Starting my 2017 Bullet Journal

Starting my 2017 Bullet Journal

BulletJournal

I always wanted to start my own bullet journal since I came across those awesome pages designs on Pinterest. I have been saving design ideas to my Pinterest board for a while and am finally starting my own bullet journal. It’s just in time for the beginning of the New Year.

 

Supplies

Bullet Journal Supplies

Starting a bullet journal does not require anything special. It can be just as simple as a piece of paper and a pen.  I have been doing some research and the most recommended supplies are:

I have also bought:

this pen costs a little more money but does write nicely!

Pens

 

Getting started

How do you get started if you have never started a bullet journal before? I have read many great bullet journal blogs and created a Pinterest board with a collection of page ideas. To start, I wrote down everything that I wanted to track in my bullet journal. So far my bullet journal will have the following pages:

  • Table of Contents
  • Overview of the Year 2017 (12 months /page)
  • Goals
  • Planning ahead (3 months / page)
  • Birthdays
  • Monthly Overview (2 pages) x 12
  • Weekly Overview (2 pages) x 52
  • Mood Tracker
  • Run Tracker
  • Weight Tracker

I am thinking about adding a few pages that will financial information such as savings goals, income/expense overview and maybe some pages that will keep track of my social media accounts.

Bullet Journal Pages

The following are some of my pages:

This page has the overview of the Year 2017

Bullet Journal Overview

Next is the monthly overview page. I have started with January but will be adding a few more things to the page. I will be doing the same for all the other months as well.

Bullet Journal Monthly

Here is a picture my weight tracker page. I will be using this page to keep track of my weight loss. We’ll see if I can lose 40lbs by the end of 2017.

Bulllet Journal Weight

I enjoy going for a run. This page will help me keep track of all my run through out the year. I am planning on running 3x a week. A couple short runs and a longer run on the weekend would be good.

Bullet Journal Running

Well that’s it for now. I will be posting again as soon as I have a few more pages completed. You can follow me on Instagram to see my planner and bullet journal layouts @organizedandhappier or Pinterest @organizedhappy !

Best Pens for your Planner – Pen review

Best Pens for your Planner – Pen review

Best Planner pens

Review of my favorite pens for my planner

Hi guys,

today I was thinking it would be a good idea to show you some of my pens that I use for my planner. There are many different kinds of pens out there and I just want to give you a quick review of the ones that I use.

For me it is very important that the pen does not bleed through. When I get a new planner or journal, one of the first things I usually do is to make a small mark with the pen in the corner of one of the back pages. That way I can see if it is ok or not. I have done it too many times where I get all excited and start writing in my new planner and then be disappointed when I flip the page to see it bled through the page and onto the next one. Not good. Usually makes me rip out the page (if its a notebook) and start fresh….

Planner Writing

I’ll be showing you three different kinds of pens. First one will be Paper Mate Ink Joy 0.7, next Sharpie Ultra Fine Point and last Staedtler triplus roller.

I am writing on the note pages of my Erin Condren planner

Paper Mate Ink Joy 0.7

The Paper Mate Ink Joy pens are my favorite pens. The pens are gel pens and I use them daily for my planner. The writing is very smooth and they come in many great colors. They are comfortable to hold. There is some very very light shadowing on the back pages but no bleed trough.

 PaperMate InkJoy Pens

Paper Mate Ink Joy

Sharpie Ultra Fine Point

These are my second favorite pens. The Sharpie Permanent Markers, Ultra Fine Point pens however do bleed through the page as you can see in one of the pictures. They are great for writing on stickers and washi tape. Again, there are many great colors available if you prefer to color code your planner or journal. The Sharpies are felt tip pens.

Sharpie Pens

Sharpie Pens

 

Staedtler Triplus Roller

The Staedtler Triplus Roller Pens, as the name says, are roller ball pens. I am usually not a big fan of roller ball pens but these work great. I haven’t been using them much in my planner but will use them when I start my bullet journal in 2017 (stay tuned for bullet journal posts). A little downside for my with these pens is that they are a bit too skinny for to hold but that’s probably because I am used to holding wider pens.

