A monthly budget planner is one of the best ways to stay on track. When you use a planner, you can map out exactly what needs to be paid every month and plan for those payments based on the estimated income coming in throughout the month. By doing this, you prevent overspending and late payments.
Step 1: Find a Planner to Fit Your Needs
When you're first looking for a monthly budget planner, you'll see there are many to choose from. Aside from a pretty cover, you need to make sure the contents fit your needs. For the best budgeting capabilities, look for a planner with clearly marked sections, pockets and a place to write contact information for your utilities and other regularly occurring bills. If you don't want a physical planner, you can create yours on the computer and use as a spreadsheet.
Step 2: Essential Elements
Regardless of the type of planner you decide to use, there are essential elements you need to be successful in using a monthly budget planner. You need a place to write all monthly bills as they come in.
The information that needs to be recorded is:
- Billing Company & Full Contact Info
- Amount of Bill
- Date Bill was Issued
- Due Date
If you have additional notes to make, leave a spot for that too.
Step 3: Stay Diligent
In order for your monthly budget planner to work, you need to be diligent on entering bills into the planner as soon as you receive them and records payments when you make them. Stick the receipts so you can double check everything at the end of the month. Check against your planner records and against your bank records to make sure everything matches up.
Step 4: Enter Everything
Remember, bills and household utilities are not the only thing your monthly budget goes to. You also need to records and budget things like:
- Household Expenses (e.g. diapers)
- Other Incidentals
If have coffee every morning on the way to work, put it in the budget. This will make sure you don't go over your monthly budget.
Step 5: Look for Ways to Cut Back
When you start keeping track of exactly what you're spending every month, you'll start to see where you can trim some fat. Whether you need to save to get by, tuck money into savings or plan for that family vacation, knowing where your money is going is a good start. Instead of buying coffee on the way to work, invest in a grinder and for about the price of one coffee shop stop, you can have great coffee for a week.
When you use a monthly budget planner, you'll feel more in control of your finances. You'll be able to manage bills better and pay them on time. You'll be able to budget other expenses smart and see where you can cut back. If your kids are old enough, get them involved in the process to start learning about money and the importance of budgeting.