Use this monthly budget worksheet with free printable to help save you time and money as you plan your month in advance and take control of your money. Get all our Best Personal Finance Tips Here.
Budgeting can seem like tedious work and maybe one of those 4 letter words. But I am here to tell you, it’s actually about obtaining freedom.
Monthly Budget First Step: Fix Your Mindset
Before we even get to talking about the technical parts of setting up your budget, you need to establish your budget mindset.
This meas admitting how you view money.
When you were younger you probably had dreams about what life would be like when you would become an adult. You, probably like me, dreamt of the beautiful home, bought by your spouse who literally swept you off your feet, with the white picket fence, and 2.5 children. You maybe dreamt of traveling all over the world.
Maybe you had a tough childhood. You grew up, just waiting to get out of a bad situation and wanted to be on your own and have a small apartment, a pet, a child, etc.
Whatever your background and circumstances, you are at that crossroads right now (since you are reading this) and you have a choice!
Are you going to change your life and be in control of your finances or are you going to let your money control you? You have to change something to have something change!
I bet you will never forget turning 18 and you received your first Credit Card Invitation. You were probably so excited and thought this was it, you finally had it all.
After we got married and we wanted a few nice things for the house was when I started keeping a balance on our card. It didn’t take long for the balance to rise, which is when I started understanding how the balance reflects into your credit report.
After a while, we got a raise and we thought we could buy more on the credit card and it didn’t take long for the balance to max out. I didn’t understand that once you charged more than 30% of the limit your fico score would decline.
We didn’t have podcasts or Facebook back then to gather all the information and knowledge that is available now. There is no excuse not to get educated anymore.
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How to Create An Easy Monthly Budget
This will save you time and money by planning your month in advance. Set aside some time. Don’t be in a rush when you do this. Once you create your first budget, you can do a follow up one each month in under 15 minutes by using the free monthly budget printable worksheet.
If you are a reader, let me share some of my favorite reads to help you with your money-mindset.
Simple Monthly Budget Setup
I’m going to break down how to set up your budget into really easy, simple steps. Anyone can do this!
1. Set A Timer
Our challenges start with a timer. I would suggest you don’t use your phone because you might be tempted to get distracted and your goal is to save time. I use a timer like this.
By using a timer for all your daily tasks, you get it done. I have found since I do this, I don’t go off on a tangent and forget what I was originally doing.
Timers keep you on track from wasting valuable time, especially if you are a work at home parent. I use them for everything.
2. Categorize Last Month’s Expenses
For your first month and time doing a Budget, I suggest you get your bank statement for last month out. Then a few highlighters and start categorizing your statement into the categories on your budget sheet.
I have created this printable for you so you can always have it at glance, although I am also going to suggest a program for you to use on your computer and phone. It is called Everydollar.com It is free. Yahoo!
But if you prefer to use just the printable that is fine for our pen and paper people.
Plus you can hang it on the fridge or keep in a binder. I like to keep ours in my planner, so I always have it with me.
3. Budget Next Month’s Expenses
Once you have all your categories highlighted on your bank statements and add them up so you begin to create a monthly budget and can plug them into your free budget printable. Here are the steps you take, in this order.
Plan Out Income
Start with your income. This is all you have and all you can spend during the month. You can’t spend more than you have and be successful. This goes into the top on Every dollar and the bottom of the budget printable.
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail!Benjamin Franklin
Budget Charitable Giving
Once you put in your income, I suggest you put in your tithe or charity.
Plan For Savings
Next is savings. You should have or be striving to have $1000.00 set aside for emergencies.
Housing, Transportation, Utilities, Food
Your top 4 categories after tithe and savings, are Housing, transportation, utilities, and food. All the rest are things that are not priorities. They may be things you think you need but you will need to increase your income to pay for them.
