If you’re like many working Americans, the stress of managing your monthly finances can be difficult, especially if you live paycheck to paycheck. A budget calendar can help you implement the discipline you need to stick to a budget.
This article will discuss what a budget calendar is, why you need one, and finally, how to create one.
What exactly makes up a budget calendar? These simple calendars display the income you have coming in through your job and other financial sources, as well as the expenses you have going out.
Most people create a budget calendar on a weekly or monthly basis. There are also several convenient ways you can make them – you can use a desk or wall calendar or make one using a digital calendar or similar online template.
A budget calendar allows you to take a look at your incoming money and outgoing expenses from one location, broken down based on specific bills and commitments, as well as incoming money, all with specific dates attached. This is convenient in several different situations:
Additionally, your budget calendar allows you to balance all of your finances, so you know when you have extra money left over to spend. You can use this money to splurge on yourself and others, or you can deposit it into your savings account.
A budget calendar can also be useful if you have a major financial goal you’re working towards. For example, if you’re trying to save money to come up with a down payment for a house or car, a budget calendar can help you get there.
We’ve outlined how to create a budget calendar below. This method is fairly simple and easy to follow.
We’ve found that creating a budget calendar is more helpful if you do it on a month-to-month basis. This gives you a larger picture of your financial situation.
If you find yourself at your desk more often, a desk calendar will probably work better for you. Otherwise, a wall calendar should work just fine.
If you’re on a tight budget or spend more time on your computer, you can create a calendar and print it or keep it on your computer to update and save it. Several online resources provide templates and free calendars to use. Some are already created specifically for inputting your financial information.
For this step, you’ll figure up all of your incoming revenue. This means the money you have coming in via your paycheck and any additional revenue you expect throughout the month.
Sometimes money comes in that we don’t expect, and that’s okay. You can always add additional incoming revenue sources later.
When you work on commission or expect money on a certain date but aren’t sure how much, you should always estimate using the lowest possible amount. This way, you can still craft your budget around the lowest possible amount you’ll have coming in.
If you end up getting more, look at it as a bonus. Using the lowest amount allows you to stretch this number enough to pay your bills without over-drafting. If you aim too high and don’t end up receiving the amount you penciled in, you could end up overextending your budget, which can lead to financial issues later in the month.
Once you’ve listed your incoming revenue, you can start listing your mandatory bills and expenses. This includes rent payments, utility bills, phone bills, credit cards, and anything else you pay on a monthly basis.
Cable and satellite television payments should be included in this list as well. Internet, WiFi, or mobile hotspot payments are also mandatory, so pencil these in while you’re at it.
Additional spending includes things that you can add or subtract from if it’s necessary. This should include groceries, clothes, gas, and medical or vet bills.
Technically, these items are necessities, but you can upgrade or downsize these payments when you’re in a jam or have additional money. Things you need to keep your house in order are included in this category as well (light bulbs, garbage bags, cleaners, lawn care items, etc.).
Now, add up all of your incoming revenue and all of your outgoing expenses. You should always have slightly more money incoming than you have outgoing. This leaves a little breathing room.
If this isn’t the result you come up with, then you need to do one of two things – generate more incoming revenue, or cut back on spending in certain areas. Depending on the type of person you are, you may find one of these strategies easier than the other.
Don’t hold back when it comes to writing down any expenses – including even the smallest amounts. It takes this type of attention to detail, along with discipline, to get a tight grip on your budget.
However, once you accomplish this and get used to this process, you’ll be able to save for things you’ve always wanted and have a higher level of financial freedom.
If you need to cut down on spending, eliminate subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu. This can free up a significant amount of money if you have these services.