Staedler Pens

Staedtler Pens

Below is a picture showing the backside of the page. You can see the bleed through of the Sharpie pens. The Paper Mate and Staedtler pen have minor shadowing.

Shadowing Pen

Pen Shadowing

What are your favorite pens? Let me know in the comments.

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Rainbow Weekly Planner Stickers Free Printable

rainbowweek-page-001Rainbow Weekly Planner Stickers Free Printable

Today I am sharing FREE printable planner stickers. The printable stickers will fit the Erin Condren planner. Please make sure when you print the pdf file that “actual size” is selected in the print options. It works best if you print the file on a 8.5″ x 11″ full size Sticker Paper. You will receive 1 pdf file. To download the pdf file please follow the link below.

The printable Weekly Rainbow sheet includes:

1 Weekend Banner, 7 small Flags, 4 Half Boxes, 7 Hydration Trackers, 2 Habit Trackers, 3 Full Boxes, 7 To Do Stickers, 7 Little Things Stickers, 3 Check Boxes, 7 Check Flags, 2 Big Flags, 6 Small Boxes, 7 Today Stickers, 8 Small Icon Stickers, 2 Strips that will fit along the bottom of the planner.

Download Here

You can see some of my other  Simple Washi Planner Layouts and how I decorate step by step with Washi tape only Plan with me – Simple Washi Layout

Show me your layouts and tag me on Instagram or Facebook @organizedandhappier  I am looking forward seeing your designs!

 

Meal Planning Made Easy – 5 Easy Steps

mealplanning1Meal Planning Made Easy – 5 Easy Steps

I have been keeping track of our expenses for the last few months using my printable worksheets. It is great seeing where all the money goes but also a big eye opener on how much money we are actually spending (wasting).

One of our biggest expense is food, this includes groceries and dining out. We have consistently spent about $1,300 each month. We are not a large family and knowing that other families only spend about $500 – 700 on food each month, our grocery budget needs to be at least cut in half!

I know there are certain factors that led to the high spending. My husband and I are both working full time, often stopping at the grocery store after work to pick something up for Dinner. Because we didn’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking once we got home, we usually pick up something that was already prepared or just needed to go in the oven. Oh, and don’t forget the snacks! We are eating out a lot on the weekend or before/after our son’s Hockey practice during the week.

Next month I will try to cut our grocery budget to $700. That would be about $600 dollars in savings!!! Wow!!! That is a big motivation to plan my meals ahead!

Step 1: Download printable meal plan layout

I believe the best way is to plan your meals ahead for the next week or even month if you like. This shouldn’t just include dinner but also breakfast, lunch and snacks. You can download a free printable layout here that will help you plan. I will be using it for my meal plan this week.  You can download the file here -> weekly meal plan

My meal plan starts on a Monday because I usually do my planning and grocery shopping on the Sunday before. If you would like to start your meal plan on a different day (many people start their week on a Sunday) let me know in the comments and I’ll upload another version of the file.

mealplan

Step 2: View local flyers for great savings

A good idea is to look at your local grocery flyers for items that are on sale and plan your meals around these ingredients. For example, if ground beef is on sale maybe have Spaghetti, Chili and Hamburgers that week.

Step 3: Write down meals for the week

Now it’s time to write down all your meals in the meal plan. As you write down the meals I would also write down all the ingredients for each recipe on a separate sheet and use it later as your grocery list. That way you won’t forget anything. You can download a printable copy of the shopping list here ->grocery shopping list

shoppinglist

Step 4: Keep favorite recipes

There are some recipes you might make more often than others. For these recipes I have a separate binder that I keep in my kitchen cabinets. I will post some of my favorite recipes in a separate post in the future. You can find the recipe printable file here -> recipes

 

recipe

 

Step 5: Cook ahead if you have the time

If you have extra time during the week or on the weekend, you can cook some of your meals ahead or prepare all the ingredients so when it’s time to cook you are not busy washing, cutting and mixing everything.


Another idea might be to keep a log of frequent products that you buy and prices throughout the year or just the regular price and sale price. That way you can see if the “sale price” is a good deal or not and if there have been better sales before. I have seen items that had a great big sale sign and when you looked closer it was only 2 cents off the regular price. That was for a $2 item. Many people would just see the big sign and grab two or more items because they are on sale.

