Something I just love about having a planner is that it can help capture my thoughts, keep me on track and help me see ahead! When I started to utilize my planner to help me with our budget it became a game changer and gave me so much more clarity on what money needed to do what and go where. This system is simple, takes a few steps and involves a monthly layout, which most planners have!
Use the side of your monthly layout to list out allllll your monthly bills. I don’t include categories that fluctuate or that we pull cash out for (gas, food, fun money, pets, etc.). List out recurring monthly expenses like utilities, phone bill, insurance, student loan payments, Netflix subscriptions, etc.
Next, go through each bill and look up its due date and the amount that will be due. (If you’re not sure, it’s ok to estimate it!) Then, find the day it’s due and write in the name of the bill and the amount owed.
Next, write out the days of the month that you get paid. You can always ask the bookkeeper at your work for a list of dates that your paycheck will be deposited or when they plan to write checks if you’re not sure!
Now, as you get paid, you can look ahead and see what bills are due before the next time you get a paycheck. As you pay your bills, cross them off in your monthly layout and on the list on the side. I recommend that you do all of this the day you get paid! This makes it so your bills are paid each pay period, you have the money you need for your cash envelopes and you don’t have any remaining money sitting in your checking just tempting you there. That remaining amount can go toward savings, sinking funds, or paying off any debts you still owe.
More than anything, make your budget and planning as easy as can be. Some tips that we have found helpful:
– Use envelopes for categories that you tend to overspend in (for us, it’s always FOOD!). If you hate the hassle of envelopes, they make adorable wallets like these that help keep your cash separate!
– If you’re married and both working, sit down, write out your expenses and see if you can live off of one income.
– If you can, assign each paycheck a job! For instance: the first paycheck of the month will go towards your bills and necessities (pull cash for food money, gas money for the month, etc) and the second will go towards savings or debt payments and paying down debt. If you have side hustles or income, you can then use that money towards fun things like dates, entertainment, etc.
– If you struggle to pay your bills throughout the month with the timing of a paycheck, call the company and see if they will move the due date of your bill. (We’ve done this before and have found most companies want your money and are willing to make things easier for you! ?)
– As you go throughout your days and you think of something you need to budget for with your next paycheck, make a note of it in your planner on that day and use the $ sign before it. That way, when you get paid you can look back and see what you need to remember to budget money for and not forget.
– Now that you have written out what days you get paid, make a note/task for the day BEFORE you get paid to write out your budget for that paycheck. That way when the money hits your account, you already have jobs assigned for your dollars.
I’d love to know, how do you use your planner with your budget? Do you pair the two together or keep them separate? Tell me in the comments below!
Just remember, budgeting is a habit that takes time to perfect and it takes a while to find systems that work for you. Like anything, if you stick with it, you will figure it out eventually! You can do it!