Budgeting is one of the key contributors to us completing a successful debt-free journey. We wouldn’t be where we are today had it not been for our detailed budget workbook. We constantly receive questions regarding our budget and how we were able to pay off debt so quickly, so we decided, “why not just share our full template?” So here goes ……
……But first some facts about our budget:
■ We use google drive to house and maintain our budget. It is the easiest way for both of us to access it at any time.
■ Our workbook is made up of approximately 22 sheets to track every month of the year and our overall financial position.
The first tab is our “know your Numbers” page. It is essentially a snapshot of where we started, where we currently stand and tracking the process towards where we are heading.
We updated the debt overview tab at the end of each month. It would automatically update, showing our total % paid off and what was remaining. We are currently using this sheet to track our mortgage, although we have not started making payments aggressively.
‘Annual Balances’ captures our total income, including our side hustle income. We started documenting in May 2018, and this data now allows us to make financial decisions based on past trends.
Sheet 2 is a visual representation of our Loan and Savings goals. I got this idea from some debt-free charts I saw online.
A debt free chart is basically a piece of paper that you colour in when you make payments / deposits to your financial goals. I considered printing some paper charts but those wouldn’t last 2 seconds in my house with 4 kids so I created my online version. These charts were used for our consumer debt and are currently being used on the mortgage and savings goals.
Here is my spin on the debt-free chart
We enter the balances individually for each category. It’s just easier to keep track of the total this way when the money is all over the place. We then use the total to fill in the boxes.
Initially the concept of coloring a debt free chart was quite silly to me as a big hardback adult 🤣, and to this day, my other half doesn’t get it 😒; however it works for me. I get super excited when we make a payment / deposit just to see how many boxes I get to color (fill) in.
Our emergency fund was tracked using a thermometer chart.
This is the “if ever something happens” sheet.
It shows :-
•all the accounts we have listed by institutions
•the account numbers for each
•payment amounts where applicable e.g. annual insurance premium
•our gross pay, government deductions + net pay
•the renewal / maturity / expiration dates on all accounts where applicable
•contact info e.g. insurance agent name and contact details
Everything is on this sheet right at our fingertips if we should need it urgently. The location of your will and asset information can also be kept on this list (e.g. any land or property you may own). This is a good sheet to have in general but especially for persons who live alone, are single or just discreet with their details. It can be updated and kept safely in an important box or drawer should something ever happen to you.
Here is how we track the movement in and out of our important accounts such as sinking fund, emergency fund, business account and medical fund. On each tracker we start with the balance as at the beginning of the year and input any transactions done i.e. deposits or withdrawals. The balance column shows our running ending amount.
If you look at our medical tracker example, we maintain a $500 float; therefore, you can see that we started with $500 but had some medical expenses throughout the month that left us with a balance of $425 at month end. On budget meeting day, we include the amount needed to return our medical fund to $500 and immediately transfer that amount on payday.
P.s. Our emergency fund and sinking fund are set up on a fixed automatic deduction each month. Any excess income is also deposited to the emergency fund.
In this tab we track all assets such as home, cash surrender values on our insurance, savings etc and subtracted from our liability, the mortgage to measure our net worth. Although all of the months are listed, we tend to focus more on our quarterly numbers.
The bottom half ‘Surepay’ is where we log our monthly bill payments such as light, water, phone etc. We record the receipt number, date of the transaction and the payments made.
Why do we track Surepay?
Should we misplace our surepay receipt or the details on the paper fade, we’ll still have all the information. Logging this info. has helped us in the past when a company didn’t have a record of a payment we made. We provided the receipt # and trans. date to Surepay and got the discrepancy rectified immediately. It is always good to save your receipt information for such transactions. Another way to save receipt information is to take a picture with your phone.
This is our medical tracker. Yes, we did mention our medical fund in sheet 3 but this tracking is different. The previous sheet ensures that the balance on our account matches the transactions, whilst this sheet goes more in depth.
This sheet tells us:
•who went to the doctor
•the date of the visit
•the amount spent
•when we purchase over the counter meds etc
•if we received an insurance refund
•the date of the refund
•the amount of the refund
•the reason, if we didn’t receive a refund
•the total we paid to our insurance provider for the year
•the total we spent throughout the entire year
•the total refunds received for the entire year
Why do we track this?
🤔 because I am obsessed with tracking stuff 😅, but seriously, I started tracking because it was hard keeping up with so many insurance claim forms and I wanted to make sure that we were not being shafted by the company and not getting our returns. Funny but not so funny story: at the end of 2019 I noticed we didn’t get back 4/5 claims. I said “AHA I knew they (the insurance co.) were messing with our claims!” Called the company, they said they never received them. Called HR, they claimed they didn’t have them. The culprit found them in their work folder neatly tucked away 😡. All our money down the drain (the 3 month deadline was gone).
