I previously posted our budgeting forms that we made to keep our home finances in check (if you missed that, go here.) This is the addition of the extra forms that aren’t required for organization, but they are super helpful if you are trying to manage all of your funds. There’s the Debt Page and the Savings Page. Hopefully the latter is larger than the former, but here in America we like to keep things complicated and stay chained to things… like our credit cards. So odds are, especially when starting out, your debts will outweigh your savings.
Let’s start with the Savings Page since that has less to it. The top portion of the template has a register. Since the idea is to only be adding to your savings and withdrawing as little as possible, it doesn’t need to be very large. For us, at the beginning of each month we log in the balance for our savings account on the first line. Then we will have one or two deposits a month to the account. Occasionally, like this month, there will be a withdrawal from an emergency doctor’s visit or if you had been saving for a specific purpose. We include all of our school savings into our savings account and simply designate it on paper instead of keeping it elsewhere. You’ll find that if you try to keep money designated for those shoes or that textbook in your checking account, it’ll disappear. (With our bank, we only get 6 free withdrawals from our savings per statement period which keeps us accountable for not moving things around too much.- be sure to check with your bank to see what your account parameters are before learning the hard way).
The bottom half of the page is set up a lot like the Paycheck pages with slightly different headings. I listed the emergency fund first since it is of highest priority. If you aren’t aware of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps of getting out of debt and financial planning, this is baby step #1. You can’t stop using credit cards and pay your bills when your car breaks down and you have no money there to fix it. So the emergency fund is there for when things happen that we can’t plan and budget for. When you have an emergency and use some of the fund, your focus shifts from debt back to replenishing that fund. Easy enough right?
From there, because I’m a woman and these things make me feel better, we have an Extended Emergency Fund. We haven’t quite designated how much that is or should be yet, but it’s a goal and I want to have one so it’s there. I also list in anything that requires an extended amount of savings for. We’re huge project/diy people (read: I’m a huge project/diy person) but we only realistically have time to do one big project at a time. So we have a list of projects that we’d like to do and mark them off the list as we go. The project line here changes as projects are completed.
The Debt Page is set-up pretty much the same way. The register at the top and the roster at the bottom. We no longer use our credit card so it just shows our paying into it, but we fill it out the same as our savings account with the balance listed first when we start a new month. The Debt Totals section here at the bottom works in a similar way with different titles that fit more with our Paycheck Page with something of a payment info/history concept. Here we have everything from car payment to student loans to even the credit card. We only have the one card so it may seem a little redundant to have that information on the same page twice but it makes it easier to see it grouped with everything else. The register was a little different of a situation when we still used the card- but it’s better with out one so…. here we are. I chose to list our debts from largest to smallest so it was easier to edit the sheet as things were marked off the list. For Step #2 of Dave Ramsey’s baby step plan, he talks about the Debt Snowball. For psychological reasons, he suggests listing them from smallest to largest and attack the smallest first regardless of interest rates so you can knock out hopefully one or two quickly and feel accomplished. That way you can keep up the motivation to continue on. We do use that process with a small modification. Our lowest debts are some student loans that wont’ accrue interest while they are deferred. I don’t have a lot of debt from student loans but because there are 5, as you can see from the list, that can be interesting just to pay all of the minimum balances. We’ll be deferring the ones we can to pay off some of the middle ones first. (See if you have any of those here.)
I will say that the Remaining Balance column is my favorite part of this page. Not all of the numbers change as much as we hope they would each month, but just like weight loss, when you hit some key numbers it feels pretty good and this column makes it easier to see how much you’ve done over a period of time.
Well I hope you’ve found these to be helpful. Part 3 will be for the adoption sheets!