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Budgeting does not have to suck! And it doesn’t have to be difficult either. Try these 3 easy steps to creating a budget that works for you and take control of your finances once and for all. Creating a budget has absolutely changed my life! I have never felt so free in my finances! My super simple printable budget worksheet makes it easy to create and stick to your own personalized budget!
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you my monthly budget worksheet, and how you can use it to create an easy to follow money plan.
First things first print your budget planning worksheet now by clicking HERE! You can either print directly from your internet browser or download the PDF file and print it from your computer.
Second, gather up all of your bills. Every single thing you payout at any time during any given month. Don’t forget the bills that you may pay every other month or even bi-weekly.
You may also want to grab a few supplies to help you get started. A pencil and two colored pens, markers or pencils of your choice. Also, a calculator is an invaluable tool. Always check your work because being off even a few cents can cost you big bucks in bloodsucking bank fees!
Let’s be honest, most of you who are wanting to create a budget don’t have $35 to flush down the toilet. I know I don’t! Not only that paying a fee for nothing is just plain stupid. Just don’t.
A calendar! You can pick up a calendar free from your local bank or credit union!
A binder with dividers and handy little pockets to keep all your bills and budgeting tools organized is also helpful!
Don’t Complicate Things!
Creating a budget and sticking to it is not difficult at all. I promise! Stay with me now, I know it can be intimidating. Especially if you have never actually used a budget.
I created this worksheet with simplicity in mind. It is based on what I do every month on a regular old piece of notebook paper.3 easy steps to creating a budget that works for you! Click To Tweet
Sometimes all the fancy charts, excel spreadsheets and bright colors can be confusing and even distracting. At least for me. When it comes to math, I need black and white!
Ready? Here are my 3 easy steps to creating a budget:
Let’s get this party started!
I want to start by saying this worksheet can be used for bi-weekly budgets as well as monthly budgets. If you get paid every two weeks you can make a budget for each pay period. Do whatever works for you!Whatever sprinkles your donut! Click To Tweet
1. Write it all down
In the first column of your budget worksheet, you’re going to write down all of your bills. Keep in mind that groceries, gas, and fun money aren’t actually bills. This column is strictly for BILLS. A roof over your head and things you have to pay like car insurance belong here.
These are all going to be set monetary amounts. Typically the same amount every month.
- Car Payment
- Car Insurance
- Kids Braces
- Car Registration
You get the picture. For me, this column changes almost every month. For example, this month my car registration is due as well as my bi-monthly shave club. Both of which will not come out of next month’s budget.
This is where your calendar comes in very handy! Every month I write on the calendar what bill is due on the given due date. This way I never miss a bill.
Mark off each line item as you pay it so you can see at a glance what you have to work with.
This section is probably the most difficult. It’s hard to estimate how much you might need for each line item. Especially if you have never budgeted anything in your life.
When I first started I made educated guesses. I had a rough idea of how much I spent each week for groceries and based my food budget on that rough estimate.
The definition of “budget” is an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time. In other words, an estimated amount of cash needed for each expense within a certain amount of time.
If you’re having trouble, guess an amount off the top of your head and try it out. Set your grocery budget at X amount of dollars and see how far that gets you. Make a game of it. Challenge yourself to stick to that amount.
The expenses section is mostly for needs. You NEED food, gas to get to work, household items, clothing, etc. A “fun money” budget can go here as well. Our fun money budget is used for things like eating out and anything entertainment related.
Pay Yourself First!
As you can see my husband and I get a monthly allowance. This money is for us to spend however we want! My Dad always told me when budgeting you should pay yourself first.
Come up with an allowance budget that works for you, and then work around that. Pay yourself first even if you’re trying to pay off debt! It may seem counterproductive but giving yourself a little selfish money will help you stick to your budget long term. Even if your allowance is only $10.00 you will feel more freedom in your finances.
If there is anything that can make money management easier and more enjoyable, do it!
And now is where the math comes in. Add all of your Bill and Expense line items together. This is your TOTAL expenditure. Subtract the total from your paycheck amount.
You may or may not have some leftover. If you do, congratulations you are living within your means! Take this leftover money and do something with it. I am a firm believer in budgeting every red cent!I don't recommend leaving this leftover money in your account and mindlessly swiping your debit card. Give it a name and a place! Click To Tweet
If you want to use it to pay down debt, go for it! Put it in a savings account. Make an extra car payment. Spend it on a weekend getaway. Whatever you do, just do it! If you don’t budget that leftover it’s more likely to be wasted. It will disappear and you won’t have a clue what you spent it on.
No money left over? No Problem!
It happens. It’s estimated that 4 out of 5 American workers live paycheck to paycheck. What does living paycheck to paycheck mean? It means payday hits, you pay your bills, buy your groceries and fill your gas tank with nothing left over.
Don’t fret! Most likely this problem can be fixed with some minor adjustments to your budget.
Do you really need Netflix AND Sling? Can you change your phone plan to a lower plan? Are you missing out on car insurance discounts? Could you eat out less?
Where can YOU cut costs?
Maybe you could make your own cleaning products! Americans spend an average of $42 a month on household cleaning products! What would you do with $42?! I would take my family out to eat or take them bowling. A new pair of shoes. Or a nice new leather wallet I’ve had my eye on.
I save a ton of money every month by making my own cleaning products. Essential oils make them smell amazing! ♥ Try my all-purpose disinfecting cleaner and my streak-free glass cleaner. I promise they work well, smell great and guaranteed to save you money! They look pretty too.
Take Your Lunch to Work!
Can you lower your electric bill by washing clothes and running the dishwasher during off-peak hours? (I saved $20 per month on my electric bill by doing just that!) Contact your electric company and they will tell you when off-peak hours are.
Maybe you could refinance your auto loan, use coupons or money-saving/money making apps! HERE are my top 5 apps for making and saving money! I have made over $600 in just over a year by using all five of these apps!
It may be that you are going to have to find a way to earn more money. A second job, even temporarily, could pull you out of the living paycheck to paycheck pit.
The bottom line is if you want to you can. Where there is a will there is a way! Take it from me, we have lived on one income for 17 years. The only thing that made it happen was sheer will. You have to figure out what is going to work best for you and just DO IT!
So there you have it, 3 easy steps to creating a budget that works for you!
If this post helped you in any way and you think it could help others, please share. ♥ I’d love to hear about how it helped you!
🙂 Leigh Ann