Saturday, 3 January 2015

Budgeting and Paperwork - What Works For Us

It's the new year and, like many others, that has me reflecting on our money situation (among other things). J and I are happy with how we have our finances organized and we don't plan on changing things any time soon but it's always good to reflect and make sure we're still on track.

Because we have a system that works for us, I've already shared a lot of it here on my blog. I've also shared it with some friends and family members when looking for advice. Recently I've had two people comment about the system I introduced them to and how it's working for them, which got me thinking I should share them here. I'm no expert but it works for us and maybe it'll work for you too.

The first thing to explain is how we budget. I'm a huge fan of Gail Vaz-Oxlade! While my system isn't exactly like hers, I do use some of her strategies like living on cash. About a year and a half ago, a friend was visiting and she asked about how we budget. I explained our system to her and, once she went home, she started using the jars. Just last week we were chatting and she said she's still using them and they're still working for her. If you want to read the details of how we budget, it's all here in this post.

The next thing that keeps us on track is how we deal with paperwork. When it first comes into our house, it immediately gets sorted using my organizing paper clips. I love these because they keep me from having a disorganized mass of papers to deal with. I have enough random papers to deal with at school; I don't need more messy papers in my life. At least once a week I take a few minutes and deal with bills, then file whatever needs to be filed. These clips are really easy to make and the instructions are here.

One of my oldest projects is my filing system. I'm not sure how I arrived at it but I've been using it for 10+ years and I love it. I explained it in this post if you want to read about it. Actually, it's one of my top viewed posts of all times. A few years ago I convinced my mama to start filing her bills by month and, about a month ago, she mentioned how easy it was not to have to clean out every file. If I could convince you to do one thing (if you're trying to get organized) this is it!

Last but not least is how we keep track of our debts. Last spring I made a debt chain and it has been fantastic. We finished one of the chains this winter and it felt great to rip off the last ring. Every month it's exciting to see the remaining two get a little shorter. It has also been a great motivator not to spend more money because I don't want to add to the chain. It was tedious to make but definitely worth it and you can see the instructions in this post.

So there you have a glimpse (or detailed look if you read the links) into how we organize our finances. As I said, I'm not an expert but, given that it has helped my mama, my friend, and J and I, maybe it'll help you too. If you do find it useful, I'd love to hear and if you have advice, I'd love to hear that as well.

Shared: Life on Lakeshore Drive, What Meegan Makes, The Happy Housie, The Kolb Corner, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe with an E, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess, 4 You With Love, Creatively Living, Sew Much Crafting, Sugar Bee Crafts, Diana Rambles


  1. I love the chains for counting down debt!! We do something, but I love the visual reward of this!! Yay! Very awesome

  2. Brilliant and original idea !!! Wow. I 'm just discovering your blog but you have quite a few fun projects here!


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