Friday, January 07, 2011

Goals for a New Year: Financial

I hesitated to make financial goals because things are still tight for us financially, but I figured it would give me something to shoot for, anyway. And actually, one of the goals just involves being a better tracker of where our money goes, which is important whether we have much or little. :) So my first goal is to record everything we spend. I am not going to try to budget right now, just track where our money goes. And try not to spend money on anything that's not a need!

My other goal (which seems kind of crazy at the moment) is to get our emergency fund built up with 3-6 months worth of living expenses, by the end of 2011. This should be somewhere around $6,000 to $10,000. Well . . . with God, all things are possible. :)

What do you all use to track or budget your finances? I have tried several free spreadsheets on the computer, even signed up for Mint, but it seemed overwhelming and not really what I was looking for . . . my all-time favorite is PearBudget, but it costs $3/month and I ended up cancelling my account because it seemed like a luxury that we didn't need to use, at least not right then, and it also was a waste of money for the months when I forgot to keep up with it. So for now, my plan is to just use a notebook and record everything manually rather than using something on the computer. Maybe once I stick with it on paper for a few months, I'll be ready to try something a little more "advanced." :)

7 comments:

melinda said...

Carrie,

We track every penny we spend and I just use excel - I have the categories going across the top and the pay periods going down the side.

Homesteading Quest said...

I LOVE budgetsimple.com it's free and it works very well for us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie!
All I use is a Excel spread sheet. I put my quarterly bills & savings with how much needs to be put in each account each month and how much gets paid out. I have a different checking account for it and so my balance on the spread sheet always equals what it in the account. Our other account is for monthly bills, groceries, etc.. The spreadsheet I made includes medical savings, a regular misc. savings, savings for larger things that we will need in the future (appliances) along with property taxes and so forth. At one time we had a couple months in advance for each item which was a real blessing when we had no work for awhile and therefore nothing went into it and money came out of it. For the business I use a good old fashioned notebook :) That is all set up for it. -Joey

Janeen said...

Carrie--
Hey! My husband and I record every bill on paper so it is visible to see what our absolutes are. We take out cash for our needs such as trips to Walmart for groceries etc. When the cash is gone nothing else! It has helped us tremendously. It may sound simplistic but it sure works. We are officially debt free and have recently started our emergency savings plan for 3 months bills. Anything is possible!!

TwoMuths said...

Carrie, great goals! :-) I really have been inspired by your posts! I need to get going on some of my own for this year!

Mary Ann said...

I have to write everything down on paper. I'm too challenged to use excel. My brother in law set it up for me once a long time ago but I just never had any real training in the program & it never worked. I try to track what we spend but we need to be more consistent about sticking to the 'once it's spent, no more!' principle. You are such a great motivator to all of us with these posts! Thanks!

Mrs.T said...

I am embarrassed to admit that in many, many years of marriage we have never actually "budgeted" officially, although I guess mentally we have. We think ahead as to what large bills are coming up and plan not to make any other large expenditures in the same time frame. But then of course there are always those unplanned expenses like vehicle repairs!

We have tried to budget on occasion, but it just doesn't seem to work out that well for Mr. T's way of managing money. Mostly, I guess, we have always put our giving to God first and made sure that it is generous. And over the years we have never lacked money for anything that was really a need.

Having said all that, I have set myself a couple of financial goals for the year -- one is to spend less money on groceries in the coming year, remembering the principle that money not spent is money saved. And the other is to use my God-given interests and abilities to help bring in some household income. I'm thinking about an Etsy shop or even trying to sell at some craft shows in the coming year.