We've found that for us, in order to really track what's going out every month, we need to get all old fashioned and write it down. Every.single.receipt. Checking your account online or using a budget website like mint.com can work, too, but for us, it's easiest if I write it all down on one sheet of paper categorized by type. This obviously isn't rocket science, people, just what works for us.
Every month, I yank out a piece of notebook paper and draw some chicken scratch lines to make columns and call my budgeting spreadsheet a success. But, the sloppiness annoys me. This month, I decided to finally make something a teeny bit higher tech (Ya know, with this program called Excel? Ooooo, impressing you with my mad crazy computer skillz aren't I? Ha!). Now I can just update the month heading and print it out. Woot!
Because I'm feeling all overshary with you today, here's a copy just for you. :) Feel free to print it and use it, or use the idea and make your own that fits your personal budget!
(Click picture for link to pdf)Basically, all I do is write down grocery store receipts (even if not all of it is grocery, like napkins) in the Grocery column, any general merchandise in the GM column (clothes, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc; basically anything we buy that's not from the grocery store), any restaurant receipts in the Eat Out category, and miscellaneous things like doctor co-pays, repair bills, gifts, etc in the Misc column. Then, at the end of the month, I just total them up! It's easy to scan the columns and do a quick add up of expenses throughout the month to make sure we're staying on target with our budget. This month, I may try a new method and draw a line at the end of each week and write in our current totals. It's a thought. So original, right? If I like it, maybe I'll tweak my not-so-fancy spreadsheet next month to make a spot to total each week. Oh, and I should mention that I put all our receipts in a basket in case we need them for some reason, like to make a return. At the end of the month, I throw them in a ziplock bag and write the month on the outside and Hubby files it away.
Well, that's all for tonight! Happy budgeting!