Yesterday we spent some time getting organized. Honestly, this is one of my favorite parts of working on our budget, except that as much as I love to organize, I tend to have annoying piles. Take that fact out of the equation, and I enjoy gathering all of the necessary papers.
It was fairly easy for me to find what I needed since I have a wannabe “Home Management Binder” where I place this kind of information. (Actually making that binder functional is my next project!) Whatever I didn’t have on paper, I found and highlighted on our bank statement.
Now that you have all of the figures you need in one place, it’s time to sort them. Put your paperwork in piles according to the categories below. (If you have information written down from electronic records rather than a physical bill, jot each expense on a separate piece of scratch paper so that you can put it individually into the correct pile.) Right now you’re not worrying about the more subjective categories such as groceries, gas, entertainment, clothing, etc. Just focus on the “knowns.”
- fixed payments (such mortgage/rent, loans, auto insurance, health insurance, life insurance, some utilities if you’re on budget billing)
- fluctuating payments (such as electricity, gas, water, sewer, garbage, phone)
- one-time bills
- bank statements
- pay stubs/income from business
After they’re sorted, paper clip each stack. Then come back tomorrow for our next assignment: Plugging in the Numbers!