budgeting 101: lesson one

One of my greatest accomplishments in 2012 was my budget spreadsheet and the fact that I kept track of our budget for ONE WHOLE YEAR!  It may seem like a silly accomplishment, but I struggle with money.  Since we are on a very tight budget being both students and new parents, I knew it was crucial for me to master how to keep track of money and where it is being spent.  With a new year and many people setting new financial goals, I thought I would share a handful of tips and tricks. 

Because budgeting is a constant work in progress I will share these tips over the course of the next month or so, step-by-step if you will. 

Lesson one:  understand that everyone has a different way of tracking their money.  For example, I do all my budgeting and tracking on my computer, where my mom does it all in her checkbook.  When you start a new journey, don't be frustrated if it one method doesn't work the first time.  Just try a new method.  It sounds cliche... because it is... but this was an obstacle I ran into and felt it was appropriate to share, right off the bat.

My method?  I love Excel.  There are so many websites out there that will automatically update what you spend and divide it to specific categories {groceries, restaurants, gas, etc.} but, that doesn't work for me.  Excel allows me to set up my spreadsheet EXACTLY how I want and manually enter in every single expense and filter it where I want.  This method takes time and a pretty decent understanding of Excel, but it's worth it... again for me.  The reason I don't like using online programs that filter expenses automatically is because there are many places I shop where I buy a variety of products.  For example, I buy a lot of products from Target, but in an automatic filter program it will put Target under "groceries" each time.  This was confusing for me and I would have to go through each transaction to adjust it.  Frustrating.  Main point?  Excel allows me complete control over my finances and forces me to track every. single. thing.

The hardest part is keeping track of all the equations and making sure everything adds up like it should.  Again, this is easier if you are good at using Excel.  

Questions? email me.  This will help me come up with what should come next.

1 comment

  1. this is amazing! the hubby and i are starting a budget this week!!

    New follower :)


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