Thursday, November 19, 2009

Attacking the Money Monster

I'm sure many of you know how it goes.
Please tell me I'm not the only one!

You get the checkbook, budget, whatever money-related stuff you have, all caught up. And then you get all distracted for a week, or a month, or several... and you realize the last time you balanced the checkbook or anything of that sort was APRIL!!!! Yikes!

We have two areas that I balance - our checkbook with the bank statements, and then our budget spreadsheet with the checkbook.

I spent several hours yesterday in the checkbook, and after another hour or so this morning I am finally caught up with that. To the penny! Yay! I was a little "grr'd" at myself when I kept finding little things here and there that I hadn't entered into the checkbook - and of course they were all debits and not credits. Of course. Now I'm working on the spreadsheet. It's going ok, I'm still finding things that I missed entering, but since I know the checkbook is correct, I can just follow it and make sure I have everything entered into the budget correctly. And hopefully it all balances together at the end.

This is one of those projects where I finally decided "enough was enough" and put EVERYTHING on hold while I get this done. Yesterday my domestic duties consisted of doing a load of laundry and putting a roast in the crockpot. Today will be similar, at least until I get this thing done.

Next week I hope to attack the Freezer Monster. At least I don't have to try and balance that.


Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Well, you know what they say, the longer you are married the more you become like each other. Well, in the money business, I have become like Andrew. I don't know if that is good or bad. He has all the banking online, including the statements. He makes sure there is money in the account to cover all the automatic withdrawals (which is basically all our bills), and I just ask for the checking account balance every so often so I know where we're at. Now, does that sound completely un-Dave Ramsey, or what? But, that's the extent of my book keeping at this stage of my life. I hope I haven't made you ripping mad!

Ann said... [Reply to comment]

I use to be in charge of our checkbook. I had a program that I logged everything into (Microsoft Money maybe?) when we first got married. I found myself sitting on the sofa breaking down receipts from places like Wal-Mart (it was one of the few places I had to shop when we didn't live in Richmond) by household, clothing, gifts, groceries, etc. Then I would get so frustrated when it wouldn't come out to the penny. I started to give myself a $5 buffer. As long as I was within $5 of the bank I felt like I was doing ok. Now honestly we do everything on-line. We pretty much just use our credit card (because we earn reward points with it) and pay it off monthly. The credit card statements also break up our spending by category (to an extent). I just check the balance on the bank account and the credit card every few days to make sure nothing out of the ordinary is on the account. I know it is not the best method, but after 8 years we have gotten a feel for each others spending patterns and an understanding of what the other person feels is a reasonable amount to spend on something. The credit card statement is also a good reference to look at when I have to submit something for reimbursement. Good luck conquering that monster!

Valerie said... [Reply to comment]

I noticed Sally mentioned Dave Ramsey! He is my hero! But I have to admit I am not good at the balancing act either since the online banking is so easy. If you have any hints let us know. We are out of debt but it still stresses me to the max.

Miriam said... [Reply to comment]

Sally & Ann - your systems would drive me nuts! But I'm glad they work for you :)

Valerie - I don't have any of the online banking stuff, guess I'm too "backwoods" for that, but I like my stuff on real paper :P My only hint is to KEEP UP WITH IT! LOL!! Mistakes are easier to find (and happen less often!) when you only have to look through 1 month instead of the whole year. Don't ask me how I know that.

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

I was exactly the same way before Paul was born, Miriam. Hmmm...let us know how it's going when George is 3 years old. But, you have a better handle on lots of things than I did before Paul was born, so you will probably keep your systems running better than I did.