Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Creating a Budget {Part 1}


It's not typical that one would call one's self a nerd with pride, but I am a budget nerd and not ashamed!  There are not many things I can control as a mother of four wonderful and energetic children, but our budget is something that I can control, barring any major catastrophes.

The first thing to remember when creating a budget is to use a format that works for your family.  There are going to be a few of you who will open my Excel spreadsheet which is set-up like my family's own budget, and you'll likely faint due to overexposure to math formulas and calculations!  I doubt anyone will feel it's not detailed enough, though, because I adore details and tend never to leave any out.  I like knowing where each and every penny is going from our retirement contributions to our vacations, so I set-up my budget to reflect those preferences.

My budget is also, shall we say, established.  I have been using it for nearly three years, so I am comfortable with it because I am used to it.  That is to also say, it is set up specifically for my family's stage of financial freedom.  In my next several blog posts, I will go over the specifics of the sample budget I've included below.

{Sample annual budget worksheet for Excel}
Click on "File" in the blue bar just above the document image, then select "Download Original" from the drop-down menu.  I am not sure if you have to have a Google account to use this feature.

So don't freak out, just look it over and close it, write down some questions and ask them so I can incorporate them into my future posts.


Mallory Eaton said...

Ashley, I'm highly confused, but I'm sure you'll clear that up in the next posts when you explain your budget in a little more detail. I understand your Checking Ledger, that part I do understand, but the rest of the pages I'm a little confused as to what exactly is happening on each page (sorry maybe I'm just a little slow...) Anyway, I LOVE the idea and am hoping to see what works for your family versus what works for mine... it should be pretty interesting and I'm hoping to learn some new budgeting tricks.

Ashley said...

Since I'm not sure what is specifically confusing you, I'll just have to hope that as I discuss my budget layout, more sense will come of it all.

Each month gets it's own worksheet, and I enter receipts on the date I spend the money. I total it at the bottom, then the second line shows me how much I have left for that month, and the final line indicates where I'm at for the year-to-date (YTD) because if I don't spend my entire budget allowance one month, it rolls into the next month.

We don't do cash envelopes, so this system might seem crazy to someone who is use to the cash envelope system.

I'll discuss the differences of budgets too ... hopefully ;)