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#write31days – Organize Your Budget

The goal today was to organize the car, but, here in the Northeast, the weather has been nasty.  Which means, I’m taking today as one of the off days in the Organized Home in 30 Days Challenge.

Instead, I’m going to talk about how our family (tries to) organize our finances.  We have a very simple and customizable budget in an spreadsheet.

A Simple Budget



Monthly Weekly
Net Pay 1 $4,000.00 $923.08
Net Pay 2 $3,000.00 $692.31
Total $7,555.00 $1,743.46
Monthly Weekly
Mortgage 2,500.00 576.92
Auto Insurance 120.00 27.69
Auto Loan 415.00 95.77
Cell Phone 135.00 31.15
Cable 200.00 46.15
Electric 150.00 34.62
Water & Sewer 50.00 11.54
Gas for Cars 125.00 28.85
OIl 450.00 103.85
Groceries/Household Consumer 800.00 184.62
Spending 1,261.00 291.00
Credit Cards 600.00 138.46
Gym 49.00 11.31
Kids Stuff 700.00 161.54
Total 7,555.00 1,743.46

I created my budget in a Google drive spreadsheet and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to properly share that at the moment.  It looks much prettier in Google drive.  But, you get the gist.  Everything coming in and everything is going is accounted for.  And, by the way, in case your curious, I completed fabricated the numbers above.

Having a budget and knowing where your money *should* be going is awesome.  At least in theory. I created that document and thought, $291 a week in spending money (hypothetically), I’m rich!  But somehow every month we were dipping a little into our savings.  But, I have a budget.  How could this be happening.  There’s no way we were spending more than $291 a week in incidental stuff, right?  RIGHT??

Wrong.  I soon realized their is another important step in budgeting and that is accountability.

Budget Accountability

After several months of raiding our savings, I did a deep dive on our checking account.  I went through every penny we spent in a month and figured out why we weren’t sticking to the budget.  After I painstakingly went through every expenditure for a month, I realized that our online banking has a handy export tool that will send all of your data to a handy dandy spreadsheet that can be sorted very easily.  If your on-line banking doesn’t have this, consider seriously changing banks.  It’s an amazing tool.  I’m now able to see every penny we are spending and what we’re spending it on, sorted, totaled and even in a pie chart if I want.  I started to realize that we were spending (hold on to your hat) $400 a month on lunches. Just the adults!  The kids buy their lunches at school and that is another chunk of money that we weren’t accounting for.  This is the Accountability step.  Create your budget and then figure out why you’re not sticking to it so you can fix it for next month.

I’ve officially missed a day of writing for #write31days by 25 minutes.  Actually, I started writing well before midnight, so I suppose that still counts, right?

This is a post I’m going to hit publish on, but it still needs work.  If you happen to be reading this, check back for updates during the weekend!





#write31days – Organize Your Keepsakes

This one is tough for me.  I’m not really a keepsake person.  I guess I’m not very sentimental.  But, I get it.  Mementos of moments in time that are important.  I’ve kept some of my kids baby clothes.  I still have my high school gymnastics team leotard tucked in a drawer.  I have a shirt that is in tatters that I bought when I lived in Salamanca, Spain for 6 weeks.  I kept a scrap of a towel that my husband cut up for me years and years ago when I wasn’t feeling well.  He cut the towel up and wet a piece of it and microwaved it.  I can’t find it now, but I kept it for a LONG time.

There are many things in the house that remind me of people and places.  But, mostly, I find myself thinking about how to make the present moment memorable.  I don’t live too far in the future and I definitely don’t live in the past.  I just do my best to make a happy life for my family.  I don’t always succeed; I don’t even always do my best, but my my intentions are always good.

#write31days – Organize Your Books

Today’s task in the Organize Your Home in 31 Days challenge was to organize your books.  So I did:


There.  Three books organized.  I don’t have many actual books anymore; I absolutely adore reading electronically.  That was a quick post, right?
Oh, what’s that?  You’re curious about that  Map Accent Wall?  Why, I’d love to tell you all about it!  It has a great story and it cost $6!

This past summer, during our trip to Lake Winnepesaukee, we went to a yard sale at a Jewish Community Center because my son is obsessed with going shopping for second hand video games and movies.  I found this while we were there:$3 Yard Sale Tapestry

That has nothing to do with the map wall, but I still love it and my husband still hates it so it has been banished to the craft area.  I also bought this at the same yard sale:



Atlas of the World

My first reaction, obviously WALLPAPER!

Yard Sale Score Map Accent Wall $6

I went through the book and picked out pages that either meant something to us (our heritages, English, Irish, Scottish, Portuguese and Italian are all represented) or are places we’ve been to (Spain, Bermuda) or that were just pretty or interesting.  I love the page of Antarctica and the one in the middleish of North America is so cool.  I love the view from that perspective with Russia sort of above North America (yes that’s Russia in white above North America.  No, I didn’t believe it either.  Unless the map is wrong and maybe that is why it was at the yard sale after all). Once I had picked out all of the pages I wanted, I started sticking them on the wall with push pins (which were $5 of the $6 budget).  I completely just eyeballed it, no levels or planning ahead.  I just stuck one up, stepped back and looked at the wall and decided what went where next.  Actually, I think that is my super power.  Being able to eyeball for level.

When I thought I was done, I sat back and realized there was one spot (far left near the light switch) that was bugging me.  I didn’t want to put a whole page there because I felt it would throw off the balance, but it was a little empty.  I went back to the Atlas and tried to find another page to put up.  And then, I found this:

Map Wall Close Left

And that just grabbed my little heart strings and tugged right on them.  I HAD to include that in the wall.  I wondered where Michael was and if he had traveled the world.  And I thought of how neat Grandma Jan’s handwriting was.  Then I thought, why did Michael dump this at the yard sale to be sold for $1 to a DIYer who would then rip it apart and blog about it?  What an ungrateful little you-know-what!  Grandma Jan and Grandpa Bob, I hope you know that your gift found a good home and I hope you don’t mind that I have plastered the Atlas all over my walls and am now sharing it with the world via the world wide web.