4. Allocate All Your Income
Continue to go through the list, but you should use all your income to the penny. Your goal is to end up at zero. This way you enter an amount into each category that you need. You can cross out the others on the budget sheet or delete them from Everydollar.com
How Do I Categorize my Budget?
This is the part that stumps a lot of people. Categories should not be confusing, they should reflect what you currently spend money and and fit into you current life.
Here are super-easy steps for categorizing your budget.
1. Print The Free Budget Worksheet
Start with printing off this printable and having your bank statements. You need the worksheet to help guide you through the process and the bank statements will show you what you currently spend money on.
2. Add Up The Categories
Next, Take your first 6 categories and add them up and enter them individually and then total.
Add up the remaining categories and enter them.
3. Adjust Expenses and Increase Savings
Once you enter them, you will have to adjust where you are going to stop spending and start saving. Most likely you will not be able to Zero it out on your first go around. I don’t want you to spend more than 20 or 30 minutes on this if you can’t adjust some lines.
If you have never done a budget you might be surprised at how much money you spend on some categories like food, incidentals like lattes and credit cards.
4. Keep Charity and Savings Top Priority
Many people just skip the tithe and savings categories to make the budget work, but those are your top priorities. These categories will be how you earn wealth in the future. Remember it took me 5 years to pay off my debt. I could have done it in 3 had I been more focused.
It really isn’t that long to get out of debt and into wealth. Find an accountability partner or a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Class to join to help. You can look online to find one.
Where do I add my debt in the budget?
Once you are done, you can duplicate this every month, with the exception of items that change.
For example, this month I know I am going to the dentist. So I need to adjust some of my categories to be able to pay my bill. It will either be my dining out extras or my clothing budget or even groceries. Your debt goes into the last box.
If you have any questions about how to use the monthly budget planner printable leave them in the comments.
Once you have all your categories filled out and used all your money to zero out your budget, you are ready for some of the baby steps in Dave Ramseys Book Total Money Makeover. The first is Baby Step 1 and it is $1000.00 set aside for emergencies. You can use the monthly savings printable to get to your goal. Read about the Emergency Fund here.
This is not for clothes or a new car, or a vacation. This is what is going to help you get out of debt, and living a stress-free (financially) life. This is for when your brakes go out in the car, or the home air conditioner goes out, to keep you from using your credit cards.
How to Set Up an Emergency Fund Account
Each month the savings line is building up this $1000.00. Put this money somewhere that is not so easy to get, but not hard enough that you dip into those credit cards again.
The point is if you want to make a difference in your finances you need to be accountable and motivated to pay off your debt and live within your means and then start building wealth. You can do it. We paid off $35k in credit cards in 5 years. It can even be done quicker if you get a second job to pay it down quicker.
The exciting thing is that once you reach that $1000.00 for your emergency fund, you can move to Baby Step 2 for Debt Reduction. If you don’t have the book. I will share that next time.
What if my monthly budget doesn’t work?
If you can’t get your budget to work, then I suggest getting an accountability partner or join Financial Peace University at your local church. Every budget works, it is just a matter of if you are willing to make the short-term sacrifice for the long-term gain.
What I mean by this, is you have to have the mindset that your family is worth doing this for. It is a habit that you will have to develop.
SAVINGS TIP: I have a Christmas budget line. I put some money away every month for Christmas. That way I am not surprised or go into debt. I use the monthly savings sheet for this. You can set this up automatically to go from your bank into a savings account.
Free Printable Budget Worksheet
Don’t forget your Monthly Budget Printable. I also have another special money affirmation printable for you to work on your mindset, make sure you print it off.
If you have any questions on how to using this easy Monthly Budget Planner Printable, you can leave them in the comments.
For more money-saving articles like these:
- Teaching Kids to Save Money (My Guest Post)
- 52 Week Savings Challenge
- What to do if your drowning in debt
- Best of Personal Finance Articles
Create your budget and start crushing your debt with this free budget planner worksheet and before you know it, you will have mastered a new life-changing habit.