When I was pregnant and planning on the finances of having a child and hopefully affording to become a stay at home mom, I decided that I needed to figure out where our money was going each month. I’d heard advice over the years that a great way to get a hold of your finances was to keep track of every dollar you spent for at least three months in a row. Doing that would give you a great overview of exactly how much you made and exactly where that money goes.
Knowing where your money goes each month is really eye-opening. For us, I was truly shocked at how much money we spent on groceries! We are admitted ‘foodies’, but that monthly grocery bill was a little out of hand. Once we were able to see in black and white how much we spent we were easily able to widdle down our grocery bill into a manageable sum. And now we divert that saved money into our savings account. The story held true in many of our other categories as well.
The difficult part of keeping track of our expenses was actually finding a spot to keep track of it all. At first I tried using an actual notebook, which was a great big mess and a pain to add up. Then I tried Quicken, but quickly found that was too complicated and I couldn’t layout my categories like I wanted and print them out as I wanted.
So I decided to be resourceful and I created my own Excel spreadsheet that would add, subtract and divide everything I wanted it to do.
Fast forward four years and I’m still using the same spreadsheet, with a few small updates. I don’t keep track of our expenses every month these days, because I’m familiar with our spending habits, but I do track them every two months or so to make sure we are staying in line.
If you’ve been procrastinating on keeping track of your finances or have been searching for the perfect budget spreadsheet then sign up to receive our free budget spreadsheet! Enjoy!
Oh, and if you’ve been thinking of becoming a stay at home mom read this article to see if you can afford it.