid. I use a printable I downloaded over at iHeart Organizing.
Individual Accounts Page – While we keep all of our spending money in one bank account, I divide it out into separate “accounts” on paper. This keeps us from spending too much money in certain areas and allows us to set aside finances for future purchases (i.e. Christmas, taxes, etc). I use a free download from Crown Financial Ministries for this.
Monthly Budgeting Worksheets – We follow a zero-based budget by giving every penny a name and making sure that we don’t spend more than we make. I created a worksheet that has my account categories to help me determine how to allocate our money each month. It also allows me to see where I may need to adjust my budget. Want one for yourself? Get it below!
So, that’s how I created my budgeting notebook! If you don’t have one, I highly recommend putting one together–especially if you are trying to save money. I think you will be glad you did!
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