I love a good challenge, and so I followed PaidTwice’s link in her How I Budget post to find the Better Budget Challenge Pt 2 over at Sense to Save. PaidTwice is a spreadsheet geek…but so are a lot of folks. Other software geeks use programs like Quicken or MSMoney or whatever…I am just not that tech-savvy. I use a dry erase board for my budgeting! LOL
I’ve mentioned it before in a comments section of my post on when the Army figured out they overpaid us…and wanted that money back. Kris asked what exactly I put on that dry erase board to get hubby’s attention in what he felt was a money crisis. It’s quite simple (I like keeping the money simple). It’s our budget, savings, and debt.
Of course I put the month and year in big block letters across the top, then underline it. On the top left corner is the income: kinda small list-wise but it gets the job done. The fixed income is totalled by itself. Extra income like my pizza delivery money gets put underneath the income total and is used for my debt snowball right now.
On the top right starts the monthly bills: mortgage, utilities, cable, phone, grocery, tuition, gasoline, and groceries. Some are fixed amounts like the mortgage, tuition, phone, acble.internet, and heat/air maintenance, others vary from month to month like the utilities, gasoline, and groceries although I usually have a ballpark figure to work from until the bills arrive in the mail. At the bottom of the list is the total monthly expenses, plus any “extras” like semi-annual car insurance that pop up from time to time.
At the bottom left is a short list of savings: purpose, amounts, and which account they are in. I keep the emergency fund in a money market account. Hubby keeps his “military expense” account in his old savings account. My college tuition is kept in my old savings account. I suppose someday we could get efficient and get an account that allows us to set up subaccounts…maybe we’ll do that over the summer. Right now this works for us.
Finally, in the bottom right corner of the dry erase board is my favorite part: debts killed so far, and the decreasing balance of our last debt! I list the date I killed the old debts, who it was, and approximately how much we paid off. It doesn’t really affect the budget, but it goes a long way towards motivation.
Our budget board is all quite simple, immune to software glitches and hard drive crashes … but not immune to cats’ tails LOL. Ocassionally I have to rewrite things, but it definitely works for me. Having a low-tech budgeting system is worlds better than none at all!