Tuesday, January 22, 2013

133 Our Budget Binder

Last week I tackled our paper situation and I shared how I purged our piles and keep our papers in a few different places based on our needs.  Long term filing goes in a file box, tax items are stashed up in a cupboard in plastic envelopes, quick "To Do" type items go in easy to access file folders above my desk.  But what about the bills and budget items?  What were those binders for?


The red binder is our household management binder, which I shared how I use here.  The blue binder is our budget binder.  I took a chunk of my household binder and moved it into it's own happy place, since it just made more sense for how often we were using it.


Since I just printed out new pages at the beginning of the year, I thought it was the perfect time to photograph and share {since it is home office month and all, and it's a question I receive quite a bit}.

The budget binder is a tool that my husband and I both know how to use, reference frequently and both own and manage together.  He helped me come up with the contents to be sure we covered everything we thought we needed to successfully manage our budget.  Because we are not professionals, are constantly tweaking our system based on our needs and can't offer financial advice, all we can do is share bits of what is working for us.

And, since my mom always taught me it isn't polite to talk about money, I am only sharing an overview, not any specific digits.  You understand right?  You wouldn't want your personal budget information spread across the entire world wide web....

So, let's open up this pretty little lady and take a peek inside.


The inside of the binder holds two checkbooks; one for paying our monthly obligations and the other for our health savings account.  The pencil pouch holds our budget tools which consist of a calculator and pens.


The next pouch is where the paper is stored.  When the mail comes in, junk is recycled and bills, checks, etc... are placed into this pouch right away so we always have what we need when it comes time to pay our monthly bills.  This is also where we place any receipts that we may need to reconcile with our checkbook register when the time comes.


The rest of the tabs are labeled for quick reference.


We print out a checkbook register for the inside of the binder where we can keep track of our checking account.  It is much nicer than trying to use the smaller one that comes with the checkbook.  And since we really only use our checkbook when we are managing our budget each month, we have no need to take the register with us.

And due to popular demand, I have created a freebie checkbook register printable for you as well!

{click HERE to download your FREE copy of the checkbook register printable}

I also get asked frequently how we keep track of our monthly bills.  Since they don't change much from month to month, we list them all out on our finance checklist.  Then, each month we go down the list, write in the amount we paid and check it off once we submit the payment online or once it has auto-withdrawn from our account.  This way, we can see how it may vary from month to month and be sure we aren't missing a payment along the way.


As I mentioned, each month the hubs and I sit down and do our monthly budget together.  We use our income from the previous month to plan our the current month's budget.  Go down our list of budget items and "zero" out our account.  Meaning, we budget to zero and try and plan for everything that may come up throughout the month.  This is everything from savings to donations to gifts to clothing to school lunches.


We also go back to our budget from the previous month to be sure we put in our actual and make note of the differences.

Because I was never all that great about checking my checkbook register and online banking on a daily basis {I always found better things to do}, we decided that moving to a cash system would be beneficial.  It also hurts a bit more to hand over a dollar bill instead of a check card.  We only use cash for typical monthly expenses, such as fuel, groceries, household items, entertainment, etc....


To keep us on track of our weekly cash spending, we just started to do a weekly check-in, where we can jot down where we are at and keep our cash spread out evenly over the course of the month.

And also by popular demand, another freebie!

{click HERE to download your FREE copy of the cash check-in printable}

When we moved to the cash system, my biggest concern was carrying it.  We don't carry it all at once, I only carry a small amount at a time and keep it with any coupons and store gift cards that we also have under that category.  That way, when we need gas, I can use the cash and a $.06 off per gallon coupon at the same time.  I found the cash envelope from this super cute Etsy shop here.


I have tried a few online programs to manage our accounts and money, but at the end of the day they never seemed to do everything we were looking for.  So, although what we do may seem a little complex and overdone, it's what is working for us and keeps us on track.  And, since we now have a system and a groove, it really doesn't take all that much time to budget and schedule bills twice a month and do a quick weekly check-in.

So that is how we manage our bill paying and budget paper piles.  Surprise surprise, in a handy dandy binder.

