Monthly Budget Planner: It Keeps Us Alive and Happy

pens and money on top of a monthly budget planner
Monthly Budget Planner: It Keeps Us Alive and Happy

Monthly Budget Planner: It Keeps Us Alive and Happy

Kristyn Meyer is on a journey to make herself the best human that she can be. These posts are a reflection of that. She welcomes your support via reading and through commissioned affiliate links within her posts! To stay up to date on all of her shenanigans, please subscribe to her email list! (psst…there’s a free gift involved)

My most favorite and biggest life hack to date has been to surround myself with people that are smarter than me in areas that I don’t desire to hold knowledge in. One of these areas is car maintenance. Another is plumbing. And yet another is finance.

Now don’t get me wrong, I could do it if I wanted to. But nothing in me wants to.

Thankfully I married into the hobby. You see, my husband is crazy – scratch that – he is PSYCHOTIC over our budget. If you ever wonder what the best way to prioritize debt is, or how to best organize your budget, or even what your financial situation could look like five years down the road, don’t bother paying money to a financial advisor. This husband of mine will do it all for you for free.

I wish I was joking. I mean, the man gets into our budget spreadsheet so often that Google Docs has now started reminding him: “You normally get into Budget Spreadsheet at this time”. Last Weekend I ordered groceries online, walked downstairs and he already knew about it. He got an alert to the charge on his phone, which he set up so he could instantaneously log our expenditures.

I know that some couples would not be okay with this, but I have to be honest and say that it works for us. We’ve had to iron out some issues throughout the years (Yes Jacob, we do need to budget money for clothes for the kids – they can’t go naked) but we are now in a place that works for the both of us. And our bank accounts are happy as well since they seem to be well fed these days.

How A Monthly Budget Planner Keeps Us Alive and Happy

All joking aside, I am really glad that he wants to spearhead all of this. I get so frustrated and annoyed trying to move things into budgets and plan for reducing debt. Just thinking about it makes my brain hurt. My mom said that Jacob and I were a perfect match because we complemented each other. He’s detail oriented and technical, I wear my heart on my sleeve and come up with elaborate plans. I bring big, lofty ideas to him and he brings me back to reality. lol.

One big, lofty idea I brought to him recently was to tell everyone about our financial situation and our method to the madness.

I figured – why not?

Everyone is so secretive about their finances and nobody wants to talk about the good or the bad. But we all have so much to learn from one another. Vulnerability isn’t a horrible thing, but many people shy away from it.

Can you imagine what our world would look like if more people were willing to share their vulnerabilities? I can’t, was just asking if you could. All I know is that I’m trying to share more of mine.

I figured that he would say no. And as it is, he didn’t say yes right away. But he did decide that he was fine with it, I think mostly because he’s proud of his system and wants to show it off. And he should, it’s pretty great. Complex, but great.

So here we go.

How A Monthly Budget Planner Keeps Us Alive and Happy

To begin with, everything is in Google Docs. This way we can both access it and make changes to it. The first tab is where he puts all of our outstanding debts:

Monthly Budget Planner: It Keeps Us Alive and Happy
Monthly Budget Planner: It Keeps Us Alive and Happy

Yeah, I know. Remember how I said that we were student loan poor? I wasn’t joking.

Next, he has a Master Debt Payoff, and I’ll be honest with you – I have no idea what this is. It looks like a smaller version of the screenshot above, but who really knows. All I know is what I see, and I do what he directs me to do on the sheet, so my knowledge is somewhat limited.

Also, I don’t want to ask him because he would seriously talk numbers all day long. I think he was an accountant in a past life. If I ask him one simple question I’ll have to withstand a lengthy conversation about the spreadsheet, and I just can’t handle that.

Monthly Budget Planner: It Keeps Us Alive and Happy
How Budgeting Keeps Us Sane/Insane

So this is the tab that lists out all our outstanding expenses that need to be paid still.

Remember the Kevin Hart skit where he keeps saying “you see, the way my account is set up is that all my money is in savings and I have to transfer from the savings to the checking….” If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it.

Anyway, he could be saying that about our accounts. We have like four separate savings accounts online for four different things – general savings, daycare/preschool, travel, and car. When my husband gets paid he has his paycheck distributed into something like six different accounts. Some go in each one of those savings, another amount goes into our bill pay account and another into our main checking account.

Why have two checking accounts?

Because Jacob likes to collect accounts. Also because we then know that the amount needed to cover upcoming bills is what is in the one account and the money in the main checking is for gas and anything extra.

In addition to all of that…we have set budgets for things like groceries. Every month we set aside $550. This restarts on the 1st of every month. As you can see, I’m doing a great job preserving that budget for May, since it’s now May 4th and I’ve already spent half of the budget. I know that Jacob probably starting hyperventilating when he saw that, but I don’t care. He’ll live. And so will we, because we will have nutritious food to ensure our survival. We also have a budget for personal money.

How A Monthly Budget Planner Keeps Us Alive and Happy

Twice a month we both get $125 to use for whatever we want. Right now you can see from the spreadsheet that I am in the hole because I have spent my personal money for probably the next three months to be able to buy an iPad and go to a writing conference. Jacob is a good sport about this, mainly because it’s just how life is sometimes and we need to be able to do what we want, but also because he just spent $500 in tools and is in the same situation himself.

Don’t ask me why he has different trackers on there. We have one credit card, I don’t understand his need for different columns and trackers. But once again, I don’t want to ask.

Monthly Budget Planner: It Keeps Us Alive and Happy
How Budgeting Keeps Us Sane/Insane

This is where our account balances show up in real time. Because that’s a normal thing. Can’t possibly have lag time when it comes to your account balances.

Monthly Budget Planner: It Keeps Us Alive and Happy
How Budgeting Keeps Us Sane/Insane

And here is where vulnerability is front and center. This actually puts my stomach in knots. That is so much information about my life right there.

Key Takeaways that you can see here:

  1. We are far from rich
  2. Student Loans Suck
  3. See all the way to the right? After everything is moved to different budgets, we have around $350 left each month. This is because everything goes somewhere. Jacob calls it zero-based budgeting. Everything has a home. This also means that if I need to write a $15 check to cover registration for after-school care, I need to put it on the damn spreadsheet before he farms everything out

Things to note:

  1. We like to use our Meijer card for gas because it saves 10cents per gallon. This means that the money needs to be transferred from checking to savings to cover that cost. Heaven forbid I forget to do that.
  2. We have budgets to cover car emergencies, registration, and oil changes. That way we don’t have to stress about finding the money for them.
  3. According to Jacob’s budget calculations, our savings account will triple by the end of 2019.

Once again, this method isn’t for everyone, but it has been tweaked a lot in the past few years – even more so in the past few months – and now works perfectly for us. As long as I remember to transfer the damn gas. Also, if you want to hire my husband, go right on ahead. I can then avoid the extended conversations that he tries to engage me in.


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