One goal that I am really determined to achieve in 2017 is to get out of debt. In 2010 before I got married I was able to pay off a lot of my credit card debt – actually all of it, but got back into credit card debt after getting married because of being unemployed for a few months after my first son was born, and then again when I got laid off when I was pregnant with my second son.
So fast forward many years and 2 kids later, living paycheck to paycheck is now life. Honestly, I have a lot of goals for myself for the next 5 years, one being getting out of ALL debt (this includes my student loans) and buying a home for my family. I realize that a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle can only get your so far, and things have to change. The only way things can change is to have a plan and to be organized.
You can get your free money organizer that I put together here:
Organizing your finances using a spreadsheet
With a spreadsheet, you can really see everything in one place. What I like about Google Spreadsheets especially is that you can access it anywhere you can connect to the internet. I personally access my money spreadsheet on my iPhone, since there is an app for that. I can refer to it if I ever need to.
In my money spreadsheet, which you can get allows you to:
- List all your outstanding debts
- Keep track of your bills for the month where it corresponds to your paycheck
- Budgeting for your necessities – food, gas, spending money and savings
- Keep track of all your logins
All Debts Tab
In this tab, I suggest you list all of your debts from lowest to highest. This way, you can see the debt that you are close to paying off, which will be a huge motivator, and you can see if you can put more money towards that debt. In this tab you will really see the big picture as to what debts you have and it will really help you keep on track.
Bill Tracker tab
In this tab, you can separate them using the due dates for each and have it correspond to when you get paid in the month. Personally I get paid every 2 weeks so I am able to split my bills in the month. I make sure any bills due either fall between one paycheck or the next paycheck. I pay all my bills manually so it helps me make sure I don’t forget to pay a bill.
In this tab you can allocate a budget for things like food, gas, spending money and savings. Feel free to add more, but these are the things I personally budget for. Any money leftover from paying bills, I split the money towards those budget “buckets” and stick to that allocated amount.
In this tab, I put all my logins so I have them all in one place. I can easily access each website where I pay the bill in one place.
Some tips to use the spreadsheet:
Planning is key. I usually organize my spreadsheet a pay period in advance. I know what bills I have and jot down when each is due. Since my paycheck is the same each pay period I can kind of guesstimate how much money I will have after paying bills and can budget accordingly.
Figure out how much you absolutely need to spend for necessities such as food, gas and household items. Assess what things you are running out of that you need – such as laundry soap, dishwasher soap, etc and keep those items in mind when you are creating your grocery/household shopping list for the week.
Planning your meals for the week also helps save money, and you can even bring your leftovers to eat to work the next day.
Some great places to find recipes that are budget friendly are Budget Bytes and DamnDelicious. Pinterest is a great place to find new recipes. I’d suggest creating a board (like mine) for all your recipes that way you can always refer to them!
My favorite budget recipes include:
Beef tacos (using DIY taco seasoning)
Crock pot Turkey chili
Chicken + rice and beans (buy the chicken at Walmart – it’s less than $5 for a whole rotisserie chicken) and cook rice and beans at home. You can even get a bag of steamed veggies to round out the meal.
Limiting your spending during the week really will do wonders, and you will be able to see how much money you can put towards savings too. Don’t forget to add money to your savings account, even if it is a main savings account for no other reason just to have some money saved just incase you absolutely need it.
How will you organize your finances this year? Let me know in the comments!
Get the spreadsheet here –