Who is having fun with home office month?!  Link party is coming up soon and I am getting giddy with anticipation to see what you crazy kids have been up to!

133 comments:

  1. I'm (trying) to diligently work on our home office organization this month. Can't wait to link up! Thanks for the constant inspiration (and reminder to get on that!).

    By the way, I'm so impressed by your cash-system discipline!

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    1. Thanks! It's something we only started recently and are slowly adjusting too, but so far it's been working quite well! Hopefully it sticks! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. I use a similar system, but worried about fire demolishing my greens or a home invasion (yes I'm paranoid much) so I instituted a monopoly money system that I insert into envelopes each pay period. My actual cash stays safe in the bank & I have a handle on my budget.

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  2. That system is super cute! I have an excel spreadsheet for my register and monthly bills that looks very similar and instead of the cash envelope my register is color coded and totaled to keep me on track.

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  3. You are amazing! I just recently found your blog and I LOVE your ideas! Thank you for inspiring me to become even more organized in my day to day life! :) You are awesome!

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  4. My "resolution" this year is to get our finances in order and I LOVE your method!! Thank you for the freebies!!

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  5. Thank you for the free check register. I am into digitizing everything I can. I do everything online that I can. I even scan my kids homework pages rather than keep the originals, if I can. But for some reason there's just certain things, like a budget, that seem to work better with pen and paper. I think it's the physical paper that makes it relevant. Scanning a bill onto a hard drive tucks it away and it's not in front of me to be paid.

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  6. This looks great, and I really like this
    J
    http://lifelovesand.blogspot.ie/

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  7. I keep trying to download the checkbook register and the link isn't working. Is it possible for you to email it to me? I just purchased the other two printables and would like to add this one to the binder. Also, are you planning on making the Cash check-in a printable that will be available? I love that idea since this is usually where we go wrong!!

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    1. Hi Kim!

      If you are having trouble with the download, feel free to email me and I can send it to you that way. And I just added the check-in printable to the post as well! :)

      Thanks so much!
      xo,
      Jen

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  8. Love this system! Are you going to make your Cash Check-In printable available? I need to add something like that to my system. Thanks!

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    1. Absolutely! Just updated the post with a link to the freebie. :)

      Thanks so much!
      Jen

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  9. your stuff is super, super, super pretty but if you want to keep it simple and not waste paper sign up on mint.com. Really easy to keep track of your budget!

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    1. Hi Alexa!

      I have used mint.com and it was GREAT! It just wasn't for me since it didn't have a few of the things I was looking for, but I agree, it's a great solution for those going paperless!

      xo,
      Jen

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  10. Fab as usual! Just wondering, what font did you use for the word "Jones"on your budget and checklists? It's lovely, and just what I've been looking for! :)

    xoxo, Bohemia

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! The font is Montelago Pro.

      xo!
      Jen

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  11. This is the perfect gift for a new home! Nothings better than having everything in place.

    Melissa
    http://shakeshakee.blogspot.com

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  12. I am totally hanging my head in shame on this one! lol. Luckily Mint.com tracks all of my spending for me because I could never get my husband to actually keep all of this up!

    xoxo

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  13. Is the cash check-in printable available would really like to use that thanks! And thanks for the check register!!

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    1. Absolutely! Just updated the post with a link to the freebie. :)

      Thanks so much!
      Jen

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  14. Thank you for this post. It was great! My husband and I also do the Cash system. Is the cash check printable available on your etsy shop? :-)

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    1. Absolutely! Just updated the post with a link to the freebie. :)

      Thanks so much!
      Jen

      Delete
  15. Where did you find those little pouches that have the 3 hole punch? Ive tried using a page protectors to keep bills in but they always fall out the top and I love these pouches!

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    1. Hi Claire!

      I found it at Target. :) I am guessing most office supply stores will carry something similar.

      xo!
      Jen

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  16. This whole system is very neat and practical. I feel like you have simplified things and it really makes sense. My husband and I have a system...I think...it's just not this organized or pretty or functional...hmmm. It gets the job done but I am inspired by this. Financial communication is also a big downfall at our house. We kind of do our own thing and it can cause me to be nervous at times! I'm on Mint.com and honestly, I get anxiety over it. I plan on getting that Etsy envelope, very neat system! If you make the cash check-in printable I would vote on that too!! Thanks for sharing all this, it's really helpful Jen.

