Welcome back everyone!
For most of my life, I’ve been adamantly against making New Year’s Resolutions. I’m about to break my 10+ year resolution-free streak by taking on a big one. I’m going to get my finances in order. As (I hope) you’ve seen on my previous blog posts and/or my Instagram, I’ve recently made the transition to a traveler’s notebook. Even with switching into it, I thought I would only use two Leuchtturm1917’s in it with maybe a junk journal insert and that was it. I’m still not willing to rid myself of one Leuchtturm1917 for my standard bullet journal, but I am realizing how handy inserts will be.
I created an insert specifically for my finances in 2018. I will walk you through its setup and explain how I set my budget.
Keeping all recurring bills tracked
One thing that drives me nuts is not being able to see at a quick glance the dates and amounts of my recurring bills. While many are fixed days and costs, some are variable and those are the ones that I want to make sure I’m aware of.
As you can see here, I’ve included a few pages to input deadlines, checkmarks, budgeted amount and actual totals to keep track.
I’m hoping this will make me more aware of my variable expenses and cut back where I can!
I like being able to see an entire month-at-a-glance and my finances are no different. I created categories for myself based on my own needs and made codes to use so I can easily track my spending in each category.
Running a daycare and starting a business on the side has made me see that my income is fluid, not fixed, which is why I’ve left the entire income and budget sections blank. We just don’t know where we’ll be for the next month and I’d rather make tweaks all throughout the year. For example, we’ve got a ton of birthdays in March and April so a few areas will be cut down to accommodate for gifts, parties, etc.
The coding system really is my pride and joy of this insert and I hope that I will be able to commit whatever time it takes to utilize the system properly.
The Life Pie
Although the coding system is entirely my own, I do follow a pie chart by Gail Vaz-Oxlade. I used to be obsessed with the show “Till Debt Do Us Part” and I learned so much about my finances. It also pushed me to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton and countless other personal finance books but Gail’s system really stuck with me. Here’s how Gail’s The Life Pie breaks down:
This includes everything in the home including mortgage or rent, taxes, utilities, insurance and maintenance.
This is all your variable expenses such as groceries, entertainment, medical costs, cable and internet…Basically, it’s the “everything else” category.
This includes car payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, parking, etc.
This means long-term savings.
This is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re blessed with no debt (great job, wow!) this can be allocated to any other category.
How I incorporate The Life Pie my own way
Now that you see the basics of a budget, you can see why I separated my sections the way I did in my monthly dashboards. I searched for so many budget worksheets but nothing really worked for me because I wound up deleting and editing almost every category! I highly suggest creating your own categories!
I’m going to break down each section based on a monthly income of $5,000 (as I’ve mentioned, I’m not comfortable sharing my actual numbers publicly). Here are your maximums for each category.
Most of your variable expenses should come in the life category, which makes the other sections a bit easier. One thing you should know is that Gail Vaz-Oxlade allows people to roll any extra over into a new category if needed. The bottom line is that your net number at the end of the month is positive, not negative. As Gail says, “get to the end of the month before you get to the end of the cash.”
Number one tip: track every penny! I’ve got about 40 pages solely dedicated to writing everything down. You’ll never truly see where it’s going until you have to write it all! Plus in my opinion, it helps cut down the impulse buys. I really don’t want to take the time to write down $1.50 just because I wanted a chocolate bar. I’m too lazy for that, ha!
Every payday, subtract all bills between that day and the next payday and use an “available balance” instead of actual total. It’s much easier to work with what you have left than constantly be doing math in your head!
My 2018 forecast
I’m channelling Gail Vaz-Oxlade here and putting all my energy into getting my financial house in order in 2018. Gone will be the days of having anxiety, scrambling for last minute gifts or fearing that something big will break down in the house (thousands of dollars on a furnace or garage door? Oh-em-gee I hope not!). This is an area that unless you’re a millionaire, everyone can improve on and I hope this can help you get on your way!
Are you also looking to fix your finances? Share your tips below!