She looks over a field and buys it, then with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
I may not apply this verse with fields and gardens.. but the following post explains how I “put money aside” in order to can fulfill this trait!
Ever since I moved out of my parents house… 18 years ago.. I’ve always tried my hardest to keep a budget. When I first started, I was waitressing, and bringing home lots of cash. As a young woman on my own, I knew I needed to find a way to keep my money set aside for paying bills like rent, food, electric, gas etc… but it was so hard to keep track! As a waitress, it was exciting to walk out the door on a Friday night with $200 in small bills in my pocket.. but it was also easy to BLOW almost that much money going out with my friends or on a trip to the mall.
So.. I started budgeting.
I knew what my “fixed” expenses were, so I wrote them down. Then I figured out what I would typically make in a month. Then I came up with percentages for each expense based on the formula expense/income.
I wrote these percentages down on envelopes labeled with the appropriate category.
Then, every night, when I emptied my pockets of all that cash… I would sit down with my calculator and put the right percentage into EACH envelope. That way.. I KNEW that when the rent was due… I would have enough money to pay for it!
Over the years… I grew up! (how on earth did that happen so fast by the way?)
I changed from an all cash situation to earning a paycheck, and I also added quite a few “categories” to my expense list as I added people to my family. 🙂
So, I developed a spreadsheet to be my “envelope” system on my computer.
This “budget” spreadsheet is something I open everytime I balance my checkbook or use my Quicken. It is formatted on one tab to have an easy at a glance summary of how much money I have set aside into each needed category.
There is another tab that looks like this:
This tab helps me figure out what my percentages are…. AUTOMATICALLY! That way, as my needs change, and my budget changes.. I can easily change and update my “envelopes”. 🙂
I’ve created a version of my spreadsheet that has “comments” on the main page so that I can make it available to you all! The “comments” are like directions for how to use each column and tab properly. But once you get it all set up it’s really simple and really only involves a weekly copy/paste to accurately divide out your deposits.
Here’s a view of it with the comments attached. Remember, they can be turned off in excel once you get the hang of it!
If you’re interested in downloading this excel spreadsheet for yourself, you can get it here:
It will help if you go ahead and think about the categories that might work for your family budget. Remember to do your Fixed expenses first, and your discretionary expenses last.
After you get everything set up and start using this system, it’s important to make sure you don’t “steal” from a certain category just because you seem to have leftovers. This system really helps keep you organized with your spending. If you find that after a year you have a major surplus in one category, then you can take from it and readjust your budget number to reflect what you actually need. I’ve found that in the “electric” category it seems like I have “extra” for a few months… but if I leave it there.. it really helps during those super cold months when the heat bill goes up or during the really hot months when the AC is running full blast. I don’t even notice that my bill is higher than usual because I left the surplus alone on the months when my bill was lower than usual.
Well, it works for me! 🙂 Let me know if it works for you too!
PS- If you want to see some more Works for Me Ideas