April 07, 2009

Making a Household Notebook

Over the last couple of days, I did a lot of researching and printing. I have learned quite a bit along the way about creating a Household Notebook. (By the way, there is lots of advice online about doing this. Just Google "Household Notebook" and you'll get a ton of links to blogs and websites on this topic.) I decided to begin by creating these sections (not necessarily in this order in my notebook):

  1. Finances (see below for more details on this section)
  2. Home Management
    1. Schedules
    2. Cleaning charts
    3. Planners
    4. Positive reinforcement ideas for kids
    5. Loaned/Borrowed
    6. To Do lists
    7. Year at a Glance
  3. Recipes (I'm only giving this its own section to make it quick & easy for me to find.)
  4. Homeschooling
    1. Grade chart
    2. Extra worksheets
    3. Ideas, notes
  5. School (mine--I'm in college right now)
    1. Schedules
    2. Important information
  6. Projects
    1. Crafts
    2. Ideas for projects I'd like to work on
    3. WIPs I need to finish
  7. Writing
    1. Blogs
    2. Articles
    3. Ideas
  8. Personal
    1. Inspiring quotes, scriptures
    2. Prayer requests
    3. Devotionals
    4. Answered prayers


I started with financial worksheets because this is my main focus right now. The worksheets in my notebook right now include:

  • Debt Release Plan (based on Dave Ramsey's Snowball Method) - Lists all our debts, from smallest to largest, in compliance with the snowball method. I plan on updating it with new sheets as I pay off each debt. (This worksheet alone motivated me. I was very apprehensive about sitting down and completing it. But the fear of the unknown is always worse than the truth. Once I finally finished filling out this worksheet, I was very excited and hopeful.)
  • Monthly Budget (Pear Budget is a nice alternative, if you'd rather do it online instead of on paper. They offer a free trial and the monthly expense for using their program is extremely affordable. If you are barely squeaking by, though, do your monthly budget on paper for now. I also recommend Simple Mom's Zero-Based Budgets for the Home: A Primer)
  • Savings worksheet - This worksheet is for specific things we would like to purchase. First the goal is listed, followed by the target amount needed to purchase it. Then I can set a dated goal of when I want to purchase the item, which in turn leads to a monthly savings goal. If we're serious about the purchase, this monthly savings goal goes into its own savings envelope for future purchase.
  • Rainy Day Fund - This is just a simple worksheet to keep track of our RDF. Our beginning balance goes at the top of the page, followed by dated entries of debits or credits, with a running tally. It operates very much like a checkbook register. Simple and easy.
  • Vacation Fund - This works the same as above. We have a family goal right now to go on a vacation to Disney next year once Robert's deployment is finished. I've broken down the dollar amount needed for this trip to create a monthly savings plan. This worksheet helps us keep a running total on how much we have saved towards our vacation. (More to come on this later.)
  • Entertainment Fund - This one is specifically to track our "extra" spending because I know this is where we are sinking way too much money that could be used to pay down our debt. This one will be used with the envelope system, too. If we can get this category under control, I believe it will be a huge factor in accelerating our debt-free plan.