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    1. Absolutely! Just updated the post with a link to the freebie. :)

      Thanks so much!
      Jen

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  17. Love your budget book. We moved to a cash system in 2012 and though we didn't strictly stick tout we noticed a huge difference in our spending. I love the idea of that cash envelope to carry money to the stores. Can't wait to check it out.

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  18. I'm personally addicted to google docs! Don't know what I did without them, and I can access them at home or at the office.

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  19. The large checkbook register - so simple! The perfect solution!

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  20. Where did you get the teal file folder bin? I LOVE it. Love your blog and all of your ideas. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Robin!

      I found it at Target. :) I am guessing most office supply stores will carry something similar.

      xo!
      Jen

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  21. I've been using a similar routine for bill paying since college, large format check register and bill paying forms as well. You are a kindred spirit! I only switched from using a poly folio for 15 years to a binder just this month, so everything is now nice and secure. I do much better, financially and mentally, when I know where everything is going and where my obligations lie. My mom has used the envelope system since the 1950's. I just don't think I can trust myself not to lose them, or maybe I should say not to worry myself to death about losing them. I should revisit the concept though. Thanks for a great post!

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  22. Agreed on the cash check in! I purchased the budget system on your esty shop earlier this year and would love to add that to our binder!

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    1. Just updated the post with a link to the freebie. :)

      Thanks so much!
      Jen

      Delete
  23. Thanks for sharing! I am always fascinated by how people budget because it is all so personal and individual. Way to go on the cash system. I hear great things about doing it that way but have never been able to move away from the debit card way. Great printables too!

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  24. The cash sytem makes sense but what do you about clothes/stuff you buy online?

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    1. Hi Erika!

      We have only been using the cash system for a few months. I budget clothing out of our checking at the beginning of the month and then use our debit card for those items. The cash is basically for when I go to Target, out to eat or need fuel for the car. But if you were going to use the cash system for everything, including clothing, my guess is that you could just use a check card and pay yourself back?

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Erika,
      I've used the cash system for the last 3 years. I do all the things that Jen stated above, although my forms aren't as pretty, (Thanks, Jen, I just downloaded them!)

      The other piece I do is a spreadsheet of my savings. For example, things like clothing, insurance that I don't pay monthly but budget monthly, Christmas, gifts, etc. I put in my savings account instead of getting cash. Then I have a spreadsheet with all the categories listed. Each month I type in how much I'm depositing (or subtracting if I took cash out for that purpose) then at the end of the row is my total in that category. For example, I may have $500 in savings, $100 in clothes, $100 in pet grooming fund, $50 for car insurance, $100 towards Christmas, and $150 in a vacation fund. That way, the money is set aside for things coming up, but I don't have a ton of cash sitting around. Dave Ramsey has a number of books and a great websites about budgeting and using a cash system. Reading one of his books changed my financial life! Sorry...I get excited about this topic! Thanks Jen for encouraging others to get a hold of their financial life!!

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    3. I agree! Go Dave Ramsey! Books and podcast are great!

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  25. Where did you buy the folder?

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    1. I found it at Target. :) I am guessing most office supply stores will carry something similar.

      xo!
      Jen

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  26. I know alot of people recommend mint.com because it is free but my Hubby and I LOVE YouNeedABudget (YNAB). We like how it is software stored on your home computer instead of data on an Internet website. They have a free 34 day trial too. It works just like your paper copy, but digitally. You can autofil the amounts that never change and adjust as needed. I love that I can enter receipts from my iPhone while shopping and it syncs automatically. If you haven't tried this one I encourage you to do so. www.youneedabudget.com

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    1. Wow, sounds great! I will keep it on my radar as an option in the future.

      xo!
      Jen

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    2. I definitely have to agree about YNAB. My husband and I have been using the software for over a year now and it's wonderful! We both enter transactions throughout the day on our iphones and it automatically syncs up with our home computer. It is also a zero based budget system, but unlike mint.com that just looks at past transactions and tells you how much you spent, YNAB is forward looking. We now have sinking funds/rainy day funds for car repairs, taxes, etc. We were never good with the cash system and keeping that much cash aside for a sinking fund just wasn't going to work for us.

