I hadn’t originally intended on add these templates to the blog, but you start to get the hint when a day hasn’t gone by in the last two weeks where these sweet little pages didn’t get brought up in conversation. It’s a common fact that the majority of America doesn’t know how to handle their finances (I mean look at us), let alone how us younger generations are supposed to figure it out with all this awesome behavior we have to model after. My husband and I when through our ‘at home’ version of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University back when we were engaged. I highly recommend this to any and all couples, singles, or any person who hopes to create a life for their family and future. If you have read or heard anything that Dave says, it’s probably included the nasty habits of that person in the mirror. Money is easy. Money is simple. And because of this, that mirror man doesn’t think steps need to be taken to keep money in check. And so, money checks us. Now, back when we were introduced to Dave we didn’t have the opportunity to experience this program with a group, which in hindsight I feel was a huge hinderance to our process but nonetheless I can honestly say we would be in a much worse situation today had we not learned the basics back then. Our mini course in financial planning gave us enough sense to complete Baby Step #1 and keep it up.
The thing that gets most people is that they think they know how to handle their money, when in reality, they know how to float above the red while their money handles them. So fast forwarding several years later. I’m a college graduate with a new job in my field, he’s about to dive headfirst into his degree, we’re paying of my student loans/debt, and saving up for an international adoption. Yeah, we’re those people. The ones who don’t know how to live without a plate full of life and then some. Until recently though, we haven’t really had a chance to sit down and get on the same page with our finances. We still have our original emergency fund, but it’s difficult to do much else with 18 hours of school a semester. Dave would disagree, but I’m a strong believer in that only you know what you can handle and if at the end of the day you can be proud of what you did, then you did right by you. And yes, there were days where later I looked back and felt differently, but that’s where we learn.
So- this is where the fun OCD part of money comes in. We created a financial log book. Dave has worksheets to follow for a budget each month, but it was just not working for us personally. We loved the idea, but just could not get excited about filling out his worksheets. Being that we both love creating new forms for things we sat down and discussed what we felt was important and what pieces of the old sheets could be represented differently to fit our needs. We have both basic and specific sheets. All of them are printed new for each month and kept in a binder that also contains a sleeve for receipts and bills as we get them to be documented and later filed.
Page 1 is simply a calendar template. Super simple right? Most would think it’s too simple and not even use it, but that’s where a big mistake happens. When living paycheck to paycheck, it helps to see when things are due as to not forget them. There have been several times where we would wait for bill in the mail and the company automatically changed our account to paperless billing and it would never come. Frustrating. BUT, when it’s on the calendar (since these things are at the same time every month), you can see when something could potentially be missed. We list our potential and reoccurring bills in the blank space at the top to use as a reference for when we are filling out the calendar.
Our main paycheck, like most of the country’s, is twice a month/every other week. So we’ve broken our budget up into two parts for each month. Page 2 is a register for all of paycheck #1. Page 3 is your budget for paycheck #1. (when everything is printed duplex these two pages will be open to each other so you can see all of paycheck 1 at the same time). Including all bills and anticipated expenses. Right now we write in our anticipated expenses as they come. That will fluctuate each month based on holidays and misc events. **Note: we have a ‘goals’ section of our savings that encompass large purchases and anticipated gifts that might not be easily accommodated in the regular budget.** Page 4 & 5 are the same for paycheck #2.
You can find our extended sheets here as well as our sheets created specifically for our adoption process. And remember, this is what works for us. This is how we have learned to overcome the people looking back at us in the mirror.
We’re called to be good stewards, not for His sake, but for our own.