I am hoping that for the new year you have set some financial goals for yourself such as paying off that student loan, saving up for a much needed vacation, or opening up that retirement account you keep putting off. Whatever your goals, you should first have a firm handle of your finances. To do this, you will need to organize your finances.
Now, there are tons of software out there that can help you organize your finances electronically. These are great. However, if you are terrible with saving money and just can’t seem to climb out of debt, I suggest plain old paper and pencil to organize your finances.
I believe that by keeping track of all your finances by hand, you can get a better understanding of where your money is going. By relying on software to do this, you can easily miss spending patterns that you may want to change.
Personally, I have been recording all my finances by hand for years now. Sure, I could probably do this using software since I have a strong hold of my finances but why mess with a good and reliable system. So, today, I am giving away free printables to help you start your own budget/finance binder and help you organize your finances.
- account sheet (these can be printed multiple times for each and every account you have open such as a checking account, savings account, credit cards, and loans)
- bill recorder (I use these to track all upcoming bills to be paid so that I don’t forget to pay them)
- budget page
How to Use These Pages to Organize Your Finances
I use these pages for every account I have. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, Paypal accounts, the mortgage, various retirement accounts, and investment accounts. If you are trying to get a hold of your finances, I suggest you do the same so that you have all your finances laid out.
You should fill in your account pages right after receiving an account statement. Enter all information as indicated by the column titles. If you receive a monthly statement, use a check mark to make sure that the transaction exists on the statement. Then make sure that account balances match that with the one on the statement.
What about accounts that do not offer monthly statements (either paper or online)? This may be true for something like an investment account. What I do is visit these accounts online on the first of the month. I check their balances and enter them into the account pages. In the case of my investment accounts, I simple add a line that shows the balance of that account for that day.
Tip #1: Use a different symbol for each statement when checking off your transactions. For example, for a January statement I would use a check mark, next month, I would use a slash. Then the next month, I may use a star. I have found that this helps me keep statement transactions separate especially when a balance does not match and I have to go back over the statement.
Tip #2: Remember that for checking accounts, you subtract withdrawals and add deposits. However, for credit card accounts, you will add transactions, and only subtract payments or refunds made to the account.
Bill Recorder/Upcoming Bills
I use this page to write in my monthly bills so that I don’t forget to pay them. As you can see in the example below, I enter the due date of the bill and bill name/type. This is followed by a space for a check mark which is entered once it is paid.
The last box is to indicate from which account it has been paid. I use C for checking, S for savings, MC for MasterCard, D for discover… You get the picture. Because I use multiple accounts, I had to add this last box. I can’t tell you how many times I entered a bill in the wrong account only to find the mistake after a statement has been received.
If you are a daily planner user like me, you can use this bill recorder to enter any bills to paid into it as well. In this way, you ave two reminders for upcoming bills. I am big on paying my bills on time…it’s such a boost to one’s credit score when you do.
Tip #1: After checking off a reoccurring monthly, enter it again at the end of the bill recorder so that you don’t forget to enter it later.
Tip#2: Skip lines on your bill recorder so that if you forget to enter a bill or an unexpected bill shows up, you have a space to enter them in.
Monthly Budget Sheet
For your monthly budget sheet, you want to have your bill recorder handy. In planning out the month, enter your pay and bill amounts in date order.
Next, enter expense categories that do not have a set amount like clothing, gas for a vehicle, groceries, etc. Try your best to estimate how much you need for the month and really try to stick to that amount.
Lastly, on the bottom, I like to calculate my overage. This is the amount I use to pay off my debt or add to a retirement account. Try this for yourself and see how much you can save towards a particular goal.
Tip: When entering a salary amount round down then, round up bill/expense amounts. This way, there is always overage when calculating your budget.
Practice Makes Perfect
As I said earlier, I have been using this system for years now. Not only did I get rid of a lot of debt (I only have a mortgage now) but I raised my credit score into the 800’s. Yes, this will feel like a big project at first, but it will get easier once your information is all filled out. It will get even easier as you continue using it on a daily basis.
As you use these pages and organize your finances by hand, you will start to notice your spending habits and take hold of them. I really hope you find these printables helpful. Now click the blue box below to downloard your printables.
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