details are my friend

calculating kids

maybe i’m a gossip, but i love knowing the details of peoples lives. that sounds awful. i work for a church, for heaven’s sake. let me clarify. i’m fascinated with people and i’m a copycat. i love knowing all that i can know about people i respect so that i can mimic them and thus become a respectable person. does that sound better?

because of my love for details, i assume everyone else has an intense desire to know everything that is going on in my life. you probably already know that if you read this blog.

so, for that reason and for the reason that personal finance can be just plain hard, i thought i’d give those who are interested some insight into how things roll in this house. and for those that are not interested but can’t take their eyes off their computer screen, i’ll try to make it an enjoyable experience.

i do everything.
just in case you’ve been wondering who keeps track of all our expenses, bills, and receipts in our household, it’s me. bryan is willing to take over if it’s ever a struggle for me (read: if i ever become a budget-monster and start acting like king richard from the robin hood era). but details really aren’t his thing. and details really are my thing, so i really enjoy keeping our check register up to date.

we make decisions together. 
bryan has less opinions then i do about our budget, but we make decisions together. sometimes, i’ll give him an idea of what we need to think about and he tells me what we should do. but a lot of times, i’ll come up with some change to our budget and tell him what i did and he’ll approve. every once and a while, he’ll disapprove because of something i hadn’t thought about and we’ll rework it together.

we don’t have that “jerry rule” that restricts us from spending a certain amount of money without talking to each other. we have so little money that we talk to each other about every extra expense outside of our budget. it’s not really in a, “can i have permission” way, it’s more in a, “this is why we should spend money, do you agree?” way.

excel is free and it’s my best friend.
i use excel for all our budgeting needs. i do fancy stuff like formulas and crap. it’s top of the line, let me tell you.
it’s pretty simple, i have one sheet for our monthly budget, which is inspired by the zero-based budget idea. on this sheet i have all of our expected expenses listed out. throughout the month, i’ll add what we actually spent and our incomes before and after taxes.
the second sheet is a pretty simple check register that i use to balance with our checking account. i balance a little more often than weekly thanks to online banking.

we try to stay one month ahead
we start the beginning of the month with all the money we need. for example, our expenses for august add up to $1,766.84. so we started the month of august with that much in our checking account. this way, we don’t have to wait on my paycheck to have money to pay our bills. throughout the month, my paycheck will refill our checking account and get us ready for the next month.

at this point in the series, i hope i’ve given you some more insight into how we deal with finances in the alsbury family. so far, you may be able be able to conclude that we’re pretty committed to staying out of debt and living within our means. the road is hard, but so rewarding.

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