      Also, when you purchase the software you can use that license for as many computers as you have. They hold classes on their website that help you understand how to use the system. Ok, can you tell I'm a fan :) Oh, and I'm also a fan of your blog - thank you for such great ideas and inspiration!!

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  27. I just moved to a cash system for 2013--thanks for the tip on the etsy envelope! So much better than my plain white ones..ha!

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  28. Love love love this idea!! I mean, seriously - so glad you shared it. We like to use Excel; it's nice having formulas that add everything up for you. So far, it's what's worked for us, but I've been somewhat toying aroun with the idea of using a cash system. It's nice to hear how other people manage their budget, too! And even though we use Excel right now, those printables are just so lovely I want to tell my hubby from now on we're using a binder, haha.

    ps: Where did you get your pretty colorful binders? And did you add the labels on yourself or did they come with the binders?

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    1. Thanks Rachel! We used Excel for awhile also! I just found that my hubby wasn't as involved then, lol.

      The binders are the Martha Stewart binders from Staples. I added the bookplate label to the front {also from Staples}.

      xo!
      Jen

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  29. Ooh! I love the system! And thanks for the printables that we can use ourselves.

    And, I would TOTALLY participate in the home office month... if I had one! I will just pin away at everyone's inspiration in the meantime, until I get one. :)

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  30. My husband and I went thru Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University last fall. This is basically the same way we learned to do our budget. Monthly and cash only. ;) WE LOVE IT!! It has helped us keep track of all the money that was falling thru the cracks. Love your forms though. Alot cuter than Dave's black and white. BTW FPU is great! We recommend it to everyone!! :)

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    1. I wish there was a like button! I also did FPU and it changed my financial life! :)

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  31. If that doesn't make bill paying less painful, I don't know what would! Love it, Jen:)

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  32. Oh my gosh, your budget binder looks so similar to ours! We also do the monthly checklist (to make sure bills have been paid) and have our checkbook register in it as well. Yours is a lot more colorful than mine, though! Thanks so much for the printables!!!!!

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  33. Jen, Is there a way to save the printable's to our computers? I'm out of ink at the moment and I've missed a few of your printable's before :( Thank you very much.

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    1. After I posted the msg I saw the download button. DUH! LOL Thank you again. Love all your printables.

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  34. where did you find the pencil and pen holder and the one for your bills? also what about the dividers? thanks!

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    1. Both the pencil pouch and bill pouch were found at Target, the binder and dividers are the Martha Stewart line from Staples.

      xo!
      Jen

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  35. Wow...you make it look fun with all those pretty papers and labels! Only, it's not really fun, is it?

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  36. Thank you, thank you! You are inspiring.

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  37. I'm impressed! I love that you stick with what works for you instead of feeling the pressure to switch to all the tech/paperless/internet options out there, just because they are there. I find that the internet stuff actually allows me to forget about bills and/or lose track of spending. Once upon a time, people sat down and did the work themselves, like you do, and they managed their finances very well!! (Don't I sound old when I say that?) Also, I agree about keeping the financial numbers private. My parents taught me the same thing. I cringe when people are too open about dollar amounts or ask me to be!! These are great systems. Thank you for the printables!
    Anita Y. in southern California

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  38. Jen, as organized as you are I would think you would pay bills online. It is much less time consuming, and provides you with an overview of all your expenses w/out you having to do the work. Promise me you'll look into it. :)

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    1. Hi Renee!

