Set up a Budget for the New Year

Set up an Annual Household Budget

Just before the start of the New Year, I always set up a projected budget for my household based on numbers from the current year. So to keep myself organized, I save all my household bills, house/car/ personal insurance policies, dental/medical receipts, children’s sports & activities, credit card statements, and anything else I have paid in cash.

Then I take all those receipts and tally up everything for the year end and divide by 12 months in a year. This gives me monthly totals. Once I have those numbers, I download this amazing spreadsheet plug in the numbers and I get an exact overview of where every dollar is coming from and is being put towards. I also get a breakdown of how much of my income is going towards

1) housing

2) transportation

3) life

4) debt and

5) savings.

If you do not have receipts saved, use your best projected values. Then moving forward into the next year, just set up either large envelopes, or a mini-file folder system to organize everything and you will get a better picture of your finances. The important thing is taking that first step and trying to setup a budget. Trust me when I used Gail’s  spreadsheet the first time a few years back, I was a little discouraged with all the detailed information I needed as I did not have all the receipts and numbers needed – however the following year I was diligent in keeping everything and it was that much easier plugging in numbers. By the end of it I was able to track every dollar and feel confident knowing where the money was spent and how much was saved.

This worksheet has been put together by the one and only Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Gail for those of you who do not know, is the guru of money and budgeting and has her own TV show! She has sound advice, published articles and books, and easy to follow interactive online  worksheets to get your finances in order, to get you out to debt, to plan a wedding and so on. Be sure to check her site out and get a better picture of where your money is going!

Also, she has a lot of tips on various money saving topics such as how to save money on clothes, bank fees, RRSPs, and the list goes on. Her site is definitely a one-stop shop and one of my favorite sites to visit regularly.

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