I hope you all have been encouraged by our family to see how incredibly the Lord is working in our lives. One of the first aspects that always speaks to people when we share our experience, is the financial windfall of savings that we receive! Just to help put into perspective how blessed we've been through this experience, in 3.5 months we've already been able to pay down $7000 of debt and pay off two huge credit cards in the process!!! I know this is very exciting news for many, and I want to help share with you one of the tools that has made this possible.
Some years ago, I took over the finances for our family and, with the help of my dear mother, was able to create an Excel spreadsheet that has very clearly helped me to see the nuts and bolts of where my money was going, and how I could make it work for me. I do also use, "Microsoft Money", but it's budgeting tools have not been nearly as user friendly as this spreadsheet has been. It can very clearly show me where my money is going and how I can put it to best use. It also allows me to see approximately how much money I will have at Christmas and birthday's so I can plan ahead accordingly. It is my sincerest hope that you will take a look at this and use it to help you organize your finances in a new way that may bless you as it has blessed me. Feel free to share this with others and please return and let me know how it has helped, and what I can do to possibly improve it.
I am counting on some requisite knowledge of Excel in order to use this program. Although there is no Advanced Mathematics, you will have to look at some of the "Cell Math" to see what is happening.
Good Luck, and God Bless.
*Edited by Mom to add- if the attached spreadsheet seems overwhelming, please feel free to ask us for an explanation. It is actually very simple, once you become familiar. To start, save a copy to your own desktop and then adjust the Pay and the Personal and Household Bills to reflect your own needs. Then you can start playing around with the other numbers to see what happens. Also notice the tabs at the bottom are sheets to last through 2013...
Once we have the budget set, we take our money out in cash to help us stick to the budget. I use a small file folder (we call it "the green thing") that has labled tabs like Personal Care (that is for hair cuts, clothes, and the like) Spending (for entertainment or eating out) Laundry (since we use a laundromat) Schooling (for books or supplies) Groceries (you gotta eat) and I think you get the idea. It helps me to see what $ I have left and decide if I really want something badly enough to watch the envelop go empty. I also get to see where my money goes because I put each receipt in the according tabbed slot and then review them at the end of the pay period (You mean I spent half our spending money on coffee at the bookstore?) and then we can make changes accordingly.
Hope that helps!