      I do pay most bills online, even have many of them scheduled to auto-withdrawal, I just keep a statement stub in the envelope when a paper bill comes in {from the doctor, a magazine subscription, the water company, etc...} as a reminder to pay those that don't happen monthly. The binder is my way of tracking online bill payments along with the rest of our budget.

      xo!
      Jen

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  39. Jen- I LOVE your blog!! I have always been an "organizer" but you have given me so many great new ways to do things I've always done. I have even started my own organization journey and have decided to blog about it as I go! Thank you SO SO much for the free checkbook register printable! As organized as I am I have always been horrible about keeping the register for my checking account up-to-date. This will help! You have also inspired me to totally rework my "Bills" binder into a "Budget" binder and keep better track of everything. Again- THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

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  40. Jen,
    Kudos to you and your family for taking steps to reorganize the way you handle your finances. My family also switched over to cash budgeting almost 2 years ago. Best financial move for us ever. I hope that your readers are not only inspired by your pretty printables and binder, but also with the way you are taking control and being organized with your financial life. For anyone interested, I blogged about our first month of cash budgeting. It was an eye-opening experience! http://thedrumgoolefamily.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/we-survived-a-month-of-budgeting/ I'm always really excited to read about people who are making efforts to live a life of financial organization and peace. Best of luck in it all! ~Erin

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  41. Here's another little variation on bill paying. I have a simple picture frame with glass. Instead of a picture, I have a list of my monthly bills. When a bill comes in, it is set up at my bank to be paid, in our case, on the first day of the month. I mark the frame with the date the bill is set up. It is a quick visual as to whether a bill has been received. I have a check register on Excel also. Reminders for quarterly taxes, insurance and other non-monthly bills are on my Google Calendar.

    Your check register is much cuter.

    CT Granny

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  42. Jen,
    I have been noticing your labels in the past few posts. Can your share what type of label maker and font you use? My label makers doesn't make labels that pretty!

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    1. Hi Jordan!

      I use the Epson Labelworks label maker: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005J7Y6GS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005J7Y6GS&linkCode=as2&tag=iheaorga-20

      I love it! It has different fonts and sizes, the one I have been using most is Mincho.

      xo,
      Jen

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  43. Jen, I am in heaven with my new calendar I purchased along with the meal plan pages. I love the checkbook register you added!! Thank you!! I keep my receipts in a MS accordian file with coupons and always write things in while at home, so this is perfect.

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  44. These are great printables! I am excited about this. What do you with your paper bills when you have paid them? Do they get filed elsewhere?

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    1. Hi Sandhya!

      They are either filed in a "statement" folder above my desk so I can scan it in, or else recycled, depending on if the statement is also available online.

      xo!
      Jen

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  45. Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I have been trying to get into a budget groove for over 7 months and can't seem to get it down to a science. I love how you've organized your budgeting and just might borrow some of these ideas! I also LOVE the etsy envelope you use. I've been trying to figure out the best way to do the cash system (we are doing Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace plan) without carrying a million letter envelopes in my purse. This is perfect! Thanks so much--I always enjoy reading your blog :)

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  46. Thank you for sharing another great tip in organziation! I've been looking for something to manage our ever growing mound of paper work and files, and I think you may have just given us a solution!

    MJ
    Papersidewalks.blogspot.com

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  47. Thank you for all of your fabulous ideas and tips! I have just started my quest to get organized and your blog has been such a great source of inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas!

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  48. As another reader commented....THANKS so much for sharing your wallet! I love it! Way cuter then the Dave Ramsey one we've been using! This one I won't be embarrassed to use. Thanks

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  49. The budget program you were searching for is YNAB! YouNeedABudget.com. It does everything a budget software should and more. This binder is beautiful, though, and I think I'll make one for those things that just don't live on computers. :) Your stuff is always so gorgeous!

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  50. Thanks so much for this info. I have been wondering whats the best way to organize all this. I have been living out of a million lil cash envelopes that I got from Dave Ramsey FPU and I leave them in my safe when I don't need them, but I love the lil Etsy envelope. Just a quick question, where do you keep this binder? Is it in you kitchen/command center area, or is it in your office and you grab it to add mail/bills etc?
    I LOVE your blog and LOVE my household binder... thanks to your Etsy site!

    Jill P

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  51. When will more finance checklists be available? The ones you've linked to you Etsy shop are currently sold.

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  52. Great timing, thanks. I have been looking for a daily expense tracker and just haven't found one l like.
    I do like the cash check in for that purpose.
    I tried to get your finance and budget sheets but I don't see those available in your shop.
    Also, I like the font you are using for your cash check in, are we able to edit your printables? I would pay for that feature.

