This week my husband and I took on the daunting task of establishing a family budget. We have tackled this hurdle before, but this was the first time we have looked at our financial situation since having a child, we moved several states away and started new full time jobs. There are a whole list of other factors in our life now that we have never really needed to deal with.
The process was actually a lot easier and less stressful than I was building it up to be. Before we started we gathered all the different elements we have that would provide information regarding our current financial situation. The different pieces of information we had were:
Pay stubs for both my husband and I
A copy of each statement for all our monthly expenses (credit cards, car insurance, cable, cell phones, Internet … everything we payout).
Current Credit Reports for both my husband and I
Current checking account and saving account balances
A print out of our spending for the past 3 month to track spending habits (food expenses, gas, entertainment and leisure expenses).
And a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet that I had created to help put all our income and expenses in order.
Once we pulled up the spreadsheet and had all the documents we needed it was just plug and play from there. We were able to determine how much money we had to take care of all our bills, build a savings account and have left over for family fun.
But we aren’t finished yet.
After 3 months we will visit the spreadsheet again with updated documents and see if we are sticking to the plan we set up. If we are good we will continue to revisit it at least ever 6 months so we can begin to track and see what progress we have been towards being debt free.
If you are interested in seeing the spreadsheet that we use and trying it out for your own family download the document here for free. I pray it is a useful tool for you and your family.