Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Money Journal

I've tried at various times in the past to get a good understanding of our household finances.  Overall, Dave and I are pretty smart with our money.  We pay off our credit cards every month, and we rarely buy items that are not on sale.  We don't eat out a ton, we don't buy very expensive clothes.

At the same time, we are only three years into a new home mortgage and we have student loans out the wazoo.  We're still paying off a car.  We have two kids in daycare.  And I will readily admit that we each have our weak areas (ahem, Starbucks...stupid, stupid delicious emotionally comforting Starbucks...).  [Starbucks is me, not Dave.  He'd probably rather bury his money in the ground than spend it on a Starbucks latte.]

So with me recently going down to only two days of work, we are really cutting things close.  Thank goodness we have savings to fall back on if necessary.  I knew from the get-go that halving my work hours would mean a big cut in our spending money, but oh how it's worth it to be able to be part-time stay-at-home momma, which I've felt my heart craving more and more ever since Krew was born.

So the point of all this is that I've decided to start a money journal.  There's no pre-determined format for this journal.  Basically, every day I'm going to write down everything that happens that is money-related.  I may jot down income, purchases made that should have rebates, the amount of money we have in checking, cash that I pulled from our cash stash, etc.  I need to get a better understanding of where our money is coming from and where it's going.  I need to have a better grasp of how much money we have in different accounts and locations at any time.

Has anyone else ever done anything of this sort?
What are your methods of handling your money?

I'm hoping that over time I'll really start to get a good feel for our money, and then I'll be able to set up a more useful budget than the (barely existent ) one we have now.  I know overall how much money we have per month to spend on food, gas, etc., but it gets so confusing when we have so many different accounts and I'm buying some items with gift cards and other items come with mail-in rebates or store credit to use later and then I pay for something with a credit card and someone pays me back with cash...UGH it gets overwhelming.


(By the way, I'm SUPER grateful to my mom, who sat down with me a couple months ago and figured out our budget enough to determine if we could afford for me to only work two days.  Don't know what I would have done without her! Thanks Mom!!)

Alrighty off I go to money journal.  Anyone else want to join me?

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