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It’s Your Money, Honey. Spend Frantically or Budget it Wisely!
Have you ever wondered how a simply printed table of numbers can make your life so much easier and disentangled? Now imagine that by just looking at that number table, you get a glimpse of all your expenses to date. Sounds interesting? It’s either making you relax right now or it’s making you cringe about everything, but something which it is doing definitely is putting you in control.
This table is called a budget calendar. It was actually the first method I used when I got started budgeting. The trick about benefiting from a budget calendar is to figure out a way to track your finances and what works the best for you. Tracking your main expenses on a calendar is a great first step.
Getting Started with Planned Finances
A calendar is essentially a table and tables are great for analyzing numbers. The great thing about a calendar is you can easily see, at a glance, which bills are due when.
Using a calendar, you can keep track of the payments, debits and credits that have already taken place or will take place in the near future. You can use a digital calendar or a paper one (like the free printable expense calendar below). Some may find it convenient to use both a digital and paper calendar.
What Should Your Budget Calendar Include?
- Income – Any date you are sure you will receive income should be indicated on the calendar. If you know the amount, you can fill it in. If your income is variable, you could put the least amount you should receive.
- Bills – Monthly fixed and variable bills should be written down as well. Writing each bill on its corresponding due date allows you to easily see what is coming up to be paid.
- Goal Tracking – You should set short-term and long-term financial goals. Making a list of all the short- and long-term financial goals will not only make the budget making easier but also helps to keep you motivated throughout the year. Are you doing a money saving challenge or no spend challenge this month? Write it in and track your progress on your calendar to stay motivated!
Decorating Your Expense Calendar
It’s OK to be plain. If you just want to write things down and move on with your day, that’s always OK but…don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit.
Fun with Stickers
My favorite thing is stickers. I use them on my planners and I use them on my bill pay calendar too! I make my own stickers at home but I’ve used stickers from the craft store as well as purchased stickers online too.
Tracking Expenses on the Calendar
I usually write down my daily spending total as well as use stickers to highlight my “no-spend” days. Sometimes I’ll use stickers I design, like these, sometimes I’ll just pickup a pack of happy face stickers from Michael’s.
The idea is to start distinguishing between the necessary expenses and the want-to-have expenses. So, when there is a need to cut down the expenses, you know which expense list to start from.
Lastly, Monitor Your Progress!
Once you are finished writing down of all of your fixed numbers on your calendar, you will be able to easily see if you’re actually following your plans to get your finances on track!
Whatever plans we make, tracking is as important as is the planning and the execution of the plan. Make a habit of updating the calendar daily and you may find that you soon come to rely on it to get a general picture of how your month is going.
A little about me: I’m a single, working mom who knows what it is like to be deep in debt. There was a time in my life where I was even caught in the vicious payday loan cycle just to stay afloat. Now, I’m debt free and saving for a home. I love educating others and want to share the ideas and strategies that allowed me to pay off debt and continue to live within my means.
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