A couple of years ago I posted about the kitchen mini command center I made for our Texas home. One of the things that I mentioned was my bills and finances ledger. I’ve had so many e-mails and questions about it that I decided to give it its very own post! Even though my command center has had to be modified since we moved to New York, that finances ledger has remained the same–I’ve had it for a long time.
I use this ledger almost every day. I pay the bills and handle the finances for our family, so I use it to stay organized and keep track of all of our financial information. My husband is also able to look at it whenever he wants to, and see exactly where we’re at and what’s going on–and find something quickly if I’m not at home. It’s a place where both of us have access to our information, which is really important. I use it to track our savings, bills that are paid and need to be paid, receipts, checking account balance and receipts, flex spending, tax info, and a variety of other financial information. It works really, really well for us, and I’m excited to share it with you, in case you’re looking for a way to keep all your bills and finances together.
Yes, we have smartphones these days, with an app for just about everything you an imagine. I do my banking online, pay my bills online, and utilize the ease and convenience of technology. However, we still have paper items that need to be filed and organized, and honestly, there are some things that I still prefer laid out on paper.
So, what’s in the ledger? Let’s take a look.
I have sections that include: Checking Account Info, Savings Info, Bills to be Paid, Flex Spending, Taxes for both business and personal, and one that’s For Reference.
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1. Checking Account Ledger
I write down every transaction in a plain wire notebook–debits, withdrawals, checks, deposits. I keep a running balance of our account, so I know how much we have and and should have. It takes awhile for some transactions to show up in your account if you’re checking it online, so you shouldn’t solely rely on the current balance that’s listed–in case some of those transactions haven’t cleared yet. I also track it for accuracy, and I keep every receipt until it shows correctly on my statement. I prefer using the notebook as opposed to the teeny tiny book that they send when you order checks–I can write bigger, and I can fit in a whole lot more before needing a new one! Usually I only need to trade it out once a year, which means for the five years I keep them, they’re easy to store.
Like I mentioned earlier, I keep all of my receipts until my statement shows the correct amount then I shred or burn them. I use 3-ring plastic zip pouches, and I have several of them. I can keep savings and checking receipts separate, and I also have pouches for tax receipts as well. They’re all in the same book, easy to find!
3. Flex Spending
I use the plastic dividers with pockets for all of my flex spending receipts and correspondence, and I also have a receipts pouch for smaller receipts.
4. Bills to be Paid
I have an Excel spreadsheet that I keep track of all the bills we have, when they’re paid, and how much was paid. I update it on the computer, but I keep a printout in my binder for reference. I can also print out the whole year, and have it in one glance. I have more of the pocket dividers to keep bills in that need to be paid, and invoice stubs that have been paid. I keep them until my check or payment clears my account.
This is a sample of the spreadsheet I use, and you can download your own copy at the end of the post! It’s an excel file, so you can edit to fit your own needs.
5. Savings Account Ledger
Again, I keep track of this on my computer in an Excel spreadsheet, but I keep a copy in my finance ledger. I like to have an all-in-one visual reminder of how much we’re saving each month, and the ongoing total. It really helps us to save more, and meet our goals.
I have sections for both business and personal taxes, with the same wonderful plastic pocket dividers, plus tax receipt pouches. You can have separate pouches for different expenses, so it’s easy to keep them together and organized. At the beginning of the year, as tax information and paperwork starts arriving, I keep it in my folder until it’s time to file our taxes, then it goes into our long-term paper storage.
The beauty of a finances ledger, is that you can include whatever is important to you–it an easily be customized to your financial life. I’ve used this method for many years, and love it. It’s just so nice to everything in one place–easy to find, totally organized!
I’m sharing the printables with you today, in case you’d like to use them! I have the binder cover, spine printable, both the bills and savings spreadsheets, and the receipt and tax receipt labels! For the labels, use Avery 8160. The spreadsheets are excel files, which you can edit for your own specific needs. Print the binder and spine, then trim to fit!