Budget Template Free Printable (Simple and Effective!)
Finding a simple and effective budget template is the first step to setting up a budget that will help you control your monthly expenses. Following a well designed monthly budget can help you understand where you are overspending. Our budget template free printable is designed to pinpoint exactly which categories you should reduce in order to increase your monthly savings.
Step 1: Print the Budget Template Free Printable
Step 2: Study Your Expenses
Take a look at your expenses over the last few months. If you aren’t sure what your expenses are, I recommend that you use your first month of budgeting as your ‘data collection’ month.
You can use sticky notes and a jar to take note of each dollar that you spend during the month. Once the month is over, sort through your jar and take a look at how much money you spent and what you spent it on.
With this information, you will be able to start sorting your expenses into categories. Start filling in the Expenses column of the budget worksheet free printable. In this column you should include both your fixed expenses as well as your variable expenses.
Note that fixed expenses are things you spend the same amount on each month. Variable expenses are things that you may spend a different amount of money on each month. For example, your mortgage payment or rent is usually the same amount each month, but your hydro bill will vary depending on how much electricity you use.
You want to ensure that you include all expenses in this column. It is best to separate categories and be as specific as possible. Consider splitting up your bills, as this will help you identify where you need to make adjustments. For example, maybe your hydro bill is high but your water bill isn’t. This will tell you that you can start as simple as turning the lights off when you leave the room.
Step 3: Fill In The Budget Column
Take some time to think about what you can realistically set your budget at for each expense. For example if your rent is fixed at $1500 a month, write this under the Budget column of the budget template.
Step 4: Fill in the Actual Column
Track your receipts throughout the month. Consider keeping a jar with a pack of sticky notes in a high traffic area in your house. Each time you get a new receipt, drop it in the jar. If you didn’t get a paper receipt (for example, if you were shopping on Amazon), write what you bought and how much you spent on a sticky note and drop it in the jar.
Add up all of your receipts for each expense at the end of the month. Fill in the Actual column for each expense. This will be the amount that you actually spent on each of your expenses. Make sure that you have included all of your purchases for the month. This means every bill, every grocery trip, and every coffee run (even the ones you weren’t supposed to be on!).
Step 5: Record Your income
Record your income and any other income you have from the month (side jobs, your partner’s income, etc). Be sure to be very thorough with this. If you find it hard to track your income, consider adding up all of the deposits that went into your bank account by the end of the month. My husband and I do this once on the last day of the month to stay organized.
Step 6: Do Some Math!
You will find a simple calculation at the bottom of your budget worksheet free printable: Total Income – Total Expenses = Total Savings.
To calculate your total savings, subtract your total expenses from your total income. This should be the exact amount of extra money you saved this month.
Step 7: Set a Goal For Next Month
After you have worked through your first month of tracking your budget, set yourself a savings goal and see if you can meet it by following your monthly budget. Remember to make your goal a SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). It also helps if your goal is value-driven and important to you. Goals that are SMART are not always easy to reach, but setting up goals that are important to you and align with your values will make it easier to achieve them.
Take some time to apply some creative ideas for saving money to help you find ways to save money by reducing your expenses. This will help make it possible to reach your savings goal for next month! One of the easiest places to cut expenses is in your monthly grocery bill. There are many easy ways to save money when grocery shopping. Try a few out and watch your savings grow each month!
If you’ve been overspending for a long time you might find budgeting to be a difficult and scary process as you step outside your comfort zone. This is normal! Breaking habits of any kind is not easy, especially spending habits that we’ve had our whole lives.
Do not give up! Every month that you stick to your budget is another month closer to reaching your savings goals. It is a matter of choosing the right mindset, and your mindset is a powerful tool!
As you work through a few months of budgeting you can rework your budget and goals where necessary. Remember that it is important to use this tool each and every month. No one breaks a habit overnight. If you don’t keep yourself accountable you will end up right where you were before beginning your budget.
Budgeting gets easier with time. For now, give your budget template a try and don’t give up on your saving goals!
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! If you know someone who could benefit from a budgeting tool, this may be the tool they need to make a major lifestyle change!