Yesterday, I put on my Instagram Stories some sheets I was using to organize my budget for August and people messaged me asking about the planner I was using. There's a lot of information here, so I figured I'd put it in a blog post and also make the sheets I use editable and printable so you can use them to get in charge of your finances, too!
Things You Need to Know Before Starting//
- We follow Dave Ramsey's zero-based budgeting and Baby Steps. (We are currently on Baby Step 2!) There's a ton of information out there so I won't waste time explaining that right now but check out the links and read up so you'll understand how the templates work!
- We use something called "sinking funds" to help us save money. A sinking fund in a short-term savings fund that you add a little bit of money into every single month. We have sinking funds for Christmas, clothing, medical, car repairs, classroom needs (teaching ain't cheap), travel, and a wedding I'm in this year.
- We are using a Debt Snowball to pay off our debt. We throw as much money as we can onto our smallest remaining balance of loan to help us pay off loans quicker. Little wins add up!
- You do not have to use these methods in order to use the printables but the printables are based on these ideas and the methods work!
The Planner //
I use the Happy Planner which I got on Amazon. I have been using this planner for years and I love it so much! I love that it is disc-bound, which means you can change the order of your planner around. I love being able to add and take away. I would also recommend getting this disc bound hole punch which will allow you to make any paper disc bound for your planner!
Budget Section //
I have a section in my planner that is 100% dedicated to organizing my finances. IMO, most people don't take their finances seriously enough. I mean, 85% of millionaires are self-made! I track my budget daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. I'm never NOT aware of what's happening in my bank account, with my bills, etc. You gotta be in the KNOW. You need to be obsessive about it- especially if you are trying to get out of debt!
1. Spending Tracker Calendar with Color Key //
The first thing I have in my budget section is a monthly calendar that I just printed out and hole punched. I downloaded this calendar from Thyme Is Honey. Each day of the month, I will write ANY money I spent in that date's box-- even if it is just a dollar. EVERYTHING gets written down. It's the only way I can get a visual representation of where my money went all month. I use Cra-Z-Art thin tipped markers to color code all of my spending. I will just draw a dot that corresponds to the correct category and then write down how much I spent.
2. Monthly Budget Tracker Sheet //
The next sheet I use is my monthly budget tracker.
-At the top, I have a space to write my goals. You always need to have your goals IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE.
-I have a bubble for each day in the month and if I don't spend any money on those days, I get to fill in a bubble! It's simple but filling in those little bubbles motivates me!
-I have a spot to write down any additional, unplanned income (babysitting, selling on eBay, etc.) and anticipated expenses in the next few months (travel, annual bills, special events) -- it's great to have it on your radar!
-Remember those sinking funds we talked about at the beginning? Here is where you'll track them. In the printable, you can fill in your own sinking funds. You track how much you already have saved at the beginning of the month and then, after you add to them this month, you write how much you end with!
-Last is a bill tracker. I fill in my monthly bills (rent, electric, phone, Internet, student loans, gym, insurance, etc.) Then, write your dates due for each (avoid those late fees, people!) and how much the bill is. I like to highlight the bill when I have paid it!
3. Budget Planner Sheet
This is where the magic happens, people! THIS IS HOW YOU ARE GOING TO SAVE MONEY! KNOW WHERE EVERY PENNY OF YOUR PAYCHECK GOES, PEOPLE!
-Before the month even starts, sit down and write how much money you are EXPECTING to come in. Total it up. This total is what you are working with for the rest of the planner. As you get paid, you'll add your income you make to the "Actual Income" section.
-Now, you're going to move over to the Bills section. These are things you OWE people and you always need to pay these first (duh!) I have left spaces for you to fill in your own bills but ours are rent, electric, phones, Internet, car insurance, student loans, gym membership, our monthly donation to our sponsor child, Spotify, HP Instant Ink Program (they send you printer ink before you run out and OMG, it is SO worth it!), Microsoft monthly subscription for Word, Powerpoint, etc., and Apple for extra iCloud storage. You need to write the expected amount for your bills... and then at the end of the month, you'll total up how much it actually was. (Some bills of ours change like electric and phone, etc.)
-Now, take your EXPECTED INCOME and SUBTRACT YOUR EXPECTED BILLS = WHAT YOU HAVE LEFT TO SPEND. Take that new total and figure out what you want to spend this month. Remember, the less you spend, the more you have to save or throw onto your debt. I have given you one and half columns to budget your spending. The left column is for your categories.
My categories are groceries, gas, giving (always do these three first! They are the most important!), savings (this is money I tuck into my emergency fund to build it up slowly!), allowance (Brandon and I both get our own "fun $" for the month that we can do whatever we want with-- comic books for him, and Starbucks for me!) , household/toiletries, gifts, date night, blow $ (we build money in to our budget that we know we are going to blow- stuff comes up and we don't want to ruin our budget by being too strict!), hair, clothing, medical auto, Christmas, travel and classroom (again, being a teacher is the only job that you have to pay for to work...).
Total up how much you are spending. Remember, you can only spend what you have left from paying bills. Do not go over. You may have to put $0 in some categories for now, while you get your income up!
-Now, hopefully, you've budgeted so you have some money left over. Even if it's $50-- that is still something. Go to the "Leftover Money Expected" section and write whatever money you plan on having leftover. RIGHT NOW, decide where is that extra money going to go. Savings? Debt? A new pair of shoes? Write it down in the "Top Priorities" section. This will keep you motivated! At the end of the month, you'll write how much you actually had left in the "Leftover Money Actual" section.
4. Debt Repayment Plan
This sheet is a sheet that I do monthly as well. It keeps me accountable for making sure I know what's going on with my student loans. Student loan and credit card companies are in the business of TAKING YOUR MONEY. So you CANNOT be lax about this. You need to know all the facts. Last year, we paid off 2 credit cards and 1 big student loan. Now, we have 14 student loans left. When I log into my student loan account, I see one big sum that I owe, but I like to break it down into individual loans because it makes it more manageable.
I list my debts from smallest to greatest, as mentioned at the beginning. Write the name of the debt under "Item", write your original balance and your current balance. Write the minimum payment and the interest and then do your best to calculate a payoff date. This will help make your goals seem more doable.
5. Debt Free Chart
I got this chart last year from Debt Free Charts and it has been a great way to visually track our debt payoff and stay motivated. There are a ton of options on there to choose from so I suggest you check out their awesome site. Plus, it's free!
Okay, if you're still reading, YAY! That was A LOT of information but I know you can do this. You CAN take control of your finances, no matter how insane they are. Take it from the girl who was in $135,000 of debt last year. YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE. It's difficult and it can suck but it is so worth. Download the free printables below and if you use them, please let me know! I LOVE to see something I worked so hard on go to good use!
All of the quotes on the printables are from Boss Babes...they have such fun quotes for girls who are ready to get shiz done!