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  53. Thanks so much for printables. They are so cute! Should make paying bills less of a chore.

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  54. I love the idea of having a cash check in week by week. It's one thing to set aside a certain amount for the month... but it's another thing when you're not even halfway through the month and close to no cash left :/

    LOVE your blog. LOVE your creativity. and of course LOVE your organizing skills!! Thanks for sharing this great info ;)

    xo, Bev

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  55. Thanks for telling us about that great Etsy shop!! Love her stuff

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  56. Wow! Thank-you for the free printables!
    I am loving this!
    I am going to make my budget folder tomorrow!
    Thank-you for all you do,Jen!


    Rhonda
    xo

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  57. This is absolutely fantastic! I am pretty organized but the one thing I am lacking is organized paperwork. I better get to work next weekend!

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  58. This is definitely the coolest way to get organized. Your binders are so attractive, it'll be so hard to miss them once you think of budgetting stuff. This is really cute.

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  59. Oh I love those binders and the free printables! Exactly what I need to get organised for 2013 - thanks :)

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  60. These are great tips! We are moving to a cash system and I am definitely going to use the printable so it is easier for us to manage our cash and our spending. Also, already looking at a divided wallet!!

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  61. LOVE! Where did you find your binders?

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    1. Thank you! I have been using the Martha Stewart binders from Stapes, but I also really love the binders from See Jane Work and Target.

      xo,
      Jen

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  62. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas....Just this January I started using a binder system that so far seems like it is going to work out great for me....I am now going to implement some of your ideas and see what happens...Thanks again!

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  63. I love everything about this post. Thanks for the free prints!

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  64. That was a wonderfl post, and I loved the etsy shop. I do follow a budget system similar to yours instead of cash, I use a debit card.I deposit only a certain amount of money in my checking account so I do not over spend.

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  65. Jen, where do you purchase your FABULOUS FOLDERS?

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    1. Thank you! I have been using the Martha Stewart binders from Stapes, but I also really love the binders from See Jane Work and Target.

      xo,
      Jen

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  66. We also use a cash system! We went through Dave Ramsey's financial peace class a couple years ago and will be starting again in about a week! I definitely feel more control over my finances now! :) I have been purging and shredding paper! I used the tips on simplify 101 to create action, reference and archived piles of paper. I will be going through more paper tonight!! We have waaaay too much paper, but we wont for long! Thanks for all the inspiration!! :)

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  67. You never disappoint Jen! Your printables are my favorite - thanks for offering them! We went to a cash only system almost a year ago and I think your weekly cash check-in form will really help us stay on track :)

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  68. ok... can one be too organized??? this is almost OCD for ME now. I can see a lot of you like this stuff. I am beginning to feel bad about myself because I don't have a pink binder. Oh, geesh!

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  69. Ughh I wish you could just come on over the river & re-organize my life. You make it look so easy & pretty. I love what you do.

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  70. Seriously I was feeling as if I was drowning in my finances just yesterday!!!

    Your beautiful printables and photos inspired me!

    Today feels so great - I got it done and was so excited to show the hubby when he came home.

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  71. Jen I just love your site!!! Could you explain again how you use the weekly cash sheets? Also when your bills come you put them right in your binder? So I would forget to pay them if I don't see them!!!! Do u have like certain dys of the week that you sit down & go thru the binder to pay stuff?? Also what do you do with like bank statements, credit card statements, utility bills & dr bills, how do our file that stuff or do you shred it?? Sorry this is soooo long!!!!

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    1. Hi Kerry,

      For the weekly Cash Check-In, we just write in our current remaining cash for each category each week, to be sure we are staying on track and know where we are at. That way we can always look back and trend as well.

      I do put the bills right into the binder, but we always pay our bills ahead on the first and the 15th so we don't miss them or forget them, they are right in the binder which we pull for bills and budget.

      I don't keep bank statements since the bank can pull them at anytime, we actually don't even receive them any longer since I switched to paperless. The only statements I keep are for tax purposes and live in a manilla folder.

      xo,
      Jen

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  72. Jen, what categories do u have for the tabbed dividers in your cash wallet? Also, which wallet is that from that site there are a couple different ones!! Thanks again!!

