How I Manage Our Finances

I have received many questions in regards to my daily financial check! So today I thought I would share my system on how I keep track of our family's spending, our cash envelopes and how that all relates to our budget. 

Developing a Budget

Before I met my Husband and whenI was managing my own finances, I developed an Excel spreadsheet to design and track my budget. After we were married and I took over the budgeting and household finances for our family, I used my previous budget as a template to create our household one (the main difference would be that I use Google Sheets instead of Excel!)

When creating our budget I entered:

  1. Incoming Revenue
    1. When paydays are, approximate amount that would be coming in each pay day
  2. Fixed Costs
    1. These are all costs that are unchanged. This is where I entered:
      1. Housing costs
      2. Transportation costs
      3. Medical and fitness 
      4. Taxes
      5. Investments and savings
      6. Utilities (electricity, water, cable, internet, phone etc.)
      7. Food (groceries, wine etc.)
      8. Subscription services (Hulu, Netflix etc.)
  3. Variable Costs
    1. These costs are more flexible and can be completely taken away if need be. They include:
      1. Personal money
      2. Household purchases
      3. Dining out
      4. Random activities

When designing your own budget, start with:

  1. Entering the amount you make each month
  2. Recurring expenses (fixed expenses)
  3. Any debt repayments that you will make monthly 
  4. Any remaining money can be broken down into variable expenses

Need some additional help or resources?

Dave Ramsey has an AMAZING app for your phone and computer called "Every Dollar". It's free to use and will walk you step by step in creating your own budget!

Gail Vaz Oxlade has an interactive budget worksheet you can use to design your budget that I've used in the past before designing my own!

Kim Galeta wrote an amazing article for An Organized Life entitled "Budgeting Basics with Kim Galeta". Check out this post for even more information on how to create and manage a budget!

Cash Envelopes

As you may (or may not) know, I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey. But about 15 years ago, before Dave, I was a huge fan of Gail Vaz Oxlade  who literally gave me all my money management tools, showed me how to successfully beat debt, and introduced me to the concept of paying cash for as much as I could in order to control spending and save. Alas, Gail is no longer blogging! However her website remains active and she has several books that I encourage you to take a look at.  

Back in the day, Gail suggested using mason jars to keep cash in for allocated spending. Dave Ramsey suggests envelopes that you can carry with you easily which makes keeping a firm hold on your finances easy. I like to keep everything with me and contained so I can't misplace an envelope, so I searched for a solution that wouldn't cost me a fortune. I discovered this small expanding file folder at Staples and love it! I created labels to match my budget and affixed them to the tabs.

At the beginning of each month I refer to my budget on how much cash I need to take out of the bank to fill each assigned section of our money envelopes. I then spend approximately 10-15 minutes counting cash and stuffing our envelopes!

On the front of my accordion folder, I have placed a small number of square white post-it notes. My envelope check is part of my daily financial check. I do an envelope check and write down the remaining amounts in each section on the post-it. Keeping a quick reference list like this on the front of my folder makes checking it quick and easy. 

Daily Financial Check

To begin with: sometimes my daily financial check happens every day, sometimes it happens every other day and sometimes it's only once a week. I'm more likely at the beginning of the month to do a daily financial check as bill payments begin to come out at this time. And, as the month progresses and the bill payments are completed, I usually switch to checking accounts 1-3 times a week. 

I have a small notebook that I use for my daily financial check that works in tandem with my budget spreadsheet on Google Sheets.

To begin my financial check I:

  1. Open my Google Drive and access my budget spreadsheet
  2. Log into our bank accounts  
  3. Get out my notebook, pen and highlighter

With everything open and before I really dive into any numbers, I turn to a new page in my notebook and write down:

The Date:


  1. Total In Account: (total balance in our chequing account) 
  2. Total owing on credit card: (we use American Express for many bills and Amazon purchases. We use this card exclusively because of the points associated with it. The balance of this card is PIF each and every month.) 
  3. Total owing for bills: (bills that have not yet been paid) 
  4. Total coming in: (how much income is coming in for the remainder of the month) 

I then turn my attention to the bank accounts. Checking the accounts for any automatic payments that have been processed and any posted or pending transactions. I'm also checking here to make sure there is no unusual activity on accounts, that all payments are for the right amount and there are no surprises. When there is a posted bill payment or scheduled transaction. I go back into my budget and enter the amount paid for that bill. 

While I have accounts open, I turn to my notebook and write in:

  1. Total in Account
  2. Total owing on credit card

I then log off of bank accounts and turn my attention back to our budget.

Adding up any bill payments that have yet to come out I write in my notebook:

  1. Total owing for bills
  2. Total coming in

After I have completed writing these down, I do some quick calculations:

  • Total in account - Total owing on credit card - Total owing for bills = Remainder
  • Remainder after bill payments + Total paychecks coming into account = Amount of money going into the next month. 

After All is Said and Done

After I have completed this process I am completely up to date on where our spending is, what bills are waiting to come out, how much cash we have in our money envelopes and, most importantly, how we're looking financially going into the next month. 

There are so many different ways to budget and truly feel like you're in control of your finances and your life. I encourage you to research, look into what will work for you and your family and spend the time understanding where your money is going. 

Yours in accounting,


I think I had to include this video....