Organize Your Budget With This Free Printable Budget Tracker
A new year is upon us! I don’t know about you, but I actually enjoy goal setting at the start of the new year. I don’t get too carried away with it and I set other goals for myself throughout the year, but starting the new year is liking starting with a fresh slate. It’s an opportunity to pause and reflect on the direction I’m heading and where I want to see myself by the year’s end.
One of the goals my husband and I have set is in our finances. We have been pretty good throughout our marriage about not accruing any debts, other than our house and cars. In fact, for the first 10 years we had absolutely no credit card debt! Unfortunately, our perfect streak came to an end. Life happens; money gets tight, the kids grew and became involved in activities, and honestly, sometimes we just don’t want to wait until payday to get something we see that we “have to have”. Consequently, we have accrued some money on our credit cards over the past few years and we are determined to pay it all off and be debt free once again! (except for the house and cars…I don’t really count that). 2018 is our year!
One of the things I have done in the past that really helps with our family budget is to live on a cash system. I pay all the bills online or by check, but I create a budget and use cash for everything else: groceries, toiletries, date nights, eating out, and all the other extra things we think we need. It’s amazing how much money you can save by adopting a cash only policy! When you see how little cash is left in hand, things like eating out are put on the back burner and we are forced to make smarter decisions. It’s not easy, but it’s probably the biggest money saver!
Another thing I do to keep my budget in check is keep a monthly bill organizer. I know we live in an age where everything can be set to automatically pay, but I am old school and prefer to schedule my bills each month, that way I know exactly what amount is going out. My husband gets paid once a week, so I schedule every bill to be paid on the payday before the bill is due. By doing this, I (1) ensure that all bills are paid on time and (2) have less of a chance of overdraft because I know on payday, after all the bills are deducted, exactly how much money I have left to spend for the remainder of the week.
I created a simple budget folder that helps to keep me organized. As soon as a bill comes in the mail (or, for paperless bills, when we receive a notification) we put the bill in the folder and write down the date it is due. I check off each bill as I pay it so I know when I am caught up for the month. Today, I am sharing instructions on how to make it, along with a free printable for your own bill tracker!
To start with, you will need:
- a 3 ring binder
- 6 pocket folders (without brads in them)
- printables (attached below)
- hole punch, paper cutter or scissors and glue
This is super quick and easy to do. First, print off your budget templates and trim them down by cutting around the lines. I typed in the bills I have monthly, but I left the chart blank for you to write in your own.
Next, hole punch the right side (which is the edge where it opens) of each of your folders.
Now, fold your folders the opposite way so that the pockets are on the outside. Don’t mind the mess on mine. I reuse the folders every year and peel off the previous year’s tracker, so that is residue from last year’s paper.
Glue your monthly budget onto each pocket and put the folders in your notebook. As each bill arrives, put it in the corresponding folder and write down the due date. It’s as easy that that. You are ready to start budgeting!
CLICK HERE to download printable budget template.
I’d love to hear from you: what are some ways that you are able to stick to a budget and/or stay debt free?