Where would I be without spreadsheets? I use them for my budget, for my debt snowball, to plan how much I need in my emergency fund, and to track my escrowed savings. I’ve gotten a lot more adept at calculations in Excel. My latest addition to this is a new checking account at ING Direct.
Partly this is because I had savings there already (at 1.2% a much better rate than my credit union) and they said if I opened a checking account I’d get .25% interest and a $50 bonus if I made three signed purchases (not debit) in the first 45 days. I have two savings account, one for items I escrow and another for my emergency fund. It’s nice to have this separate from my other accounts, it makes it harder to spend the money.
My escrowed funds include money for:
- Preschool tuition/deposits ($1500 deposit!)
- Oil and wood for home heating and propane for hot water
- Real-estate taxes
- Christmas fund
- Vacation fund
- Home insurance
That’s been going pretty well. And it makes me feel a lot better. As I play it out, I always have enough to pay what’s necessary, with a little cushion.
Now that I have a checking account too, though, I am also trying to take control of some of the budget line items that are hard to plan for with precision. I hope this makes it easier.
- Household (includes minor home repairs, paint, shelves)
- Car repairs (includes inspections, maintenance)
- Medical (I get flex spending back for this, but it’s nice to have money planned to pay for it)
- Father’s insurance (I pay once every three months or so)
- Gifts (hopefully this will help with months that require more gifts — why does everyone have their birthday at the same time?)
This is experimental, but the checking account has already helped me — I paid my propane bill directly instead of having to transfer money back and forth. I’m hopeful! I wonder if I can get a spreadsheet to make me better at snowflaking?