I have had a few people reach out to me about what my budget looks like and I wanted to share what resources I use to keep my budget on track.
First, I have an excel sheet that update weekly. I update it that frequently because I get paid every Friday. I am about to accept a new role within my company which means I will be getting paid every two weeks. Set it up to work for your life.
I have two pages on my budget spreadsheet. One for my budget and one for my transactions.
On the budget page, I have the following headings:
Due Date: When the bill is due every month
Description: Rent, Loan, etc.
Monthly Payment: Total due each month
Weekly Payment: The monthly total divided by 4 since I'm paying weekly
The date of my paychecks: so I can bold the amount due when I pay it
Along the Y-axis I have the following:
As you can see from the image, I have all my bills listed by due date. At the bottom you'll notice things without dates such as savings, food, gas, and Annas wedding. These are all things that I pay towards weekly but have rolling due dates. My friend Anna is getting married in October and I have the joy of being one of her bridesmaids. I want to make sure that I can afford a dress and go on the bachelorette weekend without focusing on money. I had a close friend get married a few years ago and I was unable to attend her bachelorette due to the financial strain that I was under at the time and I felt horrible. I dont want that to happen again so I have been saving $20 per paycheck. This is an expense I know is coming so I can adequately prepare for it.
By having all of these things listed and by paying them so frequently, I am able to keep ahead of all my due dates. For example, Verizon is my cell phone provider and I pay them a certain amount weekly. Instead of paying the full total due, I pay a 4th of the bill every Friday. This may seem silly to some but I have found that I personally work better with schedules and repetition. If I pay towards all my bills on every payday, I know that I will never get behind.
On the second page of my budget worksheet, I have the transactions. This is where I go each time I pay a bill and record the exact amount I pay.
I only enter the date once for each new time I use the spreadsheet. If today was payday, I'd enter 2/18/15 in the date column, = in the description (I use just the = for "balance" instead of having to type it so many times) and my current bank balance amount in the Amount column. Then, lets say I was paying my Rent first, I'd put Rent in the description and the total amount I was paying in the amount column. On the next line, I simply put = in the description and then use the formula =(click the cell that has the total of my bank balance) - (click the cell with the total rent amount due) and when I hit enter, boom, my new available total. Seems pretty simple, because it is!
During the week if I am away from my computer, I try to keep all receipts and then enter them into the transaction page after I return home. Not only is this kinda therapeutic (knowing you're on top of your finances literally changes your perspective on life) but I can also check the receipts against my bank statement to make sure the correct amount was withdrawn. There have been a few times where this method has helped me catch some transgressions. I was able to call the restaurants and they fixed the mistakes they made. I would have never caught this otherwise.
That's it folks! Once you face your fears and commit to a budget, your whole life will change.
Even if you don't have any debt to pay off (Congrats!) having a budget will help you meet financial goals and really keep you aware of where you're spending money.
Do you have another method for budgeting? I'd love to hear a few ideas!