On your recipe sheet you could write down the estimate price of the ingredient and calculate the estimate cost per serving. I know it seems like a lot of work but just focus on main ingredients.

Let me know if you have any other ideas

 

Simple Washi Planner Layouts – Erin Condren Planner

Simple Washi Planner Layouts – Erin Condren Planner

I have been using my Erin Condren planner for over 2 months now. I usually prepare my new layout on the weekend before the new weeks starts and fill out the fields as the week progresses.

Over the last 10 weeks I have accumulated over 125 rolls of washi tape. yikes! However, I did not purchase any additional planner stickers other than the ones that came with my planner. I am quite happy with just using washi tape for the layouts.

purple washi layout

This blog post will show some my weekly layouts. They usually look very similar but will have different colors and designs.

blue washi layout

I am thinking about trying to make my own stickers soon. It shouldn’t be to hard and I will make a post with instructions as well. The stickers will be great for kids sports schedules, bills to keep track off, pay days and TV shows for example. Something that is reoccurring. All I need to get is sticker paper and a color printer ( currently only have a black laser printer).

Sometimes there is a lot of white space left over when there is not much going on for day. I usually try to fill it with washi tape when the week is done.

flower washi layout

Using washi tape instead of store bought stickers is in my opinion a lot easier on the wallet. I was able to get most of the washi that I bought with a 40% off coupon. They come in tubes with 9+ rolls.

I like the tubes that already come with color combinations that match. It makes it easier to put together a great layout. As you can see there are various sizes of washi tape included.

washi tube

I have done a few layouts with only one kind of washi tape. There was this blue tape that I really really liked (below) but nothing else went well with it. I think it still looks great. Too many colors are sometimes too distracting.

Washi Layout plain

And another one that I had to do already for Thanksgiving. A few weeks ahead but so much fun to put together. Can’t wait to do a Christmas theme in December.

fall washi layout

You can see that I cut the tape in to flags or weekend banners. Sometimes it is a bit time consuming but worth it.

Click here for my Erin Condren Planner review and Instructions on how to create one of these layouts

 

Thank you for reading

 

Plan with me – EC neutral horizontal- Simple Washi Layout

Plan with me – EC neutral horizontal- Simple Washi Layout

I have had my Erin Condren Planner for a few weeks now and did my first weekly layout last week. It is a simple washi tape layout. I think it turned out well and I was able to track everything important that I wanted to keep track off. This spread only used Washi tape and some of the Erin Condren stickers that came with the planner. I am pretty happy with the layout and the white space.

There are many awesome “Plan with Me”s on YouTube and they just look amazing with all the different sticker kits, but I think it is not my style. I am probably gonna try it out anyways some time but there is something about covering up the planner pages with too many stickers. I enjoy using my different color pens and filling the white space the way I want to. Sometimes stickers don’t have enough space to write on, or the next week is already pre-planned but something else comes up. Do you remove sticker or cover them up with a new sticker?

This is my second week planning in my Erin Condren Planner. I have decided to take pictures for every step so you can follow along if you like the layout. There’s going to be a lot of pictures.

Plan with me – What you need

This layout uses only a few small stickers, different colors of Washi tape and Injoy Gel pens.

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This is what the blank pages in the planner look like. It is the new 2017 Erin Condren Planner in neutral style with a horizontal layout. 20160630_215200

This is the Washi tape that I will be using. It was bought at Michael’s and came together in a tube with other tape as well. The colors and patterns usually go pretty good together.

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These pens are the Inkjoy Gel Pens 0.7mm. They are great for writing on the planner pages as they do not bleed through. There will be some light shadowing on the other side of the page though. I like the way they write and the colors look nice. Since I won’t be using a lot of stickers, writing in different colors will help distinguish between different tasks or appointments.

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The other pens that I will be using are the Sharpie Ultra-Fine-Point Permanent Markers. These pens WILL bleed through the pages and are not recommended for writing directly on the planner pages. However, they are great for writing on stickers and Washi tape and come in many great colors!

