Friday, January 25, 2013

DIY Monthly Budget + Finances Folder

I did this a few weeks ago and haven't gotten around to sharing it :/ 
If you haven't read my LIVING ON LESS series, it's probably good to start there, and then this budget planner will make more sense!
2013 is a big year for us. We're attempting to buy a house this year. Scary thought, especially in Michigan where right now, once you buy a house you're stuck with it for a long time.
We don't want a big house, just a nice cozy little home. Preferably something cape cod or English cottage style. Something with wood floors on the inside and an exterior made for ivy. 
Anyway, it still takes money! So I'm trying to get a really good grip on our finances and every expenditure this year. And next year. The reason we want to buy a house *this* year is so that we can adopt *next* year. But I'll write more about that in a post next week.
In order to get a better idea of what's going on, I took all of my budgeting equipment and put it all together in one handy little binder. I wanted it to be pretty, and I didn't want it to cost money because that's just more cash we'd be taking away from our two big reasons to save!
Let's take a look, shall we?
I started with decorating my folder. I chose an old one we had here already. It's very thin, which is good since you don't need yours to be bulky. It also has TONS of inside pockets, which are great for storing bills. I took some pretty paper and mod podged it on. Three coats was enough. Don't forget that there are several recipes floating around, just google "DIY mod podge" if you don't have any on hand. After I got my base on, I mod podged on some more flowers and layers to make it a little more snazzy.
You can see a flower is also mod podged on to the inside of the folder. And there's a visible bill as well. I like to put unpaid bills in the front pockets and paid bills in the back.
Here are my envelopes. I use the envelope system, which I talk about in my LIVING ON LESS series. I simply used legal sized white envelopes and three hole punched them. Then I labeled them with printed out labels, but you could also directly print on to your envelope if your printer allows. Or you could label them by hand! I have envelops for rent, date night, 'la vie' expenditures, groceries, gas... and more!
Here's a little calendar I printed off from CALENDARLABS.COM. I imported it into word (you can use any program you'd like) and then added my flower graphic and changed the heading to be pink and en francais. I also added our bills to the calendar and pay days. 
This was very easy to make and really helpful. I always end up losing receipts I need to keep for taxes because I don't want to file them away in our filing cabinet. I used decorative packing tape I already had from Michael's to seal the *top* and *bottom* of a manila folder. I edged the left side (where it is three hole punched) to make it look like it matches and then also edged that right side, but ONLY the back half That way I can still stick receipts into the slot.You may want to start with the right side, once you tape everything else off it will be harder. Just open the folder and apply tape top to bottom, trimming it with scissors along the curve of the tab. You can also cut the tab off before hand if you don't want it there. Then continue to tape off the other edges. Now I can throw my receipts into that little pocket and then transfer them over to my big filing cabinet once per month. 
Let's recap the pieces so far:
1. Calendar, showing bills dues as well as pay days
2. Envelopes, labeled and ready for budgeting out cash.
3. Receipts folder for housing tax documents, etc.
You may also want...
4. A budget tracker (available right now from DAVE RAMSEY for free)
5. A bills list- I do this, you list out each bill and leave a space next to it. As you pay them, write down the date and then any confirmation number, check number, money order number... whatever... that goes with it.
That's it! Is there anything else you would add? It's so amazing to me, when you list out everything coming in and going out each month you really get a better understanding of how to appropriately use your money that month. I know that we always do better when we pay careful attention. If that's how it is in your household, too, this may be just the right thing for you!
Are you ready for the weekend? I have some major refashioning to work on. Next week we're going to have a BBC inspired sweatshirt refashion week. Even if you don't like the show that inspired the refashion OR even sweatshirts, still read the post. Each refashion will be different and there will be all sorts of tips and techniques that you could apply to *any* refashion. I'm very excited about it! I hope your weekend treats you well! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 


  1. I just signed up for Dave Ramsey's website, so I'm all about budgeting right now! I already have a home management binder, so I might add a finance section to the back. I love your folder edging, great idea :)

  2. I use Quicken religiously and pay everything online. I also have a "bill book" like your "bill list" and a page for every month and every bill listed - date due, amt, paid etc... The combination of Quicken and the bill book makes tax time so much easier.

    1. Good lord, you are also organized! Also, I'm seeing a trend where women are running the finances of the home!


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