Our Budget Binder

Since being married we have ALWAYS been college students. We both did our undergrad at Utah State University then Paul was accepted to UConn as a lighting design Grad student. He was able to get his tuition paid but fees and living expenses were up to us. As a new mom and in a new area with no contacts and babysitters we decided to have me stay at home.

After doing all that we could we still needed to take out some student loans. We have heard from others about what they owe, and oh my goodness! People it's OK to take out loans, when we use them as a tool to help us move forward, just remember to be smart. You WILL have to pay those back and they will be with you like a nasty cough until they are paid off.

Now that Paul has been working full time this last year and a half, it has been an eye opener. We can not just go take out $1-2K in loans anymore when we need it. This has really made me wish I had done better about our budget during school but grateful we were pretty frugal during that time too.

As we are trying to pay off debt and not go into more debt I have come to appreciate having a budget for the family and how much it can really help us. When we first moved to KY we met some friends {OK, basically I looked them up from our church and said we were moving to the area and when we were planning on being there} and they shared a website they use to track their budget. We really liked the idea behind it but it was a bit too much for us. And for some reason it kept counting the money from one of our accounts twice so the numbers were always off.

There are also some things I do better with when I can write it down and see it right in front of me. So I came up with a budget binder!!!

I remember growing up seeing my mom sitting at the kitchen table with their processed checks, bank statements, CC bills, etc and balancing their accounts. I really love math and numbers, in college I took extra math classes for fun, and so it was great to see everything balance out by the time my mom had gotten done. It made my little OCD heart happy! 

Now, I am no professional by any means, but I have put together these printable sheets to create our Budget Binder. They have been great!!!! Over the last two months we have been using this to keep track of our budget and I have made a couple of tweaks to the pages. If you have any suggestions please feel free to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.

To make your own budget binder you will need at the very least a binder and these free printables. You can also use dividers, page protectors, laminator {yes I'm a dork and love mine} with pouches, hole punch and pens {you could even do colored ones to go one step further and color code your spending to help you see where your money is going}.

Here are the pages I have available with this free printable:
Binder cover and spine slip
Year at a Glance
Perpetual Yearly Spending
Perpetual Monthly Spending
Monthly Spending
Debt Tracker
Savings Tracker

We filled in the perpetual monthly and yearly expenses then laminated the sheets. This way as I continually handle them and look at them through the year, they won't get ruined. This is also great to keep in the back cover of the binder so I can take a quick glance at it when I need to see which bills are coming up.

Now, once a weekend Paul and I sit down and look over the accounts, making sure everything adds up correctly. Using a budget has helped us a lot, mostly in being able to keep from adding to our debt while also being able to start paying it off. Yippy! One step closer to financial freedom.

There it is. A few simple sheets, a little bit of discipline and we are getting our budget in order.

Start a Yearly Savings Plan with this printable

Check out our Moving Binder

Here is my Checklist for Weathering the Storms


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  1. I completely agree that it helps you stay on track better when you actually see the numbers you are spending. (Out of sight, out of mind) I think this binder is a great method to develop a budget system and will be helpful in staying on track. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great idea. As Dave Ramsey says - money is a resource, we must tell it where to go instead of it telling us where to go. Thanks for inspiring!



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