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If you knew there was a simple step you could take that would add money to your family's bank account, wouldn't you take it? Today I'm sharing a finance tracking method that has done just that for me!
Money is a part of daily life in today's society. Whether we like it or not, we are required to use and have money on a daily basis. And I bet there is not one of us that is not concerned about our money to some degree – where it is coming from, where it is going, and what we are doing with it while we have it (however brief that might be!)
A couple years ago I became frustrated with the way I was handling my finances. In my case, I have no one to blame but myself! I found myself spending little amounts here and there, and finding out when it was too late that those innocent little amounts add up fast! Another scenario was not being able to remember where I spent the money…all I knew was that it was gone. Have you ever had that happen?
It was time for something to change. So I designed a printable Spending Record!
The concept is pretty simple. It keeps track of all my money, coming or going. Because I have bank accounts on both sides of the border, plus a paypal account, I wanted to be able to see all the balances in one place.
I made a colourful sheet with 8 columns. Five of them show my different personal accounts, one keeps a running overall total, and the other two are for the date of the transaction and the Activity and Purpose. This is where I log the amount spent or received, and what is was for. I then add or deduct it from the appropriate account and write the new balance in the column.
I've been using this system for quite some time, and it works so well for me! Being able to keep track of all my money and accounts in one place is so simple.
The best part of this system is that now I can see exactly where every dollar is going. I don't have a lot of income, and every dollar counts! I am sure many of you are counting your pennies just as carefully. With this system of recording every transaction, I can see where I'm spending more money and what I can do to save in certain areas.
Since starting this system, I have my “total balance” column grow and continue to grow more steadily then it did before. I think that is happening for a couple of reasons:
1. Knowing I will have to record every dollar makes me second-guess impulsive purchases or just unneeded items. I'm not saying that I don't ever spend money on little pleasures (Hello Dunkin!!) but I do rethink the purchases that aren't as important.
2. I believe the Lord honours those that strive to be good stewards of what He has given us. I Corinthians 4:2 says, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” In addition, I Corinthians 14:40 states, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” I believe both of these verses can be applied to our finances! The money God gives us here on earth is simply a tool to accomplish His will and working in our lives. I believe the least we can do is manage it decently and faithfully!
I'd love to help you take control of your finances and see your bank accounts grow and grow, so I'm offering this printable, which normally is sold at So Sew Organized, FREE for any Imperfect Homemaker readers! Throughout the month of April you can get your own copy of this Spending Record at no cost just by leaving your name and email address in the comments of this post. (You can also email me directly if you prefer: soseworganized(at)gmail(dot)com. Just mention you are from Imperfect Homemaker!)
The printable you will receive will have blank columns for you to customize to fit your own needs, and of course I'll put your name on it instead of mine. =) I can do other customization you may prefer as well…just give me all the details in your comment! Be sure to request your copy before the month is up!
This method has saved me money, and I'm so glad I can pass it on to you! What other ways does your family keep track of your finances? Any other tips to share? What methods do you use to stretch those hard-earned dollars?
I'm a pretty frugal person.
Just come over and check out my beat up furniture, old car, and closets full of yard sale clothes and you'll see I'm telling the truth.
So why in the world would I purposely waste money?
Let me give you some real life examples.
1. Every time I sweep the floor I come across about 13 tiny black ponytail holders that belong to my daughter. I could be frugal and pick them all up and put them away, or I could finish sweeping the floor after being interrupted by 16 other minor emergencies and not give myself cause for one more interruption. Decisions, decisions…ponytail holders in trash or one more gray hair? Trash.
2. When the kids finish a session of coloring, there are usually about 8 or 10 crayons on the floor. About half of those end up broken when the kids get up from the table and start walking around without picking them up. I suppose I could be frugal and save the broken ones to make one of the million craft ideas on Pinterest. Or I could just throw them away and get it out of my already too-cluttered house. Clean house or cute crafts that I'll most likely never get around to anyway? Trash.
3. 2-year-old destructo-man decides to rip a page out of a book. I could tape it back up, but it's highly possible that it will sit on the desk for a while, adding to a really annoying pile of other junk. Or I could waste money and just throw it away. I think I will. Ahhh! No more annoying junk sitting around!
4. Suppertime has arrived, but the lunch dishes are still not done. It's just been a fast-track day with no time to breathe. I could save money and set the table properly or I could waste money and use paper plates that will go straight into the trash, leaving me more time to enjoy playing with my kids after dinner. What sounds like a better life – playing with cute kids or washing dishes while I get annoyed that everybody else is in the other room enjoying family time without me? Paper plates, please. My money-wasting bills are tallying up, but I'm enjoying life and eliminating stress!
5. Most of our grocery shopping is done at local farms and the farmer's market, and we fill in all the gaps at one particular grocery store. I could wait and buy dish soap and tissues at Walmart for probably a good couple dollars cheaper than I could at the grocery store. Or I could spend a couple extra dollars not to have to unbuckle 3 kids, walk to the back of Walmart while wrangling said children to stay with me, check out while keeping children from annoying the cashier by touching the weight sensor on the self check-out, maneuver our way safely back across the parking lot, and successfully buckle all three children back into car seats. I'll waste the money, thank you.
Shall I continue with my examples, or do you get the idea?
While we ought to be good stewards of our finances, we should also remember that time is money. I've never heard the expression “lack of stress is money”, but I know it's worth money to me!
While I will do all that I can to practice being frugal in ways that will not cost a lot of extra time and headache, I will not worry so much over pinching every penny that I drive myself insane in the process!