my money commitment tracker (Erin Condren, of course)

I love to write things down and track them. I want things in their certain places. So when I decided I wanted to get serious about my finances, I wanted somewhere pretty to keep track of everything. And - big shock! - I turned to Erin Condren. I bought a notebook that I ADORE (and I realize that I should have put something more "us" and less "me" on the cover, but oh well). This is not a paid review, this is just how I use this notebook. The only perk I receive from Erin Condren is from any referrals. (Sign up here to receive $10 off your first order - and I get $10 as well. That's how I paid for this beauty, actually!)

For those EC design nerds out there (like me!) this is paisley with pool background and chocolate pattern. My name was supposed to be in the peacock font, but I think it is instagram. Either way, I like it.

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I'm not going to walk you through the notebook page by page because I intend this post to be more about how I'm using it than a review of the notebook itself. 

I included the monthly spread and I had some stickers made to document all of our bills. This was insanely helpful to me, especially considering that the vast majority of our payments out go on the 27, 28, and 1st. (Buddy is our car, by the way.) This visual helps me see how to best split bills up based on paydates instead of just paying them as they come up.

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I'm using the lined pages for notetaking and journaling. I use washi tape on the sides of the pages so I can flip to a certain book or resource without having to worry about a table of contents and page numbers and all that jazz. I have started using this technique on a lot of my notebooks and I love it. I also love that the EC notebooks have a spiral that is much larger than the pages, so it has room to grow. Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 3.47.36 PM

So far, I've read Money: A Love Story (which I talked about yesterday) and I have re-read and outlined the money week in May Cause Miracles. The next quick resource that will pop in here will be notes from the latest Lively Show where she talks money with Jeff Williams. (I've just discovered this podcast and I adore it. She has been having some website issues the last day or two, but the podcast loaded in iTunes lickety-split.)

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I then counted backwards from the back of the lined pages in the notebook and created a spread for each month. I decided to outline them as they come up, as I'm sure they won't look the same each month as our goals and plans change. But this is the spread for March. Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 3.48.14 PM

Since I filled this out, we have decided to go No-Spend March. Partially because I want to redeem myself from the epic No-Spend February failure. And partially because I really want to know our baseline.

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My absolute favorite take-away from Money: A Love Story is thinking about bills as Invoices for Blessings Already Received. So that's how I lined them up here.

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Then there's a section for necessities - gas, groceries, savings, sundries, etc. I don't know what I'm forgetting, so it is going here. Down at the bottom is MFU (Money For Us) spending. This is from before we decided on No-Spend March. However, we do have some cash that we have earmarked as usable this month (for St. Patrick's Day and the like), so it will be documented here.

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I have used Mint in the past and even written about it, I think. But I'm at the point where I want something tangible for a while. I don't anticipate always continuing this level of organization and effort. In the past, I have done a great job categorizing our spending and having pretty little pie charts and all that jazz. But right now, that feels like a distraction. I want nitty gritty. And that happens when I put the pen to the paper.

I have plans of structuring debt pay off and all kinds of fun stuff, but this is the foundation, friends. And we're gonna rock it out.


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