The following is a guest post about how to use a budget planner from regular contributor, Kristin at The Gold Project.
I will be honest, I didn’t see the point in a budget planner, until a few years ago. I made sure all of my bills were paid on time and I always had money left in my checking account afterwards. So, why did I need to go that extra step?
Then, I decided to set up a budget planner to see if it would make a difference in my family’s money management system. I had little to no confidence in this system making any difference in how we managed and organized our money. Remember, our bills were paid and we had money left after each payday.
Several years later, I am here to say that a budget planner changed my life. And, I am not exaggerating at all.
How I Use a Budget Planner
A budget planner forces me to know where my money is going and how much is walking off each month. When you have the actual figures in your face, then it makes it real. Until I wrote down the amounts I owed on my credit cards, then subtracted and added to them, I wasn’t concerned with the total.
Since 2018, my husband and I have been on a debt free journey. It wasn’t an easy process, especially starting our debt snowball, but it has been so beneficial. We have been able to pay off several bills, accumulate a debt snowball of $950 a month, and pay for a Disney vacation without going into debt.
I would like to take the next couple of months to walk you through our entire process in hopes of helping y’all as well.
Today, I am going to share my overall budget planner. Then, in the next couple of months, I will share each individual part.
My budget planner is broken up into 3 sections:
- Debt Snowball
- Monthly Payments
- Individual Account Balances
For the budget planner itself, I have used several different types of planners and notebooks. Until this year, I was using the Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner. After some thought, I decided that I wasn’t utilizing the entire planner enough to justify the cost. So, I switched to an Erin Condren Petite Journal.
The great thing about using a journal is that they are inexpensive and you can find them anywhere. It isn’t nearly as big as a planner and can be set up to meet all of my budgeting needs.
The Debt Snowball
The first page in my budget planner is the break down of our debt snowball. The debt snowball is the chart that illustrates the order that we are tackling debt. Basically, our plan of action.
I track all of the bills that we pay each pay period. Since my husband and I get paid twice a month, each month has two pages for bill listings. This is a great way to track and compare bills as well. I like to go back and take a look at the electric bills throughout the year. Then, to have the ability to compare them to last year’s usage as well.
I will list the account and the amount paid for each bill.
Individual Account Balances
The last section of my budget planner is devoted to individual account balances. This is my favorite part of the entire budget planner because I can see how much I owe on each bill. If it is staring me in the face each pay period, then I will be more apt to deal with the debt, instead of acting like it doesn’t exist.
Each bill gets it’s own page. I will list the total that is currently due at the top of the page and list every payment made in columns.
In my next post, I will share more details on the debt snowball and how I created it.
Do you use a budget planner? How do you keep track of bills and payments every month?
My name is Kristin and I am a middle school career education teacher by day and a mommy/wife/blogger by night. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two loving children. We recently made a life-changing move to Arkansas, so our new house is always under construction. I get excitement out of finding new creative, functional, and cute ways to organize things! I also enjoy writing and documenting life as it happens. So, I put these loves together and created The Gold Project. With the help of my husband, I am attempting to turn our house into a home. So, check out this special place of mine and take this journey with me!