This is a sunrise picture taken from my in laws window on December 26. They live on the Kamloops River.
2008 has only 3 days left. I have a personal habit of reflecting on the previous year. I journal pretty much daily so I have a pretty good record of what's happened. I always find it amazing, how much I forget and how quickly I forget it.
Also, at this time of year I plan our finances for the next year. To do this I grab my records from the year prior. This past year was our first complete year in B.C. and I kept a record of our monthly expenses on a lined page from my day timer. I know this picture isn't the greatest but it gives you an idea. I listed the regular bills that had to be paid and then entered the amount monthly. Our power and water bills only come every 2 and 3 months so this helps to figure out what it will be monthly. At the end of the year I just add up all the columns and divide by 12 and I can easily budget for 2009.
Next, I gather my periodic expenses. Things like property taxes, life insurance, house insurance, vehicle insurance and my VOIP bill which I will pay only once a year as it saves me significantly to do so.
My day timer comes with these forms, but it would be easy enough to just make yourself some. They are handy for several reasons.
1)I can see when big bills are coming up
2)I can plan to save for them monthly by dividing the yearly amount by 12.
To save yourself from having to do too much math, you can just use Rainy Day Budget. http://www.allstarcomputerco.com/rainydaybudget.html
This is a great, free tool that will figure out your budget, annually,monthly, bi-weekly and weekly. Once I have everything entered we have a family meeting(Terry and I) to be sure things are in the right amounts in the right categories. Part of this planning happened when we made a list of big expenditures coming up in the year and then we prioritized them according to the steps outlined in Uncommon Cents(see recommended reading on side bar of blog).
Having a plan helps us to stay on track.
Once a week I input our receipts into an Excel spreadsheet. If you are computer challenged like me just send me a comment to send you a copy. What I like about this sheet(thanks again Heather!)is it gives me a running tally of where I am at in each spending category. Happy Planning!!!Sue