I've always been a list maker, a chart maker, and a graph maker.
Lately, I've become a notebook keeper for my finances. I have always made budgets, tracked spending, and worked to pay off debt. But after a summer of spending (at least it seemed to be), the notebook keeper came in overdrive.
I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University about 4 years ago, and worked really hard to get an Emergency Fund saved up, paid off a good amount of debt, and even paid extra on the mortgage. Then my divorce happened and it all kind of fell apart. I managed to stay afloat for quite a while, but I began seeing my credit card debt climb. Also add in another two years worth of school in which I took out loans, and I was in a bit of hurt.
After our lease was up, Lovie and I moved back home to save money, pay off debt, and wait to see where I was able to find a job. We are so absolutely thankful that mom and dad have let us stay here this long! There are times I look back, and I don't know how we managed. Somehow we did, though that explains a bit of the credit card debt (and the fact that our lives consisted of school, work, and spending time at the apartment). My plan was to pay off my credit card debt and save for us to be able to get back out on our own once I found a job. Well, the job came 6-months ago, and we took a look at the finances. Wow, did my heart skip a beat - debt was still there, and there was not much in savings. I knew it was time to buckle down and work hard!
I started reading Dave Ramsey's books again and made a budget, but found I had a tough time getting it to stick. Then I decided to do a little search on the net for personal finance blogs. I felt like I hit the jackpot! I found many that I now read on a pretty regular basis, and have put some of their tips to work to pay down the debt. The blogs have also been quite inspirational to see how other people have gone about paying off their debt, and their journey to being debt free.
Enter from stage right - the notebook.
The notebook is split into different sections:
Inside Cover- 2013 Goals (June-December) & Total Debts
1- Debts: I have listed out each of my debts that I am working to pay off, and update it after each paycheck and bill pay session.
2- Paychecks: Since each paycheck varies, I track the amount and how much income I made each month.
3- Payments: aka - the budget for main expenses. I haven't figured in the smaller incidentals just yet since I budget at a lower rate than I am bringing in on average right now.
4- Net Worth: I've always been interested in checking this, but hadn't figured it until now.
5- Spending Track: Oh, the wonderful task of tracking my spending each month.
6- 2013 Goals: My goals for the remainder of 2013 written out and tracked to see the progress.
7- Extra Income: Extra and unplanned income. Anything including sales from my Etsy store to rebates, and other items.
While this notebook idea may not work for everybody, it has helped me to keep on track so far. And with that, my next paycheck has come in. I'm off to pay bills and pay off some debt!