The past couple of days we’ve been taking a look at our finances and starting the process of creating a budget and working toward savings goals. (More on goals tomorrow.) If you are just checking in and have missed the past couple of days, you can find links to all the posts here or by clicking on “31 Days to Saving Money” in Labels on the left sidebar.
Now that we’ve figured out our fixed bills, income, and annual expenses, it’s time to divvy up what’s left for everything else: Groceries, gas, entertainment, etc.
Remember the Net Income Worksheet we used on day 1? Print another copy of that and at the top write, “Fixed AND annual expenses”. We’re going to repeat the process we did Monday, but this time include the annual expenses (calculated monthly) along with our monthly fixed expenses. I’m asking you to label it on top so that we don’t confuse it later with the first one.
This might create an even sadder picture of what’s left than what you had on Monday, but remember this is about moving forward and making positive changes, so don’t get discouraged! Quitting now will get you nowhere!
As I’ve said before, it was not my intention to create a budget program or a bunch of printables, but I want to help at least a little to get you started on the path to saving. I think the best way to do that is to know where you are and where you need to improve. With that said, these final printables that I’m providing to you are pretty simple, so again, if you’d prefer a more comprehensive budget program you can purchase the one I have been using at A Bowl Full of Lemons or find another that suits you.
The first printable lists a few flexible expenses that we all have. You can add to this list if there’s something not covered in this or the prior worksheets. I’m also including a blank one, so that you can use it to create a monthly budget for ALL the expenses together if you’d like (it may take multiple pages). But for right now, we’re going to take the remaining net income (if there is any), and budget for those last remaining flexible expenses.
Taking the dollar amount that is left after you subtracted your fixed and annual MONTHLY bills (make sure you figured the annual ones monthly, not yearly or weekly!), you can now see what’s left to pay for the flexible bills.
I use Quicken for our checking accounts (you can use it to record credit card transactions as well), so it’s a great resource for me when I want to see exactly what we’re spending monthly or annually on any given category. (It was a real eye opener when I checked our monthly grocery spending, which I’ll get into more later this month!) If you don’t have that, you’ll need to look back at checkbook stubs or receipts, or estimate what you spend monthly on groceries, gas, etc.
If there’s not enough to cover these expenses, AND if there’s not enough to put towards anything else (savings, other financial goals), then you have two options:
1) Find a way to make more money – 2nd job, selling unused items on a garage sale or through CraigsList or Facebook, etc.
2) Find ways to cut expenses and SAVE on what you do spend money on
Whew! It took us a few days of the not-so-fun stuff to get here, but now we can move ahead and make changes. Tomorrow we’ll talk about financial or savings goals, and then I’ll share daily tips and ideas for getting there. Stay with me! You’re in the right track! Just think how good it will feel to start putting money where you WANT it to go rather than where you NEED it to go!