Are you struggling to create a monthly budget and stick to it? Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. A lot of people struggle with convoluted budgets that make them feel like they will never have enough money everything they need. This often leads to giving up before you even really try. That is why I’m sharing a new way of budgeting to help you finally get your finances on track. This system for easy monthly budgeting is simple and straight-forward.
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Easy Monthly Budgeting Breakdown
Stop trying to force yourself to use traditional budget breakdowns. There are only 4 basic components that you need in your budget: income, savings, necessary bills, and debt/optional bills. I will go more in-depth on income and savings a little later in the post. Right now, let’s break down the 2 types of bills.
These are the items that you absolutely have to have a part of basic living. These include your housing, utilities, transportation, and food. To be successful at budgeting these, write down each bill individually. Then note the due date, payment amount, and a check box for when you have paid it.
- Even if you pay some bills quarterly (once every 4 months) or bi-annually (twice a year), include the amount you need to save monthly towards those in your monthly budget. This will ensure that when the bill is due, you already have the money saved for it. This is especially important if you live paycheck to paycheck.
As much as we may not want to believe it, there are many bills that are not a necessary part of living. These include your cable, gym memberships, and internet services. I’m sure you are baulking at that internet one. You work from home, your kid has home he has to complete online, or a million other reasons it is necessary. The harsh truth is that it is convenient, not necessary. The number of places that offer free access to the internet, including the public library, means that if you had to, you could go without it.
When you are looking for areas to cut down on your expenses, this is where to look in your budget. To help you get organized, here are a few ideas for what to include in this section:
- Membership Fees – Gyms, clubs, museums
- Subscriptions – Magazines and subscription boxes
- Streaming Services – Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video
This is also the section to include any debt you are paying off. Credit cards and student loans are common bills to include. Again, track the debt, the payment date, minimum payment, and check box in this section of your budget.
Track Your Savings
You know you need a savings for emergencies but you also need it for those irregular purchases that come up throughout the year. To make sure you always have enough, make a list of all of those expenditures and when they occur. Then use that list to build savings goals into your monthly budget. Make a note each month of how much you need saved to prepare for those expenses. Each month in this printable monthly budget has a “Don’t Forget” section that includes these reminders but here are a few to get you started:
- Vehicle Maintenance (Oil Changes, Tire Rotation, New Brakes)
- School Supplies
- Kids Clothes
Plan Your Paychecks
This is the key for when you are overwhelmed by traditional budgets. Most traditional budgets simply have a section for your income that you use to budget the entire month. That doesn’t work when you are struggling to use a budget. It definitely doesn’t work when you are living paycheck to paycheck. My monthly financial planner has a section to break that down for you. It is also why you need to know when your bills are due on your monthly budget.
How to Plan Your Paychecks
Start with your pay dates and the amount of each check. Then add in the expenses that come out every paycheck. For example, half of our monthly mortgage payment is automatically paid from every check. That means it gets factored out of the total check before other bills and expenses. Once you have those amounts subtracted, budget your remaining bills based on their due dates.
- Don’t forget about the next month. Some bill due dates fall early in the month before you get paid again. Make sure that you are paying them with the last check of the previous month.
Use a Register
This is the single-most overlooked area when budgeting. I worked in banking for years and I can tell you that not using a register will cost you hundreds of dollars a month. You cannot rely on your online banking or ATM balance to know how much you truly have. Many transactions do not post immediately. Some stores are slower than others at pushing transactions through. Paying for gas at the pump only registers as a dollar for days before the full amount posts. The only way to know what you have in your account is to keep a register. That is why you will find one on every monthly sheet of this budget.
Whew! That was a lot of information to take in. It all adds up to easy monthly budgeting when you’re overwhelmed. Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. It is about finding what works for you. If traditional budgets aren’t working then it is time to try this method. You will know what is coming in and when, and you can budget to pay your bills on time. You can implement this budget on regular paper if you want but this printable budget makes it easy and lays everything out for you. Make right now when you finally get your finances under control. Don’t forget to check these Printable Colorful Candy Planner Pages for even more organizational awesomeness!