I spend a good hour or two each day staring at my spreadsheet. (I know I should probably see someone about that...) I blame being a bit of a control freak plus being self employed for my behaviour! As my income fluctuates each month, I feel like I'm constantly having to gage cash flow.
It isn't as bad as I maybe making it sound because most of the time, I have a reasonable approximation of monthly income simply based on how many days I work. The most I have been "off" has been 15% this year a couple of times which definitely creates a ripple effect throughout the rest of the year. So I go and adjust the rest of the year's numbers and modify savings goals etc.
My husband, who is salaried, takes care of all of the automatic monthly bills (utilities, insurance, taxes, food, everything that keeps everything running). I take care of the rest. How I do affects how much savings we put aside, how much prepayment on the mortgages we make each month, if we can get to go skiing or to Europe, if there are house, car, cottage, condo repairs etc. etc.
Each summer, I anxiously await the next year's day timers to come out so I can plot my holidays etc and orchestrate my working days so that my income can be as evenly spread out as possible. (ok, now I'm really embarrassed!)
I know how many working days I need to work each year to end up within a salary band that works for our financial goals. 2009 will be the 2nd year I'll be following this method. I will re-evaluate if absolutely necessary but I feel I've built in enough of a margin to make it work.
For a less "fly by the seat of your pants" approach to family finances, check out Money Minder's post!