Lauren was the most precise budget focused person I had ever met circa 2007. She kept track of her finances with an Excel spreadsheet and I could not believe it. This was completely foreign to me and I thought she was Ebenezer Scrooge, counting her coins. I would make fun of her for it when we were first dating. Why was she so worried about her budget?
My budget was tight but I usually ballparked the figure and wrote it out on a piece of paper. As long has my budget left me $250 in the account I was good. We were in our residency years at the time and had expenses but honestly, I was clueless.
I believed that focusing on budgets and finances in general was a bad way to approach life. I misinterpreted having a budget and financial education with greed and where I grew up “Greed was NOT good”. My focus was on Medicine and money was really a secondary benefit.
Lauren understood the importance of a budget, savings and paying off debt.
She had paid for her first car, received a Scholarship to College and paid for all her expenses in College and Medical School. She did not receive any financial support during this time and truly understood how to budget. Lauren did not view money as bad or good. She respected money and knew the importance of keeping a budget because she had no back up.
I was the opposite. My family was very supportive and that brought a great deal of security. I did not require financial support but knowing that support was available influenced the way I viewed my finances.
After a few years of dating, marriage, and completion of our residencies my bad habits rubbed off on Lauren and the Excel spreadsheet faded away. She continued to save but our spending habits increased with the “Doctor Lifestyle” and we lost track of our monthly expenses. We continued to max out our retirement accounts, purchased a home and that was the extent of our investing strategy…
Then life changed…. I lost my income after a severe injury and it was unclear if I would be able to practice medicine again. (See the Fall)
After this event, we set up a living trust and reevaluated our monthly expenses. Lauren and I keep separate accounts due to our student loans and mainly we were used to it. We split up the expenses and keep track of our combined expenses with an Excel Spreadsheet.
This spreadsheet is unique and allows for recording income and expenses per individual. At the bottom of the Excel spreadsheet all expenses and income are combined.
By using this Excel spreadsheet we can evaluate our individual expenses, total expenses, and combined income. Tracking our monthly income has improved our ability to save and invest more consistently.
We are focused on real estate investing, including Short-Term Rental properties and Long-Term Rental properties. We also continue to max out our retirement contributions and maintain an emergency savings fund.
Tracking monthly expenses and income is a crucial component to any business. If you are not tracking your monthly expenses then begin the process today with this free monthly calculator. (You can download a copy of the sheet here)