This article introduces my budget binder printable, an organizational printable designed to help you manage your personal finances. The full PDF of the printable will be emailed to you when you signup below. This article contains affiliate links, for more information please see my disclosure policy.
Call me old fashion but I have found that I stick to a budget so much better if I write things down. After a few months of using some plain notebook paper, I got fed up and decided there had to be a less ugly, more organized way to track my budget.
I searched Pinterest for a while and found a few good budget binders out there, but non of them had all the pages I was looking for. It was time to put my creativity to the test and make a budget binder of my own.
After some trial and error I had the first draft of my sheets. I have been using the budget binder for months now and had to make a few changes to sheets to get it to the point where I want to share it with my lovely readers.
Below, I walk through each page and how to use it.
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Print a Complete Year Binder
To build an annual binder you will need to print the following number of each page:
- 1-2 Goals Sheets
- 1 Reoccurring Payments Sheet
- 12 Month at a Glance Sheets
- 12 Monthly Debt Tracker Sheets
- 24+ Expense Reporting Sheets
Any good financial plan should include a set of goals. Whether they are goals for the next 6 months or 6 years, it is always good to write them down so you can revisit and work towards them.
Each goal should have a few action steps to break it down into easier to achieve steps. For example if your goal is to save $5000 over the next three years for a down payment, an action step might be to start brown bagging your lunch and put the extra money in a savings account.
You should fill out this sheet when you first start your budget binder but revisit it often to see how you are progressing on your goals. You can make notes of your progress on the back or on your monthly summary pages.
Here is where you can keep track of all your payments. For each monthly payment fill out a line with the description, the amount, and the day of the month it occurs. I also added a column to keep track of what account an automatic payment is setup to come out of.
As you pay your bills each month, just check off that month for each bill.
You can also use this to keep track of bi-monthly, quarterly, or annual payments by simply shading in the boxes for months that you don’t have to pay that bill.
Month at a Glance
This is your main dash board for checking in and seeing how you are doing. At the beginning of each month you should go through and fill out your expected income and expenses. If you need more help with filling out your expenses check out how to make a budget and what you are forgetting in your budget
At the end of each month (and possibly throughout the month) you want to fill in what your actual income and expenses were for the month. This is super easy if you have been using your expense tracker to keep track of your spending.
I also like to keep track of the balances of all my accounts (checking, savings, 401K, Acorns, etc). You could also do this online using a service like Personal Capital or Mint. At the end of the month go through and fill in the balance of each of your accounts.
Monthly Debt Tracker
This sheet is very important if you are looking to pay down your debts. When you first setup your binder you should go through all your accounts and write down the balances of all your credit accounts, the interest rate, and the minimum payment.
I include all this information because it will help you figure out if you want to use the snowball or avalanche repayment methods as well as let you be honest with yourself about your journey ahead.
As you pay bills throughout the month, track how much you paid. Then at the end of the month record your new balances and transfer those to next month’s debt tracker. I like to do debt tracking month to month so I stay accountable. You can also see how much you have paid off by keeping track of your running total on the bottom of the sheet.
This is the page where you track all your transactions. Now some of you are probably already using a service such as Mint or YNAB to track your spending and that is great, you can skip this page.
However sometimes it is really nice to still review your spending and write it down with good old pen and paper. I think I stay more accountable to myself having to physically write down each expense instead of having an app auto record expenses.
To use this sheet just fill out the spending category at the top (“Food”, “Gas”, etc). Set your spend limit for that category. Then each time you make a purchase in that category fill out a line and subtract that amount from the running total allowance.
If you use all the lines in one category simply designate another block and continue tracking. You will probably have more than 6 spending categories for each month so be sure to print out extras of this sheet.
So that’s it, you are all set to rock your finances with your budget binder.
Leave a comment or shoot me an email letting me know how the budget binder is working for you!