How we track our build expenses

Updated: Jan 17

Outside of building this house I'm not a super organized person. I've moved every 6-12 months since I left home for college and I never got my crap together.


That being said, spending as much money as it takes to build a house has terrified me into to tracking anything and everything involved.


Open a checking & savings account for the build


This might seem like overkill, but for us, it makes a huge difference. We have our primary accounts for all the cash we live off of, and the build accounts strictly for build expenses.


I keep a lump sum in the build savings, and leave the build checking account as dry as possible. When I need to use the build checking account, I move the amount needed from the savings to the checking.


Our build checking has its own set of checks and debit cards.

Debit cards on the account were important to us for things like:

-order samples online

-buy supplies quickly

-pull build cash from ATM's

So, how does that help?


When we spend money on the build, I know exactly where is came from and can easily track it with my bank. There's no guessing about which card it went on or which checking account we wrote the check from.

Documenting our spending


I've got binders full of expenses


Well, right now I have 1 binder full, but there's 3 binders waiting to be stuffed.


When we agree to a service (things like well drilling, land clearing, driveway laying...) we get a copy of whatever agreement we have with the contractor. I print it, and it goes in a clear sheet protector in my binder.


Once the service is paid for, I get a copy of the check and add it to the section for that service.


If we use the debit card for online purchases, I print the receipt and add it to a new sheet protector in the binder.


For in person purchases with the debit card, I add my physical receipt to the binder in it's own sheet protector.


At the end of each month I print the statements for our build account and stick it in front of all the expense receipts for that month.

How the binder is organized


I like to keep the binder broken up into months.

Since we bought our land in February of 2020, mine starts there.


EXAMPLE:


2/2020

This month we wrote a check for our land, so I have a copy of that check, the documentation proving it cleared, and our closing paperwork in the February tab.


3/2020

no expenses, no tab


4/2020

This month we spent $6,000.00 for land clearing. In the tab I have a copy of the instructions given to contractor, our land survey, and documentation of the cleared check.


skip to November 2020


11/2020

This month we paid our architect, engineer, and contractor. I have a copy of the invoice for their work, print out of our plans (their service), and documentation of the cleared check.


I know, its a LOT of paper, but I really like knowing that my email account isn't my only means of accessing my documentation.


NOTE: most banks only keep your statements available on their apps for 12 months, so you cant always rely on just looking it up on the app.




If this made sense to you, please let me know!

I want to provide the kind of insight you want to see.


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