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When I ordered my Planner, I also ordered these little stickers. They are great for categorizing different kinds of appointments or tasks.

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I found these tiny stickers at the dollar store. The sheets included many different designs such as flowers, hearts, stars, circles etc… Great for making the pages a little prettier 🙂

Plan with me – Step by step

Ok, now let’s get to the planning!

 

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First off, I put Washi tape along the top of the page above the days.

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Next I put the “Love” Washi tape between the last vertical fields and the lines at the bottom of the pages. This acts like a divider. Same goes for the small Washi pieces on the sidebar and for the weekend. I like to keep the weekend separate from the regular workweek because the differ from our regular schedules and routines.

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The next couple of pictures show some different design ideas you can add to your layout.

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I put some strips of Washi tape in some of the fields ….and cut Washi tape into flags. I also cut some little triangles to place into corners.

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Now here is were I am using the tiny little stickers I mentioned earlier. I used the circles and triangles because the colors went well with the other colors I used for my layout. The sections with the stickers will be used for lists or to-do’s. 20160630_224239

I added a banner for the weekend. The “flags” were also cut from Washi tape. I usually put the outer flags first, then the one in the middle and the other two in between. This will help placing them evenly. Originally I had cut out two more flags but there was not enough room.

20160630_225020

This is the final picture of my layout. It is hard to see but I also placed pink Washi tape on the two Washi pieces on the sidebar and above the weekend banner. The Washi is just pink and I will be writing “Weekend”, “To-Do” and “Meals” on them with the Sharpie makers.

I hope you like this weeks layout. The layout is pretty simple but offers a lot of functionality. It leaves room for anything you would like to keep track of without pre-determining what the fields are being used for.

Show me your designs – Tag me on IG @organizedandhappier

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Happy Planning

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Keep track of your Bills

Keep track of all your Bills can be overwhelming. Use this free printable Bill Tracker and know when bills are due.

Nowadays, a lot of companies are switching to electronic invoices instead of mailing them out. This system has a lot of benefits but could make it harder for you to keep track of upcoming bills and payment dates as you don’t receive a physical copy of the invoice. Most of the time you will receive an email notifying you when a bill is ready. You log into your online account, view the bill and maybe print it for your records.

Bill TrackerI have a lot of my monthly bills set up for auto-withdrawal. It is great because I don’t have to worry about missing a payment, but it also makes me not pay attention to due dates and amounts.

To have a better overview of all your bills, I have a created this chart which will help me see all my bills, amounts and due dates. The bill tracker is categorized in yearly, quarterly and monthly bills. Most of the bills would be due monthly. I have a few bills that are due yearly such as renewal stickers for the license plate. Here is how to fill out the chart:

  1. Enter all your bills in the right expense category (yearly, quarterly, monthly). You can just write down what kind of bill it is (e.g. phone bill, hydro bill) or go by company name.
  2. Enter each bill amount. If bill amounts vary, I would use an average amount.
  3. For the due date, enter the day the payment is due or will be withdrawn from your account. Write down  20 for the 20th of the month.
  4. Monthy bills are obviously due every month, but to know when a quarterly or yearly bill is due you can circle or highlight the specific field.
  5. When the bill is paid put an X in the field.

I have not created an extra column for it but it be good to indicate how each bill is paid. W for withdrawal, C for cheque, CC for credit card, O for online payment etc…

It’s not too hard to fill out and it gives you a nice overview of all your bills. Let me know if you have any suggestions or questions.

Download the free printable Bill Tracker here.

Erin Condren 2017 Planner Review

Erin Condren 2017 Planner Review

Update: Planner arrived – See full review below!!!ErinCondrenPlannerReview

Update: Planner has been ordered Estimated shipping date: End of June. Let’s hope I get it sooner 🙂

I ordered: 18-month, vertical, neutral color theme…

In a couple of days, I will be ordering the new Erin Condren LifePlanner for 2016 – 2017. I will post a review here with lots of pictures as soon as it arrives as well as another review a few weeks later once I got a few pages done.

