Using a ring binder for budgeting – Part 5

Maryanne is back today with her fifth and final post for The Budgeting Project. Thank you, Maryanne, for sharing your beautiful set up!

5: How I am doing, three paydays in

Actually, it should read, “How I am doing, four paydays in, at the end of October.” And the answer is, not as perfect as I hoped!

I just realized that I had to change some of the amounts I have decided to set aside for each account, and by printing the set amount right on the envelopes, it did not leave me much room to be flexible about tweaks. I should have left the envelopes free of any amounts and due dates, and implemented changes in the tracker sheet instead.

The first major change that happened was in my University account. I found out that I could enrol only in 6 units per semester, since I am working full-time and I have freelance work and a home-based business on top of all that, so the matriculation costs for that will be smaller. But that is definitely a good turn of events, since I will have to spend less. However, it will take me a year longer to finish my degree.

Another account that I had to change was in the Electricity account. Since the days and nights are now cooler, and I don’t use the air conditioning in my home so much anymore, my electricity costs for October, November, December, and January will be much lower. Make no mistake, I am rejoicing in this. But I am pained to realize that I have foolishly printed my monthly estimated electric bill on the money envelope.

One account that needs to be adjusted as well is the Chandler account. The Yuletide season is upon us, and I am saving up for his Christmas present, and of course I definitely will need to increase the weekly amounts that I set aside for him.

Also, I was not able to put anything into my Indulgence account at all, because I have allocated the funds for my son’s Christmas. Even though I was able to save up on the lower bills due for some of the accounts, it would have been easier to rework the system if I had left the envelopes free of any markings regarding amounts and due dates.

But all these things I am realizing now stem from the fact that I have printed the amounts to be set aside right there on the envelopes, without taking into account the changing needs in my life throughout the year. Lesson learned: Do not place amounts and due dates on the envelopes, because that’s what the tracking sheet is for!

That said, when I do create the new, due-date-and-amount-free money envelopes, the system will will most likely have less glitches.

It had to take three — or four — paydays for me to realize that, plus the coming of the colder and more expensive season, but I’m glad I got the chance to work this through. Some accounts are still delinquent (like the Long-Term Savings account and the Indulgence account, whereas the Food and Groceries accounts keep shifting according to actual need. But I my Emergency Fund account is updated, my Rent, Gasoline, Cellphone, Broadband, and Trees accounts are right
on schedule. That’s good enough for me, for a system that is just one month old in my life.

Thanks to everyone for being with me on this, and to Janet Carr for hosting this Project (as well as for the wonderful, perfect personal-sized Filofax Savannah that houses my system), and to Jordan Powers for organizing my submissions. I have not exactly been an editor’s dream, but I am grateful for the patience and the opportunity.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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