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  73. Jen,
    I love all your colorful documents. I am a very visual person, so color is a great thing in my world! What program do you use to create these? I have tried simple programs such as Word, but it takes FOREVER to color every small area. HELP!? Thanks so much!

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  74. You are amazing! I wish I had 1/10th of your organizing skill! Thank you for sharing so many details and for the free printables!
    You rock and I love love love your blog!!!

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  75. Your binders are so cute! I have 3 I keep in my cabinet, one for bill statements (I keep the current year's), one for bank statements, one for 401K/income statements, but they're all starting to look a little ratty and I'd like for them to match. :) Where did you find your binders?

    I love the idea of using the pouch to put incoming bills to be paid. Mine are usually on a stack on my desk until they're paid and filed.

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  76. Thank you so much for the awesome freebies! I've been hunting for a checkbook register forever! So thank you, I truly do appreciate it!

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  77. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I went to Staples the night after I read this post and put together a binder. I am using your checkbook register and the finance checklist sheet from your Etsy shop! I'm so excited! I just wrote a post about it and linked to your blog and Etsy shop. Thanks again! http://www.theladyokieblog.com/2013/01/the-amazing-2013-budget-binder.html

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  78. Thank you! I already have a jumbo sized checkbook register that I've created on Excel 9 years ago...(yikes!), but yours is much more fabulous looking.

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  79. We have been on a cash system for a couple years now, and it has definitely worked for us, as we were able to save more money and get completely out of debt. I LOVE the cash check-in idea though. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. Will be printing out and implementing next month! Thanks Jen!

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  80. Wow, this is a great system!! We decided this month we have GOT to come up with a system for budgeting, or we are never going to get out of a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, that neither of us want, especially now that we are parents. I saved this page, and will definitely be talking to him to see if this would work for him as much as I think it will. Thank you for sharing the free printables, and links to the other stuff. You rock! :)

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  81. Thank you so much for the freebies. Love your challenges!

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  82. Hi Jen! I recently found your blog, and am absolutely in LOVE with everything you post! Your ideas are very realistic and manageable, which is kind of hard to find. My fiance & I are soon getting our very first place of our own! So I am making binders ahead of time for budgets, meal plans, etc. and this is the perfect place to find all of that!! We are young, I am 18 and he is 19 so this is going to take some serious determination to get him to work with me on this lol. But I want us to start out on the right track and stick with it, that way we are used to it from the get go. I wanted to ask you what you labeled each of your tabs in this binder, and how many you have? Thank you so much for motivating me to do this!!

    Kaelyn :)

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  83. I'm so in love with your blog. Can you please tell me where you get/make your binder dividers? I have the lable maker but just can't seem to find pretty dividers. I love binders almost as much as I love your blog!!! LOL

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    Replies
    1. I find my dividers at Target and Staples {the Martha Stewart brand}. The ones at Target offer pockets with the tabs and are the Up & Up brand, LOVE them! And the ones at Staples have great color choices and offer more tabs per pack, so they are a great alternative if you don't want/need the pocket.

      xo!
      Jen

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  84. My husband and I have talked about different budgeting solutions for awhile but never actually nailed one down. I felt like I needed a "real" person to tell me exactly how to do it from point A to point B. I want to thank you because you have definitely inspired me and I want to do it exactly as you have outlined! We are sitting down this weekend to work it all out. I even found a very cheap and beautiful envelope to organize my cash in.

    My only question is, how does your husband organize HIS cash that has been budgeted? My husband insists on only carrying a money clip/card sized wallet which holds his debit card and ID and just a few other membership cards and that's it. He doesn't like the folding wallet with the big cash pocket. Do I need to convince him to convert to a true wallet? Do you have any different recommendations?

    Thank you! ~ Erin

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    Replies
    1. Hi Erin!

      I am happy to hear you were able to find some ideas here to get you excited for your budgeting this weekend!

