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If there is one thing you should be doing to manage your money and ensure you have a fabulous life, it is budgeting. Budgeting is a process by which you list out all the bills and expenses you spend on a monthly basis so you know how much money you spend each month. This allows you to easily visualize where your money goes and gives you an idea of how much you have left to put towards debt, save, or play with. Without knowing where you lie financially, you can’t plan for the life you want to live.
There are many different types of budgeting programs out there. A lot of different advice, too. Sometimes simpler is better. I developed my own budgeting program years ago to help me keep track of all my bills and see what I have left over at the end of every paycheck. It is easy to use and has served me well.
Most programs out there use a monthly approach whereas I use a weekly (or per paycheck) approach. A monthly budget never worked well for me as far as scheduling my bills and knowing when I would have extra funds to apply towards debt or something more fun like a vacation. I have always done better planning for each paycheck whether it was every two weeks or, now, weekly.
This allows me to easily account for weekly expenses like groceries and gas and also know exactly how much I will have to put towards debt or savings. It also puts me in a position to automatically put that extra into savings or towards a debt on the day I receive my paycheck rather than wait to see what is left at the end of the week. This particular budget may not be for everyone, but I am sure it will work wonderfully for a number of people out there.
Below you can download the templates I use for budgeting. It will take you an hour or two to get it set up.
In the first template, you will list every bill and miscellaneous expense you know you spend each month in order of the day you pay them. Even if it is a small amount like $9.99 for Netflix or something, enter it. Every. Single. Bill. You will need to enter the amounts as a negative number. For example:
The other template is for your paycheck planning. In this template, you will start plugging in the bills and expenses due that week. I have set these up so you can easily copy and paste from the Bills List to the Weekly Check Plan and the check plan will keep a running total of what is left. You will need to do a little setup with the Weekly Check Plan such as plugging in what your pay is each week and your initial numbers for the most normal weekly expenses like food and gas. You can also add a line for savings or other “weekly” items, if you would like. From there, you will want to copy this initial setup to other tabs and label them for each date of your paycheck. Here is an example of the Weekly Check Plan:
Once you get these initial setup done, it is super easy to go in and plan out your paychecks months in advance. I usually do 2-3 months worth. I don’t like to go too far into the future in case something changes with our pay or bills. That way I don’t have to edit too many of the ones I have already planned.
You can now see where your money is going each week and if you will have any left over to use for savings, fun things, debt, etc. For example, if I have a week where I have $100 left, then I will go ahead and plan to put that towards a credit card or savings ahead of time so when I get to that week, I already know what the plan is.
As a side note, I save up my rent/mortgage payment throughout the month. So, if I find a week where too many bills are due and I don’t have enough to cover everything, I’ll tweak my rent/mortgage savings so I am pulling more from another week and less from the week in question.
FYI…I know the colors may be kind of boring but I have found that they are the easiest on the eyes while planning.
To download the program, enter your information below. Both templates, The Bills List and the Check Plan, will be sent to you. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.