We all know we NEED to budget, and why we should. So ,I won’t bore you to death with the reasons. What I do know is that many times our budget had failed because our method of budgeting was failing us.
So if you need to get a grip on your budget toss out your old method and let’s get back to basics with a simple paper and pen. Here is how to get a budget binder that works!
First let’s remember every families budget is different so not everyone’s budget will be the same. Everyone’s savings needs are different and that’s ok! This will still work. Here is how to do it on the cheap!
First you need a 3 ring binder. You can use any size you already have or you can get a new one pretty cheap!
Next I suggest these plastic pocket dividers for a few reasons. They are very durable and they have a packet so you can hold receipts in them and not lose them. They will be a lot safer!
You also need a pen and calculator, a simple solar powered one should work fine.
What to Include
Next you need your budget binder papers and this is where it will be different for everyone. You need a budget area for every expense, savings and debt repayment. I suggest getting on Pinterest and searching for “budget binder printables”. There are hundred’s of them you can get for free! Start looking around and don’t be afraid to use a page or two from one set and a page or two from another one. Make it your own!
How to Organize It
The front section should be your monthly budgets, one for each month of the year. You want to record your income and a line for every bill, the amount and the it is due and the date it was paid then under your bills. Then start with expenses and the budget you have set aside for them. Things like groceries, clothes, household expenses.
On another paper behind your monthly budget, you want to have a paper to keep track of each expense and what category it came out of and what the running total for that category is.
I also like to keep a calendar here so you can mark due dates in an easy to see place.
Make sure you sit down at the very least, weekly, to balance your budget. Get a receipt for everything and put it in the folder until you can enter it.
Next you want to have a section for your debt repayment. No debt? Go you! You can skip this section! The rest of us have some debt even if it’s just a car payment or house payment. You should have a paper for each debt and include on that paper what your interest rate is and your monthly payments. I would put your papers in order of which one you are working to pay off first and 2nd and so on so you know where to put any extra money. Keep track of every payment and your monthly end of month total of debt left.
Then you need a saving section!
Saving for an emergency fund should be first, then plan for college savings, retirement, saving for a new car, a home, or any other even you are saving for. Keep a paper with the name and your goal amount on it and every time you add money (or take out money) record it. I would also keep a goal date of when you want to achieve the goal amount to keep you on track.
As other things come up you can add sheets as needed. The best thing about a binder is it’s flexible you can add to it as you need it because every month is different.
The biggest difference between a budget binder that DOES work and does NOT work is sitting down on a regular basis to add your new receipts too. This should be done weekly if you go too much long then that it will get overwhelming and that tends to lead to budget failures. If you keep up on it, once set up it won’t take you more than about 15 minutes a week!