It's never too late to learn how to budget or gain financial literacy. Life skills, such as money management, are often absent from school curriculums.
If you're in a lot of debt and following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, then the above printables will help you achieve your long-term and short-term financial goals. Another helpful product are these cash envelopes for people following the cash envelope system.
What Is Budgeting?
Budgeting is when you tell your money where to go. Each dollar of your paycheck is assigned a category, such as car repairs or entertainment. Another way to think about budgeting is that you're creating a spending plan.
There are a many different ways to budget and I'll go over the most common questions for people starting a budget for the first time.
Why Is Budgeting Important?
Even if you've heard of budgeting or tried and failed in the past, you may not know fully why budgeting your paycheck is beneficial. Here are a few reasons:
1. You Won't Spend Money You Don't Have
If you know how much money you have, they you know whether you can afford a purchase. This keeps you from racking up debt.
2. Keeps You Focused
Without a plan for your money, it all seems to disappear. Budgeting gives you an instant pay raise since you now aren't buying tons of small frivolous purchases without thinking.
3. Prepares You For Emergencies
Part of effective budgeting involves setting up an Emergency Fund and sinking funds for upcoming expenses. An emergency fund is typically 3-6 months of expenses put into a savings account.
The purpose is to cover your household costs should you lose your job for any reason.
4. Highlights Wasteful Spending Habits
Many people don't even realize how much wasteful spending they do. This includes impulse spending or cumulative small purchases over time.
By having set amounts of money to be used for each category every month, once you run out, you're done until next payday. If you keep finding yourself out of money before the month's over, it's a good indication that area of spending should be looked at more closely.
5. Eliminates Money Stress
If you properly budget so that you don't overspend, are able to pay off debt, and save up money, that will get rid of a significant amount of financial stress. Couples will have fewer money fights and you'll feel peace knowing you'll be taken care of in retirement.
What Is The 50/30/20 Budget Rule And How To Use It?
The 50/30/20 rule is a simplistic way of budgeting that doesn't involve numerous budget categories. To split up your after-tax pay, allocate 50% towards needs such as rent, food, and utilities, 30% goes towards wants, and 20% is for savings or paying off debt.
What Are Typical Monthly Expenses?
Monthly expense categories can vary widely between families. Each person has their own idea of what is important to them and worth spending money on.
Here are some of the most common basic categories for expenses:
- Pet Care
- Debt Repayment
- Personal Care
Look back at your expenses for the past three months to see where you've been spending. If you didn't track your money before, then keep track for the next month and spend as you normally would. This will allow you to see how much you're truly spending in certain categories instead of guessing.
Why Use Monthly Budget Worksheets?
Printable worksheets are easy-to-use templates that save you a lot of time and keep you organized. It takes out all of the guess-work and you don't have to worry about creating your own forms.
If you feel intimidated or lost about making a budget, then already made templates that walk you through the process step-by-step are a great option.
How To Use A Budgeting Planner
After you download the planner PDF file, look through it to see if you'll need all of the worksheets before printing it off. Some sheets you'll need multiple of.
Print off the sheets you need and use a hole punch so you can place them in a 3-ring binder.
One benefit of downloadable forms are once you fill up a page, you can print another so you never run out. Another benefit is that the planners are undated so you can use them year after year. In the end, this costs less than needing to buy a new planner every year.
Follow the planner's template and fill in all the relevant information. Make sure to include all your expenses. Usually, recording purchases daily by saving receipts is the easiest way.