The Budget Binder


Our Budget Binder!

Truthfully, I never thought I would be the kind of person who said “Hey, take a look at my BUDGET BINDER!”  Never, not in a million years.

However, focusing on debt in a positive way for us has been very freeing and liberating.  Instead of feeling shame when I think of our finances, I feel like we are getting somewhere and fighting the battle.  Instead of shame, I see hope and a future that would have never happened without these changes.

I suppose that my lack of attention to detail, and the way I allowed that to get us in to a kind of mess is why I created a debt binder.  As much as I would love to actually show you all of the individual numbers and what’s going on there, sorry, right now, it’s just a bit too personal.  However, I am going to share with you my layout and the way I keep track of everything.  It is all stored in a 3 ring binder with loose-leaf paper.

Page 1 is a Table of Contents.  All of our bills are listed in the debt snowball order- smallest to largest by debtor.  I also have account numbers on this page because multiple bills are due to the same people, but have different account numbers.  Psycho billing departments!

The next portion of pages in the notebook are each of the debts listed out individually.  I have included the debtor at the top, the account number, the telephone number (if I have it), the mailing address and the total amount of the debt.  I then draw a line and leave room to TAKE NOTES and keep a ledger of check numbers, payments made, and a running total.  I keep all of these pages paperclipped together- mostly because I am out of divider tabs and don’t see the point in paying money for 2-3 tabs.  When the debt is paid off, I fold the page down from the right corner, but leave it all in the notebook.

At the end of the notebook, I write out our monthly budgets.  I have income, weekly expenses and monthly expenses written down into 3 columns.  I copy all of the bills from month to month to the next page to keep track of it all.

Last, I have an additional large calendar that is in a spiral notebook.  One of the insurance companies we sell at the office gives these away as swag at the beginning of the year.  Ummm, I LOVE IT and get so excited when we get new ones.  I use that calendar to keep track of who gets paid when and what is due out of each check.  I also write down how much we’re going to transfer into savings and on what date.

The process is a bit tedious, I won’t fib about that, but given my lack of care in the past, I want to make sure I am as detailed as possible when it comes to record keeping.  This also forces me to triple check myself as I am paying bills to make sure I don’t miss anything!  Personally, this system works great for me and I feel like I accomplish more with this than I have in the past with computer programs.  I am also able to pick it up and carry it with me so if I am not napping in my car at lunch I can budget or make business related phone calls if I have the need.


What is your bill paying system?  Do you have any tips or tricks to make it easier?


Author: Jill Stewart

I am a 37 -year-old woman from Arkansas who is happily married to a Scottish immigrant aka “the hubby” “the hubs” or if I am calling him directly “YO YOU!” We’ve been married for 3 years and it’s been a crazy ride, and unfortunately our finances have been beat to death in the last few years. We have two dogs and a cat, no kids. The Blog- What’ll you find: Financial Information as we try to become debt free My attempts at working and trying to maintain a home to the standards I like My adventures in learning how to sew Arts and craft projects Funny tidbits from my life including living with a Scottish person, the dogs, and other oddball things that happen to me. What you won’t find: Much on children. I don’t have kids and I can’t have kids. Recipes- I don’t mind cooking, but unless it’s something really special, don’t come here looking for the weekly recipe! You won’t find it- unless you ask my husband. If you’re interested in what you see, please follow me on Facebook or sign up for emails! Most of all, leave a comment or ask a question! I am always happy to hear from you!

4 thoughts on “The Budget Binder

  1. Sounds like you found a perfect system that works for you! Congrats! 🙂

    We have all our bills (all 4. LOL) on automatic payment except our mortgage. Although this is great because we don’t have to think about paying the bills, we also are not that great at double checking and making sure there are not errors on our bill. So, it’s definitely not the best system. But we don’t have much of choice because this is how most bills are handled in the UK. It will be nice when we are back in the states and have a little bit more control. 🙂

  2. Love this system. I do everything on the computer with a program I love but to be honest I really do prefer the old pen and paper routine. There is just something I enjoy about it and I feel like it is so much easier to see and work with. My only tip is to prepare your budget and bill paying plan at the beginning of the month. It really takes the stress out of paying bills.

    • I perfer the pen and paper as well. It’s just much mroe portable and I don’t forget to enter it into the computer or an app on the phone.

      I do make the budget at the end of the prior month. For instance, my budget starting tomorrow (May 1) was actually all finished up and planned out last night. If I didn’t do it early, I would totally pay bills late!

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