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One of the best things I have ever done for my family’s finances is creating a Budget. All a budget does is organize your money so you know where it is going and how it will work for you.
Then the best thing I did for my Budget was to utilize a budget calendar. (insert happy dance)
A Budget Calendar is just simply a calendar that is designated specifically for your finances. It is the one place where you can organize and keep track of your expenses in a calendar format.
I love it because it helps me keep up with due dates. If you like an actual calendar and want to combine everything into one use a budget calendar like this one:
You can also make your own like the one below. You can fill it in for each month plus its cute. (and if you mess it up you can print and start over – I don’t like to scratch stuff out…it drives my OCD crazy, lol)
You don’t have to use the calendar for just tracking your money. This calendar can also keep up with doctor’s appointments, kid’s sports practices, meetings, and so on. You can customize it any way you want. The point is…you are tracking your expenses and you do it your way.
What to Include
- Your Income
- Bills and Expenses
- Your Savings
- Any expense that needs tracking
If you get paid on opposite weeks like my husband and I, it’s so much easier to keep paydays straight on a calendar.
I like to use different colors for us. But I also like to look organized and doodle so this is right up my ally. (Also, I did mention OCD…so it has to look organized or it will drive me bonkers)
We used to get paid on the same weeks but that changed 3 years ago so now its easier for me to write it in. I also have to keep up with mileage at work so I put this on my calendar too.
There are benefits to writing this stuff down. (writing my work mileage due date helps me remember to turn that in so I get reimbursed…aka paid, lol)
Reasons to Use a Calendar
It can train your mind to think about your money and when your bills are due.
This helps me when I want to spend. I remember when certain big bills are coming and I try to avoid extra spending during those times.
It helps to streamline the budget process. It reminds me of how and why I meal plan. If being organized gets you excited like it does me, then you will understand.
When you get your calendar going, you might notice that you have too much or too many bills due during one pay week or another. That IS ok, you can request for due dates to be changed.
Never heard of this? That’s because you haven’t asked. That’s right, all you have to do is ask. Credit card companies and many utility companies are ok with doing this, especially if it means they are going to get their money! So just ask.
Use it to Pay back Debt
You heard that right…when you can see your debt written on the calendar and you start to see progress with paying it back, it will motivate you to keep going.
I do this for myself. There is nothing more motivating than to finally see a big fat ZERO next to the debt.
When I see an amount that I know I can tackle during a pay period, it helps me to go ahead and do it.
Its a win win!
So, How do you put one together
Its easy. Start by making a list of all your bills, paydays, ect. and put them in order by date.
So, you have
- House or Rent payment
- Power bill
- Phone (house or cell)
- Car payment
- Groceries (which you can add as you go or estimate ahead of time)
- Kids activities and so on…
When I put down a bill like my power bill, the ones that I’m not sure how much, I over estimate. Mine usually runs around $200-225 so I will but $225 just to be sure. This helps to plan ahead for the larger amount just in case.
The point of the calendar is not to know exacts but to help you plan ahead. You can write your exact amounts into your actual budget. Its just here to help you think in advance.
If you can’t remember all of your bills, you can use your bank statement to help you remember all of your trackable expenses, even the ones that only happen every six months like car insurance or home insurance.
If you want to color code like I LOVE to do, you can look at my example above. I wrote all of our paydays. Then, I highlighted which bills were for which paydays. (I use a two-week span of paydays because mine and my husband’s checks are so different- I like to add them together for the two weeks)
After that is done, I wrote the bills on the dates with the estimated amount out to the side. This helps to judge the amount that I am expecting.
Keeping up with the Budget Calendar
So all you have to do is plan ahead. Its really simple. I go ahead and print off six months in advance because I know when we get paid and when certain bills are due already.
Then I fill the rest in as I go. It makes my life so much easier and so much less stressful when I go ahead and get ahead of myself.
I get stressed when things are last minute. It makes me feel like I don’t have enough time in the day.
I have a post about Why Time Blocking Increases Productivity if you need some extra help in this category. Time Blocking can be done on your calendar too (if you have one that has the days inbetween the months).
Don’t let budgets and budget calendars get you stressed out. Once you get started and get in the habit of doing one, it will be like second nature.
Budgeting and putting it on a calendar showed you that you spend too much? Thats ok, too.
You can try one or all of these Brilliant Money Saving Hacks for Any Budget if you need some extra help with saving money. Sometimes when you put it all down on paper, you might realize you are stretched too thin and need to be more frugal.
That’s ok, its all a learning process. It took me many years to finally get where I am today. I have messed up along the way, which is alright too, its all about how you learn and move on from it that matters.
Being a mom can be stressful, being a working mom is even more stressful but having things in place to keep you organized will take some of the stress off your plate.
I hope I have been able to help you atleast get an idea so that you can get started. Making a calendar has helped me tremendously.
If you want more frugal and money saving tips, go follow me on Pinterest.