Just a few days ago, I didn’t even know about this planner. I was researching planners on Pinterest, as I am trying to get back to a paper planner instead of using my phone. I came across many awesome Erin Condren Planner ideas and pretty much knew that I needed to have this one.

As it turns out the brand new 2016-2017 planner will be available in only 2 days. If you are interest in purchasing this planner you can get $10 off your order if you use this link here.

(This is a referral link – you will receive $10 off your order and I will receive a $10 credit to my account).

Before the planner

I don’t have any pictures of the planner yet that I can post but have pinned some great layouts and decorating ideas on my Pinterest Board.

Washi TapeI went to my local Michaels store today to look for some decorating items and pens for the planner and noticed that they had everything I was looking for right in the front of the entrance. This must be a popular thing right now. Some other planners that are very similar to the Erin Condren Planner were available as well but I had already made up my mind about which planner I wanted.

They had many kinds of Washi tape available and I was trying to decide which color theme I would go with. I bought the one shown in the picture above. It was hard to decide but I think I will go with different themes for different pages. The tape was a little more expensive than I thought, but then I remembered that Michaels often has a coupon for 50% off any regular priced item. With the discount the price was pretty good but I already know I’ll be spending a lot more money in the next few weeks.

So check back here soon, as I will post a full review of the planner once it arrives. In the meantime have a look at the awesome planner pages on Pinterest or if you already know you want this planner, get $10 off using my referral link.


Erin Condren 2017 Planner Review – First time user

I was just going to start this sentence with “My Erin Condren Planner finally arrived today” but instead I am going write: My Erin Condren Planner already arrived today!

ErinCondrenOrder

I ordered the planner on launch day which was June 1st and

was given an expected shipping date of June 22nd and I was ok with that since it was a personalized order and many people ordered right on launch day. To my surprise I received an email 2 days later saying my order was ready to ship. I received the planner today exactly one week later and that is with a weekend in between and international shipping. Very impressed!

My Planner

ErinCondrenPlanner

Now let’s talk about my planner. There are many different cover designs available to order and most designs can be personalized with different colors and text. I chose the design above with my initials. If it is too hard for you to decide you can order additional covers and exchange them with the current one. I might order a few extra covers with my next order.

ErinCondrenPlanner2

The planner comes in a  12-months or 18-month version. I chose to go with 18-month and a vertical layout. Other layouts are horizontal or hourly. The color theme in the picture below is neutral.

ErinCondrenPlanner3

The first part of the planner gives you an overview of the year. In this case, for the 18-month calendar, July 2016 to December 2017.

ErinCondrenPlanner4 ErinCondrenPlanner5

Next is an overview of each month, followed by weekly pages.

At the back of the planner there are lined, quad-ruled and blank pages for anything you can think of. After that, there is an overview for the next coming year. Great for planning ahead!

ErinCondrenPlanner6

 

Extra goodies

The last few pages of the planner include 4 sticker pages as well as a pocket for anything loose. In the pocket there was a cute perpetual calendar that let’s you keep track of dates like birthdays and holidays.

ErinCondrenPlanner7

In addition to the planner, I have ordered the two-sided dashboard. The dashboard is useful for meal-planning and goal-setting and snaps into my planner to plan my meals for the week. Some wet-erase maker, the Wellness Journal to keep track of food intake and exercise, and a few more stickers.

Next step is to start planning! Let’s see how I do as a first time planner. Please see the articles below:

Simple Washi Layout

View my Plan with Me here. Simple style with Washi Tape.

Don’t forget to use my referral link to get $10 of your first order.

 

 

 

 

How to get your kids to do chores!

Getting your kids to do chores can be a chore itself. Constant reminders won’t work and at the end you do it yourself. Yes, I am speaking from experience!

As mentioned in previous posts, I want to get my life a little more organized and have more time to spend on fun things with the family without worrying too much about what still needs to be done at home.

Our son is 9 years old now and he never had to do any chores. He has been asking about getting his own bank account and allowance, which is great because it will safe us a lot of money!

Without having his own money, he does not have a sense of how much money something actually costs. A lot of times he is like: “Can I have this toy? It’s ONLY $50! You don’t have to spend your money you can just use the card”. Yeah, right!