      My husband uses the same wallet he has had for years. We decided that neither of us felt comfortable keeping large sums of cash on us when out and about, so it really has come down to planning for us and only taking with us what we need for the next day or two. The rest stays at home in secret and safe place. It took a little getting used to and the first few weeks of being on cash system meant we would accidentally leave and go somewhere without bringing cash, but now it feels like second nature to check and make sure we have what we need before heading out the door. That is also why we do the weekly cash check-in, since we are pulling from our budget throughout periods of time vs. carrying it all with us at once.

      If that works for you, then my guess is his money clip would still work for him. :)

      xo!
      Jen

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  85. Awesome. I'm going to try this. I do a bi-weekly budget using excel. (See my most recent blog post at www.southern-cafe.blogspot.com) and it's been helping tremendously. But I like this idea too. I may have to try it out. I'm a hard copy kind of person. I still use a daily planner and refuse to use my smartphone as my planner.

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  86. My husband and I are about to try and implement a system. We currently have 2 checking accounts and have no idea where our money goes. It is so frustrating to look at our accounts and have no idea where anything goes, especially considering how hard we work!! Thank you so much for the inspiration!! :)

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  87. Hi i just changed jobs to being a server because i make more money. I now deal with cash so your method helped me. I love organizing too and love other ideas to add to mine. Thanks. Teri

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  88. Hi Jen,

    I've been working really hard to get everything organized in my house and your site is wonderfully inspirational! I love the check register template and would like to use it but I cannot get the template to print correctly. It keeps printing in the portrait orientation instead of the landscape.

    Is there a way to fix this? I can't seem to download or save the template to my computer to see if that works. Any help would be so great!

    Kristy

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kristy!

      You should be able to download the doc to your computer by going here: https://www.box.com/s/1jkwjc2pkzi7xczpm0tm {there is a link near the top}. Portrait or Landscape is typically a printer setting you will have to updated. It is formatted for landscape printing.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  89. You're so diligent at doing this. Good for you and your family.

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  90. Hi, I'm in my early 20s, college student that will soon be entering the real world. My parents are slowly starting to cut the financial cord and I've realized it's time to start budgeting my income. Any suggestions/point in the right direction on budgeting for a college student?

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  91. Jen,

    Thank you so much for the Checkbook and Cash Check-In printables! I am currently working my way through Financial Peace University and have started blogging as a way to hold myself accountable through the process, http://perfectlycentsable.blogspot.com/. I am writing my next article and will be sure to link to you so my readers will know where these awesome printables came from!

    Much love,
    ~Stephanie

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  92. Love your blog!! My boyfriend and I recently moved in together and I was looking for a way to simplify everything in the house since we both have our own ways. Your blog is perfect for everything we need! Such an inspiration, THANK YOU!!

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  93. For your checkbook register, in the "X" column what do you use it for?

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    Replies
    1. It is to check off when an item has cleared. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  94. Is there some where to get all the pages to your budget binder? I love it and would like to start one myself!!

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  95. Jen I found some of the pages for your budget binder on etsy but can't seem to find the checkbook register page? Any ideas on where I could find that at?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tricia!

      There is a link within the post to the free download: https://www.box.com/s/1jkwjc2pkzi7xczpm0tm :)

      Thanks!
      Jen

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  96. Have you heard of YNAB (you need a budget)? I absolutely love the software. It also utilizes the "budget to zero" method you mentioned. I really think your organizing-loving heart would fall for it. They give a 34-day free trial. The software is $60 but Steam (steampowered.com) sometimes has sales which makes it $15! :)

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  97. Hi! Random question.. what is the "x" section for?
    Thanks!
    Love your ideas! (:

    -Heather

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    Replies
    1. Hi Heather!

      The "X" section is to mark things off when they are cleared through the bank.

      xo!

      Delete
  98. After our tax-time fiasco last year, and 2 moves and a baby in one year, I am ready to put this budget thing to practice...and where do I turn to first? Your blog, of course! My husband and I have done the Financial Peace classes and we know the drill of saving and budgeting, but I turn to you for the practical and fun ways of doing all those things. Suddenly, keeping a budget doesn't seem as dry and sterile when color and girly-ness are added :) Thank you again for the inspiration!
    Sarah @ www.marriageisnotforwimps.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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