Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Plunging Into Paperwork and Budgeting Tools

I finally got started on getting my financial records ready for the new year. I decided for the new decade to make a new budget book, mine was getting kind of old. I devided it into two books. Several years ago I had to start handling my own finances and didn't have a clue how to do it. I read several books about budgeting and came up with using accounting pages to keep track of my money.
In the budget book the first page is my budget and behind that are accounting pages for each item in the budget. At the end I keep the audits I do at the end of each month. I do those to make sure I have in the checking account the same amount that is shown in the accounts. I include in my budget a monthly amount for those bills that only come up quarterly or yearly or things like dentist that vary. I figured those out by adding up the year cost and dividing it my 12. I redo that every year at the beginning when I redo my budget because costs keep going up like gas for the car.
In the banking book I decided this time to start keeping track of my deposits, so the first section is the break down of what is in my deposits. The second section has a page for each month and I record my spending for that month. These amounts are posted onto the accounting pages a couple of times a month, so that I know if I have over spent in an area like groceries. The third section is savings. I keep all my savings in one account but it is from different sources and for different purposes so instead of having different savings accounts I keep track of it here.
The last took I use to keep track of receipts. It is an open top according file with Jan to Dec sections. I just throw all my receipts in there and clear it out at the end of the year. I always know where my receipts are that way and I like that it is open because it is easy to stick them in there.
So I still have to clear out the receit file and then it's on to doing my files. I'm going to break it down into small bits. It's not a job I enjoy doing. That is why I make myself do it in Jan. each year. Even though I don't enjoy doing this stuff I do enjoy knowing that I'm on top of my finances and paperwork and that I can find things if I need them. I lived too many years not being able to find stuff.
Two more disciplines that I do to control finances and paperwork. I throw out junk mail right away and I pay bills weekly. I try to do filing regularly, but I don't do it as often as I should.
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