My Third Goal

This weeks post is going to focus on another goal that I set for myself this year – taking better control of my finances.

The first thing I should mention is that I have always established a budget and for the most part I follow it.  Scratch that, I have always kept track of what I needed to spend money on and how much money I have to spend.  I usually sit down to do that every week on payday.  I have written out a budget, but I don’t usually keep to it strictly.  I tend to pay very close attention to what I spend weekly, but never look at the month and how I did as a whole.  Does that make any sense?  Ok, this is what one of the sheets that I create every week on payday looks like.

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Part of my goal is to go from that, to using a monthly budget sheet, checking in weekly to see how I’m doing, and at the end of the month do a review and see where I’ve succeeded, where I’ve failed and how I can improve.  Additionally, I want to save more – save for my Babydoll’s education (I have a 529 Savings plan, but I need to add more to it), save for things I want to do in the future, save to have a nice emergency fund (a real one – the one they say you should have but most people don’t).  Finally, I would like to get my credit card and medical bill debt to be gone.  I just feel like a lot of my income goes to those two areas and it hinders me from saving and spending my money the way I want to.  This is the year that I have set the goal to establish a habit of budgeting effective and efficiently. 

I’ve been looking online, watching YouTube videos, looking at books all in a attempt on what could possibly work for me.  Something that I can do and stick to.  I need to also have a way to be made accountable.  I read that it is a good idea to have a financial buddy.  Someone that you sit down with every few months to go over what you have been doing, are you sticking to your budget, where you stand with your goal, etc.  The thing is, I don’t have anyone to do those things with.  I have friends that are either keeping track with their husbands, or they’re not keeping track.  You’re probably wondering why I don’t do it with my husband?  We discuss our household budget, this is my personal budget and financial goals.  I guess, I’ll use this blog to be my financial buddy.  You guys can keep me honest and accountable.  I’ll check in every few months and let you know what I’ve been up to, how I’m doing with my financial targets, where I’m succeeding and failing. 

I had started the new year (and the ending of last year) with a mini Happy Planner trying to establish it as my budget planner.  I couldn’t find the mini budget extension pack to save my life. So I went about trying to find another way to establish my monthly budget.  I used an Excel spreadsheet that I had used previously, but found I wasn’t recording my transactions until the next week that I needed to set the budget. 

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I had the large budget extension pack pages, and used that to keep a record of my daily transactions.  I got lazy and stopped writing down the transactions around the end of January.  I needed to do better.

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One day while at Hobby Lobby, I found these small budget sheets. 

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I liked the way they looked and decided to use them in my mini “budget planner”.  Of course I couldn’t figure out how to insert it in to an established planner layout.  I needed something different.  During a planner meetup, someone talked about her monthly Happy Planner.  I had been thinking that I wanted a monthly spread and then a place to write out my budget; then a place to review it all.  I have begun to watch Shay Budgets on YouTube and her Erin Condren planner that she uses as her budget planner was similar to what I wanted.  Research revealed that the monthly Happy Planner would work for me. 

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Last week, I went to JoAnn’s to see what if I could find a monthly planner and luck was on my side!  I found one and it was clearanced out for ~$8!  I set it up like this for the month. 

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I decided to keep the pages that I got from Hobby Lobby because I like the look of them. 

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I like that I can keep track of things monthly and weekly. 

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I’ve decided to look for the same pages in a larger version so that it will fit in my new planner.  I’m going to figure out how to use the “Daily To Do” and “Notes” pages.  I’m going to use the goal page and the progress update page. 

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Ok…this post has gotten long enough and I’m not through with all I’ve done and am going to do in this financial journey.  I’m going to continue next week with those things in my next post.  As usual, I welcome your comments and suggestions.  Until next week.

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