I’ve been thinking of doing a post on finances for a long time now but never had a spare minute to create the spreadsheet templates that I wanted to attach along with it! I woke up early this morning to work on them and just finished typing my last number. I feel confident enough to speak on the subject of finances since I’ve always been great with money! It started when I was a little girl and would steal the coins from my dad’s end table in my parent’s bedroom. Yeah, I was a little thief, but soon those coins would add up to $10, $40, and then to hundreds that I would stash under my mattress! Even when I found something I really wanted to buy, I almost always found a way to talk myself out of it. No doll, clothing, board game, etc. would satisfy me the way watching my money grow did! Soon I would have enough to open my first bank account and so that’s what I did with the help of my mother of course! I never felt more grown up than I did on the day we opened that bank account.
I wish I could say that I understood the meaning of working for your money early on, but I was a tad spoiled and quite lazy. My parents never pushed the issue much so I took advantage and remained lazy. I had a few jobs while I was in high school but my work ethic was embarrassingly nonexistent. In fact, there was nothing more I hated than working. This was a problem that followed me into my early twenties. It took getting married and many arguments with my spouse to finally turn myself around. Once I did, though, I never looked back. The satisfaction I felt taking home my first paycheck from a job that I actually liked doing (and knew I busted my bum for) brought me back to that feeling when I was a little girl watching my money grow! Before long I found myself in charge of our family finances! Seemed fitting really, and not because I finally got my bum in gear and got a job I stayed at for more than a few months but, because I had grown up with such a great and financially savvy role model, my mom! What my mom didn’t teach me, I learned from my dad’s mistakes. My dad was the total opposite of my mom. Every financially bad decision you could possibly make, it seemed as though my dad was right there making them! So I guess you could say I learned a lot of what NOT to do from my dad.
The things I didn’t learn from my parents just came natural to me. Common sense played a BIG role in a lot of my financial decision making. I always did a lot of research before making any big purchases, taking out loans, applying for credit, and so forth. The BIGGEST and most IMPORTANT rule I’ve lived by, though, is NEVER SPEND MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE! Yes, I believe in using credit cards but only to establish great credit. They should never be used to pay for things you otherwise could not afford. I’m also a BIG fan of credit cards that offer benefits such as points and/or rewards. The hubby and I recently applied for an American Express card. The great thing about American Express is that you are required to pay your balance at the end of every month. Scary for some I’m sure, but for those of us that are spending with my rule above in mind, should not be afraid right?! Every month we are racking up points that can later be used towards purchases. We plan on using our points for airfare towards our next vacation in 2013. This may have been the only way we could afford to go on vacation.
Through the years, I found ways to be conservative with our money without being cheap. I found ways to save our pennies without not having any left in our pockets to spend. I found ways to buy the things we needed without putting us into debt. I even found ways to pay off old debts without starving ourselves in the meantime.
I’ve created similar spreadsheet templates (like the ones I’ve attached in this post) to help me keep our money organized. My biggest question had always been “Can we afford this”? You know BIG items like a new house, rent, or a vehicle. The first tab of this workbook will help you determine this. My next question was always “How much will we have left over at the end of the week or month”, you know, for stuff like a pair of sneakers, car tires, cell phone, a dinner out, a birthday/holiday gift for someone, etc. ? I think it’s important to know to avoid over spending! The second, third, and fourth tab of the same workbook will help you determine this. Not only that, but will keep your bills organized and paid on time!
When you open the workbook, you should see the Instructions first. If for some reason you do not, just click on the white tab labeled instructions. For those that are unfamiliar to Excel entirely, I simplified terms such as (spreadsheet, tab, cell, etc.) completely.
I’ve included some screen shots of the templates below. You can click HERE to download them and if you have any questions, you know where to find me! I hope you find them useful!
Before I leave, I’m linking up the photo below to the following photo challenges. I love the lighting in this photo! It was mid afternoon but she was in the shade so I still was able to capture the warmth of the sun.