When Gregg first left for Afghanistan, he created a household bank account for me. With this account, I buy all of the groceries, gasoline, birthday presents, shoes, clothes — whatever we need within the household, I pay for with this account. It is a set amount – a percentage of Gregg’s paycheck – and as he has gotten promotions and raises, so has this account.
One of the first things I did was create a budget. I created a Microsoft Excel Worksheet and listed anything on which I would likely spend money: food, sundries, dining out, gasoline, etc. Once I did that, I figured what I might spend in a month’s time and set a budget. Once I had the monthly budget, I multiplied each number by 12 and came up with the annual budget. So, I created a worksheet within this spreadsheet that had the annual budget numbers. I work with an annual number, because, for instance, my birthday gift budget is $50 per month. However, there are months that I don’t spend $50, and there are months that I do spend $150 — but what I want to look at is the annual expenditures and budgets.
Within that same workbook/spreadsheet, I created another worksheet for each month of the year. I listed the budget items across the top (groceries, gasoline, sundries, etc.) in each column, and had the rows free for the name of the store and the amount spent on each budget item. If I bought $26 worth of groceries and $2 worth of dish detergent at the same store, then the total $28 bill would be broken down between groceries and sundries. The final column was a total for that specific bill.
On the bottom of this monthly worksheet, I listed the monthly budgets for each item and what my totals were. I did this for a quick glance to know where I sat with each item, and also so that I could then take those totals and put them in the annual budgeting worksheet.
The annual budgeting worksheet is really where the information is useful. It gives me year-to-date expenditures and tells me how much is left in my budget. I have formulas inserted so that whenever I input a number at the top of the monthly worksheet (ABC Groceries for $52.00 grocery expense) all of the other worksheets update automatically. I don’t have to do any more work than that single receipt entry.
I keep every single receipt – even if I’ve just bought a pack of gum. I have a nail spindle where I stick the receipts, and every couple of days, I go through them and enter my spending into this worksheet. It has become a valuable tool in managing my household.
It is so exciting to be in a new year, with a fresh budget, blank spreadsheets, and no over-limit red numbers in my Excel spreadsheet file!
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