So actually, giving him his allowance will save us a lot of money. I think $5 a week is a fair amount which will add up to $20 or $25 a month depending on how many weeks the month has.

Chore Chart

He can choose whatever he wants to do with that money, but has to know once it’s gone, it’s gone and he needs to save up for bigger items.

So how do you get your kids to do chores? I suggest to combine the allowance with the chores. My mom did that for me and my three siblings.

We had to do mandatory chores that would give us our full allowance at the end of the week and she would have extra chores available that would give us additional money.

Some of us were eager to do all the chores plus the extra chores earning a good amount of money and some of us could care less if they received and allowance or not. Eventually my mom introduced allowance deductions if the mandatory chores were not completed. I am not saying names but some of us owed her money.

It’s all up to you if you want give the options of extra allowances or allowance deductions for not completed chores. I think it also depends on the age of the children and the need for their own money.

I have created this Chore Chart for my son and we will try it out next week. He is excited about it and we will see how it goes.

I might make some modifications to the chart if I think a different layout will work better.

Here’s how the chart works:

  1. Print one chart for each child
  2. Fill in the child’s name and the time period.
  3. On the right side fill in the weekly allowance amount e.g. $5.00
  4. Below fill in how much each extra chore is worth e.g. $0.50
  5. Now fill in the different chores you want your child to do, write the extra chores in a different color or separate them from the regular chores with a line between.
  6. Some chores do not need to be done daily. I have framed each cell for the day the chores need to be done.
  7. For each chore that the child completes tick it off with a check mark or place a fun sticker. I think the chore chart will work better if you let your child do it. They’ll be excited to see the completed chores on the chart.
  8. The “Allowance” column on the right side will let you add up the extra money or deductions.

I think to be successful with getting your kids to do chores, you should keep the age of the child in mind. If you have a young child and you are just starting, give them just a few simple chores. I would give them only one or two chores that need to be done daily and maybe one or two that are done once a week. Keep them short and simple.

I will post an update about our progress in a few weeks. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Free printable chore chart here: Chore Chart

 

How to keep track of your daily expenses

This post is about keeping track of your daily expenses and various incomes. If you want to stick to your budget or just want to know where all the money going, it is important write down EVERYTHING. Money coming in, money going out.

There are many great apps and programs that will help you manage your money. I am using a computer program but as you can see from this post, I am way behind entering all my receipts. I have good intentions but what good is it if the information is not up to date.

All I know is 5 months ago I spend more than a made. Yeah, pretty useless. The information needs to be current so you can cut your spending before you go over budget.

A good idea is to enter all your expenses at the end of each day. That way you don’t fall behind (like me) and your spending amount for each expense category is current.

I have created an income and an expense worksheet for me that I will be starting to fill out each day (I will make them available for download at the end of this post).

I am usually all for technology and pretty good with anything computers and cellphones where most of my information, appointments etc.. are stored, but lately I am finding myself to prefer writing everything down on a piece of paper. I think having a household binder is great because all family members are able to access it and get information. This will be my next project for sure.

Anyways, back to the expense worksheets. Once you have identified your expense categories (groceries, fast food, personal care, gasoline, pets, entertainment, recreation etc…) print one sheet per category. Some categories will have more expenses than others.

You can put smaller categories together on one sheet if you want. As the expenses occur, write down the amount in the right category. If you made a purchase at a store where some items are groceries and some are personal care products for example, split the amount between the categories.

Try to fill out the worksheets each day. That way the receipts don’t pile up and it will be easier to stick to your budget and expenditure tracking.

MonthlyExpenses

At the end of the month, add up all the amounts in each category and transfer the amount over to your Monthly Budget Worksheet which is available to download here.

The income worksheet works similar. Enter your paycheck amount, rental income, pension income, interest/investment income etc.. Again, add up the amounts at the end of the month and fill in your actual amount in the Monthly Budget Worksheet.

For the next month, print the expense worksheets again and start over.

 

 

You can download free copies of the worksheets here:

MonthlyIncomeWorksheet

MonthlyExpensesWorksheet

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Thank you

 

 

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