Budget Box

Money on My Mind Monday: Budget Box

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Last week, I shared with you how we’re tracking our spending.  This week, I’d like to show you the new system we’re trying out for keeping our finances organized.  I’m sure you’ve heard of budget binders, and that’s exactly how we started out keeping our bills organized.  However, several years ago, the system kind of deteriorated.  For the past few years, we’ve been keeping our receipts in file folders, but these have just become so cumbersome.  As I said in my last money post, I haven’t been staying on top of budget tracking, so the receipt mess is all my fault.  I take full responsibility.  So, I started looking for better options.  Maybe we just needed a jump start back with the binder?  Maybe not.  I stumbled onto a budget box.  Aha!  That seemed like a great idea!  I took the idea and created our own budget box.  We only have a few weeks of using this new system, and it seems to be working great so far!  Here’s how I set ours up:

1.  First you need a hanging folder box.  You could also use a drawer, but I like the idea of the box because it is sitting out on a bookshelf in our office.  Every time I walk into the office, I see it, and I’m reminded of our budget.  So far, I’m staying on top of tracking our budget.  I looked around a little bit and decided on this one from Target:

Threshold Hanging Storage

Threshold Hanging Storage

Now, obviously, if it’s sitting out, you want something that is going to look nice and that won’t drive you crazy.  But, also remember that office supplies can be crazy expensive!  If you’re trying to implement a good budget system, blowing a bunch of money on supplies to get you started is probably not the best idea.  (I’ll be honest – I had to walk away from the beautiful braided hanging folder basket with the lid because it was twice the price.  It was painful, but I stuck to my guns!)

2.  Next, you need some hanging folders, some manila folders, and labels for each.  We already had some hanging folders, but I did grab a box of manila folders while I was at Target.  Again, you could spend some extra money for cute designs if you want it to look really pretty.  I chose to use the red folders we already had because 1) saving money! and 2) (more importantly, I’ll be honest) they match Munchkin’s red play table because our office also doubles as a playroom.

3.  Decide on your budget box categories.  This is where you can really customize the box to your needs.  No need to set up folders you know you won’t use, and feel free to add extras that might help better organize your paper trail.  This is currently how I have our folders set up:

Hanging Folders (in Red) then manila folders within each folder

Monthly Budget

Monthly at a Glance

Monthly Check in


12 Monthly Folders (January – December)

Paid Bills (Recurring utilities, etc.)

12 Monthly Folders (January – December)

Taxes (donation receipts and other tax-related documents)



Accounts Summary (Net Worth)

Pay Stubs

Account Statements

Folder for each bank/credit card

Gift Cards/Certificates (We are terrible about using these, so I’m hoping keeping them easily accessible will encourage us to use them more frequently!)

Coupons (Again, I’m hoping keeping them at arm’s length will help us remember to use them!)

Budget Box

Budget Box

The finished product!  What do you think?

Happy Budgeting!


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