Every last weekend of the month, I have a money date with myself. I sit down with my computer and spend time reviewing the month financially and planning ahead for the next month.
I also do admin, I scan all paper bills and save them and save the electronic bills. Done every month this is a quick thing (I used to avoid filing for months and then needed hours to catch up!).
It’s mostly me organising the family money affairs. Both me and my partner have our own accounts, then we have a joint account for all joint (household) bills and a joint savings account in which we save for (bi-) yearly bills and holidays, like a sinking fund. We share bills in the same ratio as our incomes contribute to the household income. We save individually and joint.
Decisions (changing providers, subscriptions, etc) are always made together and we generally talk a lot about what we are doing money wise.
In the monthly review I look at
- Expenses (private & family) – were spending plans* met? in not why?
- Bills – mobile, internet, electricity/gas – all as expected? If not, why?
- Bottom line (Income(s) – Expenses) – What is left over? What to do with it?
- Debts & credit cards – What changed? Is there a need to change payments?
- Savings & Investment accounts – what changed?
- The purchases – Did they make sense? If not why & what can be learned from it?
- Financially: What went wrong? What went great?
In the planning part I look at
- Regular expenses spending plan – how much for groceries, transport, etc
- Are there irregular payments coming up (e.g. a yearly paid insurance, MOT)
- Needs – Are there any needs that need to be addressed? I have a list for that ; )
It might take you longer when you do it for the first time, I only spend a good hour on it, I am pretty streamlined and just tick off my lists.
The effect of this is great, we know our costs and average spendings. When something changes we can locate where it’s from and act. This also helped us not to fall into the lifestyle creep trap when income went up and helped us not lose our heads when one income fell away for a while.
*I don’t like the word budget. I sounds like being deprived of something. Spending plan is essentially the same but has a more positive touch to it…