I did a separate budget planner last year, and I really liked having it separate from my work/personal planner so I decided to do another one for 2018. I kept some things the same, and I changed some things up based on my experience last year.
2018 Budget Planner Setup
I used a different planner for my 2018 budget planner setup. Last year I used the Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly planner, and it worked great! I did get some comments that people couldn’t afford that planner, and I had a lot of extra note pages that went unused. So this year I am using an Erin Condren Monthly planner. It is less expensive, and the layout is a bit different. So far I am liking the layout, but I am concerned that the binding won’t hold up for the entire year. Time will tell!
Also new this year is that I am almost exclusively using pen instead of stickers. This is not only cheaper, but it’s a system that anyone can use. On the monthly pages I write down our bills on the dates they are do or when I plan to pay them. As I pay these bills, I check them off. This gives me a good idea of the month at a glance, and has completely eliminated any missed or forgotten bills. Being late on bills or forgetting them altogether is not only a sign of immaturity and lack of discipline, it can negatively affect your credit!
On the note pages in the back of the planner I added monthly stickers to the first 12 pages. On these pages I am tracking our sinking funds and expenses each month. I write out each fund and then the amount I project that we will add to it that month. Then, once I fund each line, I write down the actual amount I added. On the right hand side of the page I write down our expenses for the month like food and gas. I add a check box for each week of the month and check it off as I fund it. I generally pull cash out for these expenses.
One page is dedicated to our debt snowball. I have a Silhouette Cameo, so I just printed and cut these stickers. Each circle represents $100, so as we pay off these debts I will cross of stickers. Seeing a visual representation of the debt is a little staggering and is good motivation to keep paying it off! Here is the file if you would like to use these stickers. Even if you don’t have a Silhouette machine, you can download the Here is the file for free and print them.
The rest of the pages I am going to use to track spending. I am currently taking an online budgeting class that is based on Dave Ramsey’s methods, but it is going into a little more detail. One of the homework assignments was to categorize ALL of our spending for 2017. Holy crap I am unorganized. I have been shuffling money between accounts, spending out of business accounts, etc. All this in an effort to hide my spending from my husband and even to fool myself. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I had to go through all the work of hunting down and categorizing every purchase I had made. This made me resolve to be more organized and transparent. I am closing a couple of unnecessary accounts, and I am going to track all of our spending until I feel I have a better handle on it.
To track spending I am just going to write down each transaction, then color code it according to categories. This will help me see at a glance where we are spending and if we are sticking to our budget. It is one thing to do a budget, but it’s quite another to stick to it. I often fall into the trap of wanting the numbers to look perfect on paper, so I sabotage myself by using a credit card or shuffling money around. It’s so much better just to be honest and face the issue head on.
Here’s a YouTube video I did showing a flip through of my planner:
How is your budget health? If you are looking for a way to get organized and get on track I highly recommend starting a budget planner!