Anyhow, it’s a good tracker and I recommend it for bigger families who have a hard time keeping up.
We have our 20 in 2020 goals on this sheet and all of the things we plan to do or upgrade in our home in the near future. This tab made it on our budget template although it isn’t necessarily money related because a majority of these to-do items cost money and need to be budgeted for. The more I see this sheet with incomplete items, the more I am motivated to keep our budget under control to be able to afford to complete these tasks.
Here we track our Side hustle income, Annual payments and the individual items in the sinking fund pool.
Side hustle income is self explanatory. We input the client, date and revenue incurred for each month. There is also the column at the bottom (in pink) which calculates our total revenue for the year.
Annual payments is where we keep all the annual expenses that tend to slip our minds and could leave us ‘money strapped’. Expenses such as renewing our pricesmart card, servicing our cars, annual dental appointments etc. This sheet is extremely helpful when factoring in all of our kids annual pop up expenses, such as African Awareness Month, sports days, end of year school tours and summer camp fees.
Some people separate their sinking funds but we opted not to due to the number of categories we have, plus, tracking 1 account works better for my brain. This table shows each sinking fund individually and the amount needed for each category. Those amounts are totalled at the bottom and then divided by 12 to show the amount we need to set aside each month. Don’t worry, these payments are spread nicely to ensure that we always have enough money when a payment is due.
We are finally at our last sheet 🥳. I attempted to do a voice over for this sheet a zillion times; it was 🚮 so a write-up would have to suffice 😬
SHEET 10 Tracks our actual monthly budget. By the end of the year our budget workbook would comprise of the 9 tabs that we previously shared plus 12 of these sheets for each month. We have broken this sheet into 5 sections : Monthly income vs expenses, location of funds, tracking of variable expenses and a snapshot of our financial position.
Monthly income is broken down into 3 categories – Dwayne’s 9-5, Kelly’s 9-5 and then ‘other income’. Other income is any money we receive outside of our regular jobs such as Dwayne’s side hustle, allowances, bonus, tax refunds etc. The totalled ‘other income’ is pulled from the break down that shows exactly where the money came from.
Expenses are any bills, payments or deductions we will incur throughout the month. The ‘projected’ column shows what we planned during our budget meeting. Throughout the month as we spend, we complete the ‘actual’ column.
Some expenses are one-off and the others are spent when needed such as gas and supermarket. We track all our variable expenses using the entire bottom of the sheet. Each time we spend money throughout the month, it is tracked under one of these sections. The totals on these columns are automatically fed into its respective expense categories.
You may also notice that some columns have a ‘projected’ column and some don’t. The ‘projected’ columns are used to tabulate and monitor the variable expenses that have structure e.g. we pay nursery fees and put gas in our vehicles every Monday, therefore the sheet would have all the Monday’s within that period. The same applies for tracking hair appointments and Khamir – the baby. It’s just easier on the brain for me.
Supermarket and pocket money are entered as we spend with a brief Description e.g. Popular Discounts supermarket (April 10th) – $250
Under the savings category you will find the following rows: regular automatic deduction for our emergency fund, additional payments which is any money left after our expenses are covered and our business account which houses the remainder after we pay ourselves a fixed salary each month.
We currently have 3 sinking funds which are our general sinking fund, medical S.F and one for household expenses. The general S.F covers all annual expenses such as insurance premiums, back to school expenses, land tax etc. Doctor visits and medication are covered by our medical fund which is always kept at a balance of $500 at the start of each month. Lastly, our house sinking fund is a temporary account to cover some house work we intend to have done shortly.
At the end of each month, we recalculate our Net worth and update the figure on the budget for that month.
…….Annual Payment Breakdown ……….
Annual payments is basically an itemization of our general sinking fund. If one of those annual payments are due in the budget month, I include it on this sheet.
This section of our budget is what I call the snapshot / summary (sample figures used)
There are a number of goals we set for our income, such as savings deposits >15% of our income, monthly expenses <70% etc. MONTH SUMMARY allows us to see if we are putting our money, where our mouth is. Our spending/budget should be aligned with our goals. For example- when we were on our debt free journey, our debt payment percentage was naturally high as this was the focus point at that time. A pie chart is also included to have a visual snapshot of expenses and savings, plus is looks cool 😏 lol
A close eye is kept on our emergency fund and mortgage balances. Every month, the new balances are updated and shown in pink. (sample numbers are used )
We use the zero base budget method where every dollar must have a purpose. The field PENDING ALLOCATION tracks the available income left as we prepare our projected expenditure. Using the example shown we have $90 left to find a home and since our focus right now is on completing our emergency fund, we would budget that money to go to our additional emergency fund category
PENDING EXPENSES tells us how much money we still need to make it through the month. If our pending expenses exceed our ‘cash in hand’ in any given month “Houston, we have a problem!”