How to Start Keeping a Monthly Household Budget
It is hard to live within your means.
There are always unexpected bills and purchases that come up each month that you cannot possibly plan for. Keeping a budget is a smart way to gain control of your money.
I have always had a hard time keeping track of my money and often paid bills late. It was because I was not organized and not because of the money. I had tried keeping budgets that I bought from the store. These were in booklet form and while I was gung-ho at first, I lost interest and then lost track of the book.
I work with excel spreadsheets all the time so I thought why not make my own electronic budget? I tweaked it over time and find that it really works. I have 4 main sections in my budget.
The first section is for housing.
Here is list: my 2 mortgages and the monthly payment for each. Then I subtotal those. The next section is for my monthly bills. I list the electric bill, water, gas, cable, credit card payments, car payments, etc. Then I subtotal that section.
The next section is for other bills.
Here I list gasoline for the car, school lunches, entertainment, doctor bills, etc. I subtotal this too.
The next section is for income.
I list the net income from my main job, my part-time job, any online income, and any child support. I subtotal this section and know exactly what money is coming in each month.
I then created a formula that subtracts my expenses from my total monthly income and I am left with either money to save or it tells me I spent over my monthly income.
As I pay each item I mark them paid. I created a column next to all expenses where I put “PD” to show it as paid. This tells me at a glance what is paid. For my credit cards, I put the due date too. With one glance at my budget, I know exactly where I stand.
At the bottom, I list each Credit Card, my car loan, and my mortgage info.
I list the total owed and how much credit I have left on each. This gives me a good look at my credit usage, which reflects in my credit score.
I created a tab in my Excel workbook for each month of the year. This way I can look back and see when I last paid my HOA or when my son last went to the Dentist.
I highly recommend creating a monthly budget in Excel.
If it helped me – it will certainly help you too. Just give it a try.