Saturday, April 3, 2010

Money Management

It is that time in all of our lives, I know, that we tighten our financial belts. Well, if not in your household, it is for sure in mine. After another struggle to make ends meet this winter and the trials of financial burden continuing this spring, my husband and I decided to step out in our faith and be vigilant in tightening our financial expenses and to learn how to use a budget. It isn't like we've never learned how to budget, it is just a task difficult to accomplish when only one of our incomes stays the same on a monthly basis. My husband owns his own business and with the construction world in our state taking a hit, we decided there really is no better time to be better with our finances.

So, our first step today really involved sitting down and taking an honest look at our finances. We wrote down all the bills that I take care of out of our personal account and then we did the same for our business. This gave us a good idea of a couple things. First, we now have a better understanding of what we have to bring in to cover our everyday expenses. Secondly, it helped us see what areas we could maybe cut back.

Since I've been using Quickbooks for a few years for personal and business balancing, I looked back and averaged some of our expenses like food, eating out, entertainment, fuel, etc. for 2008, 2009 and then for the last three months. I used these monthly averages to figure out how much would be reasonable for us in the expenses categories. Now comes the hard part for within our budgeted means.

I started to research on the web how to really attack my finances. Thanks to Money Saving Mom's website and the 31 Days to a Better Budget she ran in March, I got a ton of ideas and some great links.

If you are interested in checking out some of the links that I find useful here they are:
Crown Money Map ~ This link is really great for a step by step process through managing your finances and working towards financial freedom, including electronic forms to fill out. Plus percentages of your income to guide spending in specific categories. Love it!
Oprah Debt Management  ~ Oprah is known for great ideas. This site has great stuff to help eliminate debt. Great forms to fill out too!

I hope this might help you in your finances. I'll continue to post my success!