Thrifty moms have a financial plan. Planning takes several steps. Part of a good financial plan is the steps it takes to be organized for it to become a habit. This habit over time will form into an easy flowing system. Part of the easy system is the breakdown of a yearly budget, monthly budget, weekly budget and daily budget.
Frivolous spending of money is unnecessary unless planned. The plan is not too blow money, or use it carelessly. by necessary, I mean to just go shopping for a ton of clothes without paying bills first will send any budget into a tailspin. I know. After many years, my finances are finally not stressful.
The secret to a monthly budget is having one. First we have a financial binder set up and ready to use. Second, we have the yearly budget plan. Now, we will break down the organization even further.
Regular maintenance of the family finances keeps the household budget on track. On my journey to figure out how to live on one income it is apparent that planning and reviewing bills is important. I still want to spend, but now my shopping is in the budget and planned. No more guilt for me!
Monthly Budget Spreadsheet
I did not used to be a spreadsheet person. Really. I was a fly by the seat of my pants kinda of girl. Making a spreadsheet is the first secret to a monthly budget for busy families.
This is best way to view all of the bills. My spreadsheet is very simple. We are a single income, self-employed family. Our income is not a set amount each month. What I do is put the important things at the top, then filter down to secondary bills.
Gas, food, and Utilities ALWAYS get paid first. A spreadsheet helps me to see the bills overall.
The next column is the amount. If the bill has been paid, or paid on (medical bills or whatever) then I place the paid amount in the box.
My final box just says “paid”. In that column I either put a check mark or x. Then the next month I can go through and make sure all of the X’s get paid right after the important household items.
I use a different spreadsheet for each month. This method worked well for my visual accountability. So far, nothing has been shut off or late since I have started this system.
Monthly Budget Calendar
The calendar is the second secret to a monthly budget for me. Each section of the financial binder holds the dates for all bills due that month. I carry over and pencil in any items from my yearly planner that I have need to sign the kids up for, or pmts. due.
The monthly budget is where I also record information, confirmations, names or amounts after speaking with billing agents.
Monthly Budget Income and Expense sheet
The third secret to a monthly budget is an income and expense sheet. This also can be simple. Use an app or just a piece of paper. Write “income” on one side “expense” on the other.
After that…..write down EVERYTHING. This visual will help you to see see that maybe a few nights of eating out or starbucks need to be eliminated. Be honest.
Using the income and expense sheet will help keep unwanted spending at bay. This sheet has to become a habit monthly. Adding up unwanted spending targets what area needs to change.
The income sheet will show if enough income is coming in for the household. If not, looking into other options to bring in money is an option. There are plenty of ways to earn a second income whether it is a part time job or a work at home job.
Monthly Review of Bills
The final step is to review each bill before you pay it. I have received credits sometimes and did not even know. Extra charges and late fees can be avoided by reviewing bills.
In this step is also where I may call companies to see if there is any kind of discount. Dentists’ offices and pediatrician’s have given me discounts before for paying a bill in full.
Final thoughts: Good financial records and organization saves time and money. Up front it may take more time to set up, but once the system flows